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3D displacement maps of the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake (Italy) by applying the SISTEM method to GPS and DInSAR data


Francesco Guglielmino, Osservatorio Etneo, INGV, Piazza Roma,2, Catania 95100, Italy. Tel.: +39 0957165809; e-mail:


Terra Nova, 25, 79–85, 2013


We present an application of the novel SISTEM approach, to obtain the dense 3D ground deformation pattern produced by the April 6, 2009, Mw 6.3 L’Aquila earthquake. This event, characterized by a SW-dipping normal fault with thousands of foreshocks and aftershocks located in the depth range 5–15 km, is the most destructive to have struck the Abruzzo region since the major 1703 seismic sequence. The surface deformation, revealed by the SISTEM through the integration of GPS with interferometric measurements from the ENVISAT and ALOS satellites, shows a deformed area extending towards SE along the Aterno valley, in agreement with seismological and other geodetic observations. We inverted the SISTEM results using an optimization algorithm based on the genetic algorithm, providing an accurate spatial characterization of ground deformation. Our results improve previous kinematic solutions for the Paganica fault and allow identification of additional faults that have contributed to the observed complex ground deformation pattern.