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Rock and fault rheology explain differences between on fault and distributed seismicity

Collettini, C.; Barchi, M.R.; De Paola, N.; Trippetta, F.; Tinti, E.

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C. Collettini

M.R. Barchi

F. Trippetta

E. Tinti


Analysis of seismicity can illuminate active fault zone structures but also deformation within large volumes of the seismogenic zone. For the Mw 6.5 2016–2017 Central Italy seismic sequence, seismicity not only localizes along the major structures hosting the mainshocks (on-fault seismicity), but also occurs within volumes of Triassic Evaporites, TE, composed of alternated anhydrites and dolostones. These volumes of distributed microseismicity show a different frequency-magnitude distribution than on-fault seismicity. We interpret that, during the sequence, shear strain-rate increase, and fluid overpressure promoted widespread ductile deformation within TE that light-up with distributed microseismicity. This interpretation is supported by field and laboratory observations showing that TE background ductile deformation is complex and dominated by distributed failure and folding of the anhydrites associated with boudinage hydro-fracturing and faulting of dolostones. Our results indicate that ductile crustal deformation can cause distributed microseismicity, which obeys to different scaling laws than on-fault seismicity occurring on structures characterized by elasto-frictional stick-slip behaviour.


Collettini, C., Barchi, M., De Paola, N., Trippetta, F., & Tinti, E. (2022). Rock and fault rheology explain differences between on fault and distributed seismicity. Nature Communications, 13(1), Article 5627.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 15, 2022
Online Publication Date Sep 26, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Nov 16, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 16, 2022
Journal Nature Communications
Publisher Nature Research
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 1
Article Number 5627


Published Journal Article (8.7 Mb)

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