Ground-motion amplification at the Colle di Roio ridge, central Italy: A combined effect of stratigraphy and topography

S. Hailemikael, L. Lenti, S. Martino, A. Paciello, D. Rossi, G. Scarascia Mugnozza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)


Following the Mw6.3 L'Aquila Earthquake of 2009 April 6, the Colle di Roio village, central Italy, suffered severe building damages. The village is located on top of an elongated carbonate ridge characterized by a complex subsurface structure, a condition prone to seismic amplification due to topographic and stratigraphic effects. We address the role of the subsurface structure and topography in the ground-motion amplification observed at the ridge top. To characterize the subsurface structure of the ridge we performed geological investigations and ambient vibration measurements in single-station as well as 2-D-array configuration. Geological investigations pointed out that the ridge top is characterized by the presence of fractured rock material as a consequence of its anticlinal fold structure. Horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratio (HVSR) processing of ambient vibration records showed a broad peak in the HVSR functions in the frequency range 4-6 Hz and 2-D-array data demonstrated that locally the subsurface structure at the ridge top cannot be considered homogeneous. In summer 2009, we further installed one accelerometric station on the ridge top to experimentally evaluate the site amplification. By means of HVSR analysis of a sample of 18 weak-motion records (H/V), we found that ground-motion amplification occurs in a narrow frequency range centred around 4 Hz with mean ratio amplitude of 6. We also analysed the dependence of seismic amplification on the azimuth by calculating H/V ratios for horizontal components rotated into a range of azimuths. This analysis showed that the higher level of horizontal amplification occurs in the direction perpendicular to the ridge trending direction.With the aim of evaluating the contribution of the topography and the local subsurface structure on the observed seismic amplification, we performed 2-D finite-difference modelling of wave propagation through the ridge, adopting both homogeneous and heterogeneous models. We were able to reproduce the frequency-dependent amplification only by using an heterogeneous 2-D model with a lowvelocity layer (shear wave velocity of 400 m s-1and maximum thickness of 20 m) at the ridge top. From the comparison between observations and numerical results, we suggest that the amplification at the Colle di Roio ridge top is due to the interplay between local shear wave velocity structure and topography, rather than to topography alone.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 18
Number of pages18
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

Cite this