Lombardi Research Group - The Fucino Plain
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The Fucino Plain

The Fucino Plain

The Fucino plain is a rombhoidal intermontane tectonic depression located in the middle of Apennine mountains (central Italy).

During the Quaternary the basin was generally deprived of a natural outlet and thus hosted a large lake, resulting in the deposition of a thick sequence of silty lake sediments.

The lake was artificially drained in the second half of 19th century to allow for cultivation of this rich soil.

The plain is cross-cut and bordered by a number of important faults, some of which were active during the last century. For example the San Benedetto-Gioia dei Marsi fault showed up to 0.9 m of vertical offset after the magnitude 7.0 Avezzano earthquake of January 13, 1915.

During the earthquake, typical seismo-geological effects, such as liquefaction, spring anomalies, gas and water emissions were observed at several sites inside the plain.

Studies Conducted: We first began to work in the Fucino plain in 1995 within the framework of the EC-funded project “Geochemical Seismic Zonation” (GSZ).

During this period soil-gas surveys were performed over the Fucino plain (about 220 km2) at different scales: a regional survey (4-6 samples/km2), and three high resolution surveys (80-100 samples/km2) within detailed areas across the Trasacco, Avezzano-Celano and San Benedetto-Gioia dei Marsi faults.

These surveys detected evidence of deep-origin gases in the shallow environment that have migrated to the surface along regional faults, despite the presence of the impermeable lake sediments.

This implies that the faults have not fully re-sealed since the earthquake activity of the last century.

Further detailed soil gas surveys were performed in 2005 across the main fault systems. These results highlight that a sampling scale effect can affect the observed soil-gas distribution, as surveys conducted exclusively within anomalous areas affected by the faults do not allow for an accurate definition of boundaries, background values, and regional trends. In contrast the detailed surveys do highlight the spatially-restricted “channelling” effect of gas migration and better define structure cores and lateral variations along the fault.