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Versione italiana
Academic year
Didactic period
Primo Semestre

Training objectives

Knowlwedge: During the course the student will acquire the capacity to detect and recognise the principal tectonic structures, and particularly the seismogenic ones, and to classify them based on their principal parameters.
The course will be also dedicated to transmit the basic knowledge of the physical and geological elementary processes associated with such structures and to describe the superficial effects of faulting and earthquakes in general.
Abilities: At the end of the course, the student should get the ability to understand the seismogenic structures and the associated natural phenomena and this will allow him/her to better face future professional and scientific works, for example of seismic risk assessment and seismic microzonation mapping.


basic knowledge of physics, continuum mechanics and rock mechanics

Course programme

Outline of Continuum Mechanics.
Rock Mechanics (genetic partition of the stress, brittle behaviour, folding processes, different geological settings and deformation styles).
Seismogenic structures (faults and associated structures, extensional joint systems, fracturing and faulting processes, tectonic stratigraphy).
Seismological aspects of the earthquakes (seismic waves; the measures of the earthquakes; hypocentral distribution; focal mechanisms).
Seismotectonics (stress variability; active stress field; empirical relationships between seismotectonic parametres; fault segmentation; seismic cycle; Italian seismotectonic model).
Morphotectonics (morphogenic earthquakes; fault scarps; fluvial and marine terraces; hydrographic network; diffuse superficial deformation; seismites).
Palaeoseismology (aims; investigation techniques; microstratigraphy; palinspastics).
Outlines of Archaeoseismology and Historical Seismology (definitions; applications; catalogues).
Ancillary methodologies applied in Earthquake Geology (Applied Geophysics, Remote sensing, Geodesy).
Outlines of Seismic Risk (basic concepts; seismic hazard; SHA methods; vulnerability; risk exposure).

Didactic methods

frontal teaching with presentation and explanation of all the topics included in the course (see contents)

Learning assessment procedures

The student will give an oral examination by basically answering to questions on at least three out of the principal arguments presented during the course (see Contents).
The main purpose of the examination is to verify the student's comprehension of the seismogenic processes and their principal geological expressions and his/her ability to properly describe them, starting from the tectonic, seismological and rock mechanics knowledge provided during the lessons.
The final score will be based on the critical evaluation of the technical language property, of the completeness and correctness of the concepts exposed by the student and his/her capacity to link the various arguments.

Reference texts

a) all the following text books are available in the library sestion devoted to the students;
b) several arguments of the course (see contents) are treated in more than one of these texts;
c) based on the notes taken during the lessons, it is suggested to study on more than one of the listed texts.

- Jaeger J.C. e Cook N.G.W. (1979): Fundamentals of Rock Mechanics. Chapman & Hall.
- Burbank D.W. and Anderson R.S. (2001): Tectonic Geomorphology. Blackwell Science, 274 pp.
- McCalpin J.P. (2009): Paleoseismology. Academic Press, 2nd edition, 613 pp.
- Schumm S.A., Dumont J.F. and Holbrook J.M. (2000): Active tectonics and alluvial rivers. Cambridge University Press, pp. 276.
- Bull W.B. (2007): Tectonic geomorphology of mountains. Blackwell, pp. 316.
- Bull W.B. (2009): Tectonically active landscapes. Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 326.
- Yeats R.S. (1997): Geology of earthquakes. Oxford University Press, pp.568.
- notes on selected topics provided during the course