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Vol. 53, n.1, March 2012
pp. 89-111

Middle term prediction of earthquakes in Italy: some remarks on empirical and deterministic approaches

E. MANTOVANI, M. VITI, D. BABBUCCI, N. CENNI, C. TAMBURELLI and A. VANNUCCHI

(Received: April 29, 2010; accepted: October 1, 2010)

Abstract

Recognizing the Italian seismic zones most prone to next strong earthquakes would be quite helpful for a more efficient strategy of defence. So all efforts should be made to understand what chances we actually have of obtaining such information. This work aims at providing information about this problem, by discussing potentialities and limitations of two main types of approach proposed to date: empirical (relying on the hypothesis that the known seismic history provides insights into the behaviour of future earthquakes) and deterministic (based on the presumed knowledge of the tectonophysical mechanisms responsible for the space-time distribution of major events). On the basis of the evidence and arguments presented here, we argue that reliable middle term predictions can hardly be obtained by empirical approaches and that the most interesting perspectives can be envisaged for the deterministic approach based on the study and observation of the postseismic relaxation and its possible effects on earthquake probability.

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