How (and when) INGV was born (Massimiliano Stucchi)

translated from by googletranslate, revised

Premise. In spite of the fact that these days the twentieth anniversary of the birth of INGV is going to be celebrated, INGV was actually born on January 10th 2001. In 1999, Legislative Decree 381/1999 was published, which established the path and methods of establishing the INGV. Until January 10, 2001, INGV did not exist; in its place there existed the institutes that would have merged there later, with their presidents, directors and governing boards.
As one former colleague commented, celebrating the birth of INGV on the anniversary of his institutional decree, is a bit like “anticipating the birthday celebration to the day of conception ”(cit.). Anyhow.
I therefore thought I had some time to prepare a detailed account, perhaps with Tullio Pepe and others; this advance forces me to be a bit approximate, and I apologize to those who have lived through the experiences I describe if they will not find my narrative perfectly corresponding to how the events took place. However I liked writing it: comments are welcome and … I’ll fix it in 2021.
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Do seismic hazard models kill? (Massimiliano Stucchi)

Introduction. The appearance of an article, on the weekly magazine L’Espresso (, which took advantage of the 2016 Amatrice earthquake anniversary to discredit the Italian seismic hazard model and the national building code based on it, using fake news and inconsistent arguments, made me angry.
What follows is a comment written for the benefit of the international readers.
The original version in Italian which can be found here (, which can easily be translated by means of the improved

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The forgotten vulnerability (interview with Gianluca Valensise)

Gianluca Valensise, of the Earthquake Department of INGV, Rome, is a seismologist with a geological background, an INGV research manager, and the author of numerous studies on active faults in Italy and other countries. In particular he is the “founder” of Italy’s Database of Individual Seismogenic Sources (DISS, He has spent over 30 years of his career exploring the relationships between active tectonics and historical seismicity, with the goal of merging geological observations with the available evidence on the largest earthquakes of the past.
Recently, with other colleagues, he published a work that proposes a sort of vulnerability ranking of Apennines municipalities. We discuss it below.

Luca, you are an earthquake geologist. You deal with active faults, seismogenic sources, past earthquakes, seismic hazard. Recently, with other colleagues, you have ventured into the theme of seismic vulnerability of the Italian building heritage. How come this choice? Continua a leggere

L’Aquila, 31 March 2009: ten years ago (Massimiliano Stucchi)

Translated by google translate, reviewed

On March 31, 2009, an earthquake expert meeting convened by the Head of Civil Protection, G. Bertolaso, took place in L’Aquila; the consequences of it were the subject of countless discussions, articles, volumes, and a famous trial.
It is not my intention to take up those arguments, which still see a flourishing of interventions, as always not completely updated.
I just want to remember how it came to that meeting.

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Earthquake risk education: a partial statement for Italy (interview with Romano Camassi)

Translated by Google Translate, revised

Romano Camassi is a researcher at INGV (Department of Bologna). ‘Seismologist’ of eccentric training (a degree in Pedagogy, a thesis in modern history), engaged for more than three decades in historical research on earthquakes. Co-author of the main catalogues of Italian earthquakes. For over 15 years he has dedicated a part of his work to seismic risk education projects.

After every destructive earthquake, in Italy as elsewhere, the need to improve the earthquake education the seismic risk education, or even to introduce it at various levels, is recalled. It is true that, albeit not generally, there have been and there are several initiatives in this area. Can you give us an idea, and maybe refer to some publication that summarizes them?
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Crying wolf? take care with earthquake alarms…..(Massimiliano Stucchi)

translated by Google Translate, revised

Introduction. In this post we comment – among other things – scientific models and their possible application for civil protection purposes. The discussion is necessarily simplified: a more detailed post is under consideration.

1. The deterministic earthquake prediction has always been invoked by humanity as a possible shelter from seismic disasters, in particular for what concerns the possibility of remaining victims. For science, on the other hand, it is a distant and perhaps unattainable goal, which requires theoretical knowledge and experimental observations on the dynamics of energy accumulation and release, which are not available today. The theme is broad and complex and cannot be treated at depth in these pages. Continua a leggere

August notes, with another trial at L’Aquila (Massimiliano Stucchi)

translated by Google, revised

Since at least a couple years  August gives us death and damage: Amatrice in 2016, Ischia in 2017, this year the highways, the Pollino flood and a seismic sequence (Molise) that so far has produced only minor damage. And other news that is worth commenting on.

On the Morandi bridge in Genoa everything and even more was said. There is little to add, if not the reflection that bridges of that type, and also of another type, are vulnerable both to wear and possible external impacts (airplanes, drones, attacks, etc.). These bridges are designed to withstand a given external event that is never the maximum possible, also because in these cases this maximum is not known. So, like many things, they keep a level of risk. To be know. Continua a leggere

Towards the new seismic hazard model of Italy (interview with Carlo Meletti)

In 2004 a small research group, coordinated by INGV, released the Map of Seismic hazard of the Italian territory (MPS04), compiled as required by the Ordinance n. 3274 of the President of the Council of Ministers (2003). The map was to serve as a reference for the Regions, whose task is to update the seismic classification of the respective territories. The map was then made “official” by the Ordinance n. 3519 of the President of the Council of Ministers (28 April 2006) and subsequently published on  the Official Gazette (No. 108 of 11 May 2006).
In the following, other elaborations were added to the map using the same conceptual structure. It  represents the first modern seismic hazard model for Italy. For the first time estimates for different return periods and for various spectral accelerations were released. This model has been then used as the basis for the building code contained in the 2008 Technical Regulations (NTC08), which became operational in 2008 and was also adopted by the 2018 Technical Regulations.
Features and events related to the success of MPS04 are described, among other things, in two posts of this blog:

As usual in many seismic countries, since a few years a research group is compiling a new hazard model, which uses updated data and techniques.
Massimiliano Stucchi discusses about it with Carlo Meletti who, after its important contribution to MPS04, coordinates the new initiative through the INGV Seismic Hazard Center.

MPS04,  even if compiled  “in a hurry” in order to meet the State requirements, had a considerable success, both in the technical-administrative field and – after a few years – at the public level. What drives a new model to be built?

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