Special Issue "Seismic Microzonation Analysis of the Anthropized Environment: Approaches and New Perspectives"

A special issue of Geosciences (ISSN 2076-3263). This special issue belongs to the section "Geophysics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 July 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Giuseppe Cavuoto
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Heritage Science ISPC, Italian National Research Council, Italy
Interests: regional geology; stratigraphy; basin modeling; geohazard assessment; seismic micro-zonation
Prof. Dr. Stefano Catalano
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences (DBGES), University of Catania, Italy
Interests: regional geology and geodynamics; tectonics; structural geology; active deformation; seismic micro-zonation
Dr. Vincenzo Di Fiore
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Heritage Science ISPC, Italian National Research Council, Italy
Interests: applied geophysics; near-surface geophysics; seismic micro-zonation; geosource and archaeology-geophysics
Dr. Roberto De Franco
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Environmental Geology and Geoengineering IGAG, Italian National Research Council, Italy
Interests: applied geophysics; near-surface geophysics; hydrogeophysics; seismic micro-zoning; crustal geophysics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

More than half of the world’s human population lives in urban and/or peri-urban areas, and about 65% of all supercities (total population 403 million) are currently exposed to seismic shaking and to the localized amplification and induced effects of earthquakes. Most urban sites have been in fact built on flat morphological areas, such as fluvial valley bottoms, alluvial and coastal plains, intramountain basins, and marine terraces, which often conceal a highly irregular bedrock paleotopography covered by poorly consolidated clastic sediments and soils of both continental and marine origin.

Detailed studies on local geological, geophysical, and geotechnical properties of urban sites are crucial to tackle the problem of local seismic hazards in anthropized environments. Seismic Microzonation Analysis (SMA) is a worldwide accepted tool (methodology) for detailing the knowledge of local key-factors, governing the site seismic response. SMA performs a reliable assessment of the seismic risk at an urban scale with a multidisciplinary approach where information of different nature is combined. SMA aims at subdividing the urban environments, subject to medium-high seismic hazard, into micro-zones producing distinctive ground amplification and/or seismic-induced effects due to their peculiar geological, geophysical, and geotechnical features.

SMA is based on extensive and very detailed geological and geophysical field surveys to reconstruct specific subsoil models, related to the different morpho-structural domains, with their main stratigraphic, structural, and morphological control-factors on ground motion modification. It recognizes that spectral acceleration values for sites within a seismic zone may vary according to the specific geological, geophysical, and geotechnical conditions and can induce seismo-gravitational phenomena such as liquefaction, landslides, over-compactions, and collapse cavities. SMA produces results such as technical documents and maps representing what is possible based on the local seismic hazard conditions.

In this respect, the scientific knowledge obtained from SMA plays an important role in seismic risk reduction, improving safety based on knowledge of local geological conditions and vulnerability levels and providing a valuable input to urban planning and “earthquake hazard reduction programmes” or to design buildings and infrastructure networks.

For this Special Issue in Geosciences, we encourage original contributions on a wide range of topics related to underground modeling and its calibration by geophysical surveys and studies on site-effects in coastal, marine, and lacustrine settings, in archaeological sites, old towns, and historical centers or onto infrastructure networks or critical sites (nuclear power plants, subways, bridges, elevated highways, sky trains, and dams) at urban and/or peri-urban scale using new methods and numerical tools (1D linear and nonlinear, 2D linear, equivalent-linear and non-linear, and 3D linear software).

This includes the following areas:

  • Local seismic hazard and earthquake-induced effect assessment in transitional areas along marine and lacustrine shorelines;
  • Land–energy–water infrastructures/critical sites vs. seismo-induced phenomena;
  • Seismic assessment for protection and safeguarding of old towns and cultural heritage;
  • Review of geological, geophysical, proximal/remote sensing, and engineering methods for seismic site characterization and new perspectives;
  • Experimental and numerical studies on seismic responses of complex sites (including basin and topographic effects) and advances in numerical/analytical modeling, including surface/subsurface topography;
  • Application of the macro-seismic approach in various aspects of seismic micro-zoning;
  • Studies and thematic maps of liquefaction, subsidence, land sliding zones, and the associated permanent ground displacements.

We particularly welcome experiences aimed at looking at recent advances in SMA and new perspectives in the development and application in complex environments such as coastal, marine, and lacustrine areas, highly populated volcanic fields or geological and/or structural complex configurations.

We look forward to receiving novel contributions to these research fields in this Special Issue.

Dr. Giuseppe Cavuoto
Prof. Dr. Stefano Catalano
Dr. Vincenzo Di Fiore
Dr. Roberto De Franco
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • local seismic hazard
  • volcanic hazard
  • seismic micro-zonation
  • seismic liquefaction
  • seismic landslides
  • seismo-gravitational phenomena
  • topographic effect
  • cultural heritage
  • fluvial, lacustrine and marine seismic prone areas
  • planning of urban and peri-urban areas

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Assessment of Seismic Bedrock in Deep Alluvial Plains. Case Studies from the Emilia-Romagna Plain
Geosciences 2021, 11(7), 297; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences11070297 - 18 Jul 2021
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The estimation of seismic shaking is essential for a realistic assessment of the local seismic hazard and the implementation of effective strategies for prevention and mitigation of the seismic risk. One of the most important aspects in the analysis of the site seismic [...] Read more.
The estimation of seismic shaking is essential for a realistic assessment of the local seismic hazard and the implementation of effective strategies for prevention and mitigation of the seismic risk. One of the most important aspects in the analysis of the site seismic assessment is the recognition of the seismic bedrock and its depth. Unfortunately, these data are not always easy to evaluate, especially in areas where the thickness of loose or poorly consolidated sediments is high. This article illustrates data and case studies from the Emilia-Romagna sector of the Po Plain, in order to provide examples and suggestions for the recognition of the seismic bedrock in alluvial and coastal areas characterised by significant thicknesses of unconsolidated sediments, using available data and not expensive geophysical surveys. The application of the proposed method indicates that the study area can be divided into four domains characterized by different depths of the seismic bedrock: the marginal or pede-Apennine belt, the high structural zones, the syncline/minor anticline zones, and the Po delta-coast zone. Full article
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