Historical seismicity of the Basilicata-Calabria Apennines
The southern sector of Apennines that includes the mountain area of Pollino, between the provinces of Potenza and Cosenza, lies between two zones highly seismic and affected by strong quakes throughout history. In the northern area, the most significant quake was the 1857 one (M=7.0) that hit the Val D’Agri; in the southern one, the most important with a magnitude higher that 6.5 were localized in Cosenza area. No similiar events were recorded in the Pollino area. The historical catalogue of Italian earthquakes (CPTI04) reports only two significant events within a a 20 km radius: one occurred in 1708 with an extimated magnitude of 5.6 and one in 1998 with a 5.7 magnitude, that produced macroseismic intensity not higher that VII-VIII degree of MCS scale.
Basilicata is subject to an important seismic activity along the borders with Campania region and to a lower seismicity in the southern area. Throughout history, the territory has been hit by six destructive earthquakes (M>=6.3), 3 of which with epicentre in Irpinia (1694, 1930, 1980), and swarms localized along the borders between the provinces of Salerno and Potenza (1561); the 1851 earthquake, localized at north along the border with Puglia; the 1857 one that represents the most important quake occurred in Basilicata. Basilicata is also subject to events of lower energy that affect especially the areas of Lagonegro and Pollino, at the borders with Calabria. Over the last few decades the Basilicata territory has been characterized by three swarms: the first concentrated in the epicentre area of Irpinia earthquake of 1980 (1981-82), the second in the area of Potenza (1990-92), with effects equal to the VI MCS degree; the third swarm affected in 1998 the Basilicata-Calabria Apennines with damages equal to the VII MCS degree in the southern area of the province of Potenza.
Among Italy's regions, Calabria is definitely one of the most exposed to the seismic risk. The earthquakes of this area do not occur frequently but their magnitude is generally between 6.5 and 7 and sometimes over 7, as for the 8 September 1905 earthquake (Gulf of Sant’Eufemia) that reached a 7.2 magnitude. There are many epicentre areas in Calabria. At north, the area along the border with Basilicata (area of Castrovillari), where events are moderate; the area of the Strait of Messina, where one of Italy's largest catastrophes occurred: the 28 December 1908 one that caused serious damages in Reggio Calabria, the towns and villages along the coast and inland, besides, naturally, in Messina and along Sicily's coast.
Main historical earthquakes
The table shows the historical earthquakes that affected Italy at the border between Calabria and Basilicata, with effects equal or higher than the VI-VII degree of the scale proposed by Mercalli, Cancani and Sieberg (MCS).
|EPICENTRE AREA||MCS MAGNITUDE||DESCRIPTION|
|26 January 1708||Pollino||
|Damages in Castelluccio superiore and Viggianello.|
|2 January 1831||Lagonegro (PZ)||
|Damages in Lagonegro, Lauria inferiore and Lauria superiore.|
|20 November 1836||Southern Basilicata||
|Fifteen villages affected along the border between Campania and Basilicata, in the areas of Sirino mountain. Lagonegro was the most damaged village.|
|21 March 1982||Maratea||
|Significant damages in Aieta and Papasidero. Damages were recorded also in Lagonegro, Lauria, Maratea, Trecchina, Scalea, Sapri.|
|9 September 1998||Appennino calabro-lucano||
|It affected southern Basilicata, along the border with Calabria. Minot damages in Rivello, Castelluccio inferiore and Castelluccio superiore.|