On some of the main scholarly activities of Professor Giuliano Francesco Panza:#

Within the framework of a very large international co-operation, formulation of a quite revolutionary model for the lithosphere-asthenosphere system in the European area proposing the existence of almost aseismic lithospheric roots. At present, the lithosphere subduction at continent-continent collisions is a widely accepted concept within the community of Earth scientists, even if it contradicts one of the basic dogmas of the original formulation of plate tectonics.

Construction of complete synthetic seismograms to be used for realistic anelastic two-dimensional Earth modelling. The application of such algorithms to experimental data has allowed to unravel some of the aspects of the rupture process which is associated with an earthquake and has contributed to a more realistic description of seismic sources. Another important aspect of the application of synthetic seismograms, has been the definition of a calibrating curve which allows to take into account source depth in the determination of surface waves magnitude.

Poposal, in co-operation with scientists from IIEPT from Moscow Russian Academy of sciences, to use at variable scale of the fractal Gutenberg-Richter relation, to improve, as much as possible, from a statistical point of view, the assessment of seismic hazard, currently made that supplies indications which can be useful but are not sufficiently reliable to characterize seismic hazard, as indicated by lessons from recent earthquakes: Kobe (17.1.1995), Gujarat (26.1.2001), Boumerdes (21.5.2003), Bam (26.12.2003), Eastern Sichuan (12.5.2008), Haiti (12.1.2010).

Short report including pictures on Haiti quake with pictures and on Eastern Sichuan .#

The multiscale seismicity model (used at a variable scale of Gutenberg-Richter relation) has deep implications also in the development of the intermediate-term middle-range earthquake prediction methods, done, again, in co-operation with scientists of IIEPT, Moscow.

Development, with the Seismology Group of Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra dell'Universita' di Trieste and with the SAND group of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), of a very powerful theoretical-numerical tool for the computation of complete synthetic seismograms that is at the base of his methodology for the neodeterministic assessment of seismic hazard, currently applied in several large urban centres and megacities, for seismic zonation and microzonation purposes.

Construction, in cooperation with ASI, the Italian space agency, of time-dependent hazard models based on strong geophysical ground, by means of the simultaneous use of the neodeterministic approach for ground motion estimation, of the monitoring of the space-time variation of hazard (intermediate-term medium-range earthquake prediction), and of the Earth observation data (active deformation studies). These models have generated particular interest at Civil Defence level.

Recent studies based upon surface wave dispersion non-linear inversion and geodynamic interpretation have evidenced (a) the relevant role of CO2 Earth mantle degassing in the exosphere, (b) the existence of mantle flow in the Mediterranean and (c) the existence of an asymmetry at a global scale in the oceanic upper mantle with respect to ridges.

Research Highlight by Nature Geoscience#


VOL 3, MARCH 2010, http://www.nature.com/naturegeoscience-ocean-floor-asymmetry, Geology 38, 59–62 (2010)

The discovery of magnetic anomalies mirrored in lava flows on both sides of mid-ocean ridges led to the suggestion that surfaces of ocean basins are symmetric. Seismic imaging has revealed that the layers beneath actually show subtle asymmetry.

Giuliano Panza, of the University of Trieste, Italy and colleagues used seismic-wave velocities to create a three-dimensional representation of the upper 300 km of the Earth. Looking at cross sections of mid-ocean ridges in the East Pacific, mid-Atlantic and Indian oceans, they described the structure of the ocean basins and the underlying mantle. Along the western limbs of the ridges, they reported thicker lithosphere and substantially higher seismic velocities, compared with the eastern limbs of the same ridges.

Ocean-basin asymmetry could result from the westward drift of the ocean ridges — and the rigid upper layer of the Earth on which they sit — relative to the underlying mantle. This movement was previously hinted at by studies of subduction zone asymmetry.


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