Physics of the Earth

Research activities address a broad set of physical phenomena occurring in the solid and liquid Earth. The main research topics deal with the fields of Seismology, Physics of Volcanism, Geodesy and Oceanography: they all have the main aim of enhancing and developing, in an integrated way, the knowledge on the state and the dynamics of the Earth System, and they are also propaedeutic to the formulation of guidelines useful for the assessment and mitigation of related natural hazards.

Within the seismological field, the studies of the seismic source and of fault mechanics are a theoretical prerequisite on the one hand for the modelling of the transient and permanent deformation fields induced by earthquakes, on the other for the correct approach to statistical analyses of spatiotemporal behaviour of seismicity. The numerical modelling of tsunamis, of slope stability and of landslide dynamics can also be included in the main seismological research activities carried out by the team. The natural collector of these studies is the assessment of seismic, landslide and tsunami hazard for issuing construction regulations (DIFA researchers are directly involved to this aim) and the assessment of risk, aimed at establishing prevention and rescue measures in seismic zones as well as the development of early warning techniques and risk mitigation approaches for tsunamis. Within this framework, crustal deformation measurements by satellite techniques, measurements of the seismic response of soils and seismic imaging are also useful. The former one represents an independent observable closely connected with seismic energy release; the latter ones complement seismic hazard assessments by detailing the behaviour of neighbouring areas characterized by different hazard. Satellite deformation measurements are essential for monitoring the state and the dynamics of the Earth system, also in relation to sea level rise, which is source of social and economic concerns for a wide part of the World’s population living in coastal areas or close to them.

The volcanic hazard and risk assessments are the natural collectors of the Physics of Volcanism. In Italy, in fact, there are at least four areas (Mt. Vesuvius, Campi Flegrei, Mt. Etna and Aeolian Islands) where the future activity of certainly active volcanoes could produce hard consequences on the densely urbanized territory of nearby cities (Naples and Catania).

Oceanographic research is aimed at understanding the basic processes that underlie the climate variability of the currents in the Mediterranean Sea, the oceanographic short-term forecasts and the coupling between physics and marine biochemistry in order to understand the dynamics of the food chain and, more in general, the marine ecosystem.

The Physics of the Earth group has strong scientific collaborations with the Bologna sections of Centro EuroMediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici (CMCC), the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) and the CNR-ISMAR of Bologna.

People

keywords: Physical oceanography, Coastal oceanogrpahy, Numerical modelling, Data analysis
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Alberto Armigliato

Associate Professor

keywords: Tsunami, Tsunamigenic earthquakes, Hazard assessment, Analytical and numerical models, Risk analysis

Maria Elina Belardinelli

Associate Professor

keywords: Fault interaction, Seismicity, Deformation sources, Fault friction, Seismic triggering by stress transfer
keywords: Earthquakes predictability, Statistical seismology

Federica Borile

PhD Student

keywords: Mediterranean sea, overturning circulation, global ocean, tides, NEMO model
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Silvia Castellaro

Associate Professor

keywords: Seismology, Exploration Geophysics, Engineering Seismology

Erica De Paolo

PhD Student

keywords: Geodesy, Numerical Modelling, FEM, Volcanology, Physics of the Solid Earth
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Michele Dragoni

Full Professor

keywords: seismology, fault mechanics, physics of volcanism, lava flows, rheology, geomagnetism
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Paolo Gasperini

Full Professor

keywords: Macroseismic data quantification, Seismic hazard, Focal mechanisms, Glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA), Aftershock
keywords: Physical Oceanography, Operational Oceanography

Laura Gulia

Research fellow

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Francesco Mulargia

Full Professor

keywords: Rock mechanics, Cellular automata, Earthquake Physics, Equation of state of solids, Microtremor analysis, Pattern
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Massimo Nespoli

Research fellow

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Nadia Pinardi

Full Professor

keywords: ocean predictions, ocean numerical modelling, data assimilation, interdisciplinary oceanography, Mediterranean Sea

Antonello Piombo

Assistant professor

keywords: poroelasticity, physics of volcanism, seismology, rheology, fault mechanics, lava flows
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Eleonora Rivalta

Associate Professor

keywords: Volcano Physics, Stress and deformation, Magma propagation and storage, Analog experiments, Volcano-tectonics
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Isabella Scroccaro

Research fellow

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Kanwal Shahzadi

PhD Student

keywords: Oceanography
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Giorgio Spada

Full Professor

keywords: Low-frequency Geodynamics, Analytical and numerical models in geodynamics, Global and regional sea-level change
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Francesco Trotta

Junior assistant professor (fixed-term)

keywords: ocean numerical modelling
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Filippo Zaniboni

Senior assistant professor (fixed-term)

keywords: Numerical simulations, Landslides, Tsunami, Natural Hazards
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Marco Zavatarelli

Associate Professor

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