A multi-centennial record of past floods and earthquakes in Valle d'Aosta, Mediterranean Italian Alps

Wilhelm, Bruno; Vogel, Hendrik; Anselmetti, Flavio (2017). A multi-centennial record of past floods and earthquakes in Valle d'Aosta, Mediterranean Italian Alps. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 17(5), pp. 613-625. Copernicus Publications 10.5194/nhess-17-613-2017

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Mediterranean Alpine populations are particularly exposed to natural hazards like floods and earthquakes be- cause of both the close Mediterranean humidity source and the seismically active Alpine region. Knowledge of long- term variability in flood and earthquake occurrences is of high value since it can be useful to improve risk assessment and mitigation. In this context, we explore the potential of a lake-sediment sequence from Lago Inferiore de Laures in Valle d’Aosta (Northern Italy) as a long-term record of past floods and earthquakes. The high-resolution sedimentologi- cal study revealed 76 event layers over the last ca. 270 years; 8 are interpreted as most probably induced by earthquakes and 68 by flood events. Comparison to historical seismic data suggests that the recorded earthquakes are strong (epicen- tral Medvedev–Sponheuer–Kárník (MSK) intensity of VI– IX) and/or close to the lake (distance of 25–120 km). Com- pared to other lake-sediment sequences, Lago Inferiore de Laures sediments appear to be regionally the most sensitive to earthquake shaking, offering a great potential to recon- struct the past regional seismicity further back in time. Com- parison to historical and palaeoflood records suggests that the flood signal reconstructed from Lago Inferiore de Laures sed- iments represents the regional and (multi-)decadal variability of summer–autumn floods well, in connection to Mediter- ranean mesoscale precipitation events. Overall, our results reveal the high potential of Lago Inferiore de Laures sedi- ments to extend the regional earthquake and flood catalogues far back in time.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Wilhelm, Bruno; Vogel, Hendrik and Anselmetti, Flavio


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology




Copernicus Publications




Flavio Anselmetti

Date Deposited:

12 Jul 2017 14:06

Last Modified:

12 Jul 2017 14:06

Publisher DOI:






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