This paper re-evaluates the origin of some peculiar patterns of ground deformation in the Central Apennines, observed by space geodetic techniques during the two earthquakes of the Colfiorito seismic sequence on September 26th, 1997. The surface displacement field due to the fault dislocation, as modelled with the classic Okada elastic formulations, shows some areas with high residuals which cannot be attributed to non-simulated model complexities. The residuals were investigated using geomorphological analysis, recognising the geologic evidence of deep-seated gravitational slope deformations (DSGSD) of the block-slide type. The shape and direction of the co-seismic ground displacement observed in these areas are correlated with the expected pattern of movement produced by the reactivation of the identified DSGSD. At least a few centimetres of negative “Line of Sight” ground displacement was determined for the Costa Picchio, Mt. Pennino, and Mt. Prefoglio areas. A considerable horizontal component of movement in the Costa Picchio DSGSD is evident from a qualitative analysis of ascending and descending interferograms. The timing of the geodetic data indicates that the ground movement occurred during the seismic shaking, and that it did not progress appreciably during the following months. This work has verified the seismic triggering of DSGSD previously hypothesized by many researchers. A further implication is that in the assessment of DSGSD hazard seismic input needs to be considered as an important cause of accelerated deformation.
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