This special publication combines issues 2 and 3 of the current volume and it is motivated by the recent sequence of shocks that affected the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy during the month of May 2012. We have been able to release it in a relatively short timeframe thanks to the efforts of the contributing authors that submitted their reconnaissance reports in a record time without forsaking thoroughness of observation and depth of analysis, considering causes, effects and indicating possible remedies, to the observed damage and disruptions.
The events underlined again some of the problems well known to the whole community but at the same time have revealed new lessons that require renewed attention. It is worth mentioning that the nature of the seismic excitation appeared characterized by a significant component of vertical acceleration as well as a large spectral displacement demand for long periods. The significant vertical acceleration level and its effects highlighted, once again, its critical and under-researched role in inducing damage. Two were the evidences that, even though well known to the scientific comunity, most dramaticaly captured the pubblic attention: the extent of liquefaction occurrences and the vulnerability of industrial buildings. Both topics are addressed in this issue. The classification of the region as a low seismicity zone does not justify however the incidences of poor engineering judgment and lack of common sense, that emerged in some cases. In Emilia Romagna, as in other Italian regions, historic buildings form a consistent portion of the urban centres. The survey of both heritage and historic buildings in the many small towns of the hit region, indicated a generic good performance with the exception of cases where wall connections were poor and low material quality and lack of maintenance was evident.
Of particular interest was also the after-earthquake approach of the agencies involved in the immediate emergency management and planning for reconstruction, in clear contrast with what observed after L’Aquila’s earthquake. The opening paper suggests thoughts on this subject that should guide us in our future work of prevention, conservation and reconstruction.
Have a good read.