The course illustrates the processes that cause earthquakes and the methodologies used by seismologists to analyze the seismograms, to measure the source parameters and to simulate the earthquake effects at the Earth's surface.
The main concepts and experimental facts related to earthquakes are first reviewed, by introducing the different observation scales of the seismic phenomena: the source size, the extent of the monitoring networks and the frequency/wavelength range of seismic signals.
The point-like approximation of the earthquake source has long been used to characterize the earthquake process. It will be used to introduce the concepts of earthquake location, magnitude, seismic moment and focal mechanisms which derive from this simplifying but effective view of the earthquake phenomenon.
But earthquakes are caused by rupture phenomena developing on extended fault surfaces hidden in the brittle Earth layers. The rupture kinematic and dynamic models and observations will illustrate the modes of nucleation, propagation and arrest of the earthquake rupture. They help seismologists to simulate the seismic wave propagation and to predict the ground shaking produced by destructive events.
Finally, the course will overview the basic elements of real-time seismology. It concerns the automatic processing of the earthquake signals, aimed at the fast event detection and source characterization for early warning purposes.