The 2016 Central Italy seismic sequence was characterized by two main events: 24 August, Mw 6, and 30 October, Mw 6.5. We carried out high-resolution field sampling and DInSAR analysis of the coseismic and intra-sequence ground deformations along the Mt Vettore-Mt Bove causative fault (VBF). We found that during the intra-sequence period (24 August–30 October), the ground experienced some deformations whose final patterns seemed to be retraced and amplified by the following mainshock. We interpreted that (i) immediately after the 24 August earthquake, the deformation observed in the southern VBF expanded northwards and westwards over a Length of Deforming Ground (LDG) ranging between 28.7 and 36.3 km, and (ii) it extended to the whole portion of the hanging wall that was later affected by mainshock coseismic deformation. Assuming the LDG to be an indicator for an expected (=coseismic) surface rupture length and using known scaling functions, we obtained 6.4 ≤ Mw ≤ 6.7 for a possible incoming earthquake, which is consistent with the mainshock magnitude. We suggest that the evolution of the ground deformations after a significant seismic event might provide insights on the occurrence of new earthquakes with magnitudes comparable to or larger than the former.
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