The Reason Leaning Tower Of Pisa Is Still Standing
Science & Tech / /
Engineers and scientists have been fascinated by the unusual structure for centuries and it is still a subject of admiration and wonders.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa has kept standing for half a millennium, surviving all the natural disasters and reconstructions.
“Though the tower’s signature lean is the result of an interaction between its foundation and the too-soft soil it stands in, that interaction has also kept it up in the most perilous of situations”, a team of European engineers claimed.
The Pisa region was target for a number of earthquakes since construction on the Tower began in 1173, mainly due to country’s location on multiple fault lines. However, none of that seismic activities—including the four major earthquakes mentioned in a University of Bristol press release about this new research—made the leaning tower fall.
“Ironically, the very same soil that caused the leaning instability and brought the tower to the verge of collapse, can be credited for helping it survive these seismic events," said civil engineer George Mylonkanis, who was part of the study.
According to the press release by the team, the final conclusion of the study was that the tower’s height and stiffness, as well as the softness of the ground, makes the vibrations caused by an earthquake milder compared to the area around.
There are several other leaning towers in Pisa region, and examples can also be found in England. Another paper studying the same issue concluded that the relationship between the tower and the soil that surrounds it was important to keep the towers standing.
All of these towers were all built to hold church bells and have heritage value. Therefore, studying the leanest tower of them all offers directions on how to preserve it and at the same time how to multiply the income which is the result of tourist visits.
The tower has come under renewed scrutiny in the past 30 years. It was closed in 1990 because it was leaning too dramatically, and interventions were required to return it to its 0.54-degree angle.