Browse/search for people

Publication - Professor George Mylonakis

    Seismic Reassessment of the Leaning Tower of Pisa

    Monitoring, Site Response and SSI


    Fiorentino, G, Quaranta, G, Mylonakis, G, Lavorato, D, Pagliaroli, A, Carlucci, G, Sabetta, F, Della Monica, G, Lanzo, G, Aprile, V, Marano, GC, Briseghella, B, Monti, G, Squeglia, N, Bartelletti, R & Nuti, C, 2019, ‘Seismic Reassessment of the Leaning Tower of Pisa: Monitoring, Site Response and SSI’. Earthquake Spectra, vol 35., pp. 703-736


    The Tower of Pisa survived several strong earthquakes undamaged over the last 650 years, despite its leaning and limited strength and ductility. No credible explanation for its remarkable seismic performance exists to date. A reassessment of this unique case history in light of new seismological, geological, structural, and geotechnical information is reported, aiming to address this question. The following topics are discussed: (1) dynamic structural identification based on recorded earthquake data; (2) geophysical site characterization using a two-dimensional array; (3) seismic hazard and site response analysis considering horizontal and vertical motions; and (4) soil-structure interaction (SSI) analysis calibrated using lab and field data. A substantial shift in natural period, from about 0.35 s to over 1 s (a threefold increase, the largest known for a building of that height) caused by SSI, a wave parameter (1/σ) of about 0.3, and a minor effect of vertical ground motion are identified and may explain the lack of earthquake damage on the Tower. Recommendations for future research, including the need to establish a seismic bedrock deeper than 500 m, are provided.

    Full details in the University publications repository