The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Friday, 07 December 2018 01:00

Leaning tower of Pisa has become slightly straighter

Leaning tower of Pisa Leaning tower of Pisa.

The leaning tower of Pisa, located in Italy, is now stable and according to a recent report, its tilt is reduced by 4 centimeters.

The construction of the Tower began in 1172 and was completed 199 years later. When the building reached its second floor, it started to lean. The foundation of the tower consisted of soft ground of clay, fine sand and shells. The delay of the construction was caused due to Pisa's involvement into warfare. However, according to modern analysis, the building would have toppled if enough time was not given for the ground to consolidate. 

Remarkably, the same soil that caused the tilt of the tower is responsible for the building's resistance in strong earthquakes.

In recent years, the tower was highly damaged in World War II and was closed for the public from 1990 to 2001. During this period, a restoration effort began to save the tower from total collapse. Now, almost 2 decades later, those attempts have resulted in mitigating the tilt of the tower by 4 centimeters according to Nunziante Squeglia, an engineering professor at the University of Pisa and a member of the committee that monitors the tower.

"The tower is continuing to straighten," Prof. Squeglia said. "We knew those measures would have protracted consequences," he added.

The historic monument leans at the same extent as 200 years before and it will continue to straighten. "We rejuvenated the tower by around 200 years bringing the incline to where it was around 1820. The good news is that the tower continues to straighten — if slightly," said Salvatore Settis, one of the members of the committee.

Visitors are not yet allowed inside the building even if the situation is stabilized. Prof. Squeglia states that even if the tower has started to lean less, it would take around 4,000 years to entirely straighten. But this is actually a suitable fact as it is the lean that has made the tower famous and unique over the years.

Sources: NYtimes.comSmithsonianmag.comMentalfloss.com

Read 247 times Last modified on Friday, 07 December 2018 15:15

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