The Sacred Mountain of Varallo in Italy: seismic risk assessment by acoustic emission and structural numerical models

ScientificWorldJournal. 2013 Dec 5;2013:170291. doi: 10.1155/2013/170291. eCollection 2013.

Abstract

We examine an application of Acoustic Emission (AE) technique for a probabilistic analysis in time and space of earthquakes, in order to preserve the valuable Italian Renaissance Architectural Complex named "The Sacred Mountain of Varallo." Among the forty-five chapels of the Renaissance Complex, the structure of the Chapel XVII is of particular concern due to its uncertain structural condition and due to the level of stress caused by the regional seismicity. Therefore, lifetime assessment, taking into account the evolution of damage phenomena, is necessary to preserve the reliability and safety of this masterpiece of cultural heritage. A continuous AE monitoring was performed to assess the structural behavior of the Chapel. During the monitoring period, a correlation between peaks of AE activity in the masonry of the "Sacred Mountain of Varallo" and regional seismicity was found. Although the two phenomena take place on very different scales, the AE in materials and the earthquakes in Earth's crust, belong to the same class of invariance. In addition, an accurate finite element model, performed with DIANA finite element code, is presented to describe the dynamic behavior of Chapel XVII structure, confirming visual and instrumental inspections of regional seismic effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustics*
  • Algorithms
  • Earthquakes*
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Geology
  • Italy
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Probability
  • Risk Assessment*