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Greece's National Monuments Need Better Protection From Earthquakes

acropolisConstatinos Spirakos is both a professor in the department of Civil Engineering at the National and Technical University of Athens and a Director of the Laboratory of Earthquake Engineering. In a recent study, he and his team noted that monuments and other historical constructions in Greece are in great need of better earthquake protection.
The new interdisciplinary research program coordinated by Spirakos ThalesNTUA SEISMO» and experts in civil and chemical engineering, architecture, geology, and archaeology is aimed precisely at developing a comprehensive methodology for evaluating the seismic behavior of Greek monuments.  Evaluation lends to appropriate intervention, depending on the seismicity of each area.

Related studies have been made on two representative monuments in Athens, the Temple of HephaestusThissio (5th c. BC) and the Monastery of Kaisariani (11th-12th cent. AC),where a monitoring system with six instruments which will record the seismic tremors will be installed. Later on, the Laboratory of Earthquake Engineering of NTUA will be doing experiments on monument simulations in order to control their reactions to a possible future earthquake and propose ways to improve their seismic behavior.

However, Spirakos underlined that “many ancient monuments such as the Acropolis have very good seismic behavior and have proven it over time. When a monument remains over time it has either never faced a very strong earthquake, or it has sufficient durability. But in the future there might be stronger earthquakes. If a building, either contemporary or historical, has remained standing until now, it does not necessarily mean that it will last into the future. We want to intervene with historical structures and make them capable of withstanding a possible stronger earthquake“.
He stressed that “it is important that a monument is monitored continuously over time”. He continued on saying that, experiments in the laboratory have shown that the ancient vertebrate columns have excellent behavior in earthquakes. The ancient Greeks developed and applied architectural rules which have been proved timeless many of which are still applied today“.

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