Roman mausoleum tested for ancient earthquake damage

Mar 20, 2013

Built under a sheer cliff, with a commanding view of the forum and castle in the ancient city of Pinara in Turkey, a Roman mausoleum has been knocked off-kilter, its massive building blocks shifted and part of its pediment collapsed. The likely cause is an earthquake, according to a new detailed model by Klaus-G. Hinzen and colleagues at the University of Cologne. They conclude that a 6.3 magnitude earthquake could have caused the damage, and their new finding gives seismologists a new data point to consider when they calculate the likely earthquake hazards for this southwestern region of Turkey.

Researchers have seen other signs of strong in Pinara, most notably a raised edge to the ancient town's Roman theater that appears to be due to activity along a fault. But archaeologists and seismologists were not certain how the mausoleum sustained its damage. An earthquake seemed likely, but the mausoleum is also built under a cliff honeycombed with numerous other tombs, and damage from a seemed possible.

Hinzen and colleagues mapped the position of each part of the mausoleum using laser scans, and transferred 90 million data points collected from the scans into a 3-D computer model of the tomb. They then ran several damage simulations on the 3-D model, concluding that rockfall was not a likely cause of damage, but that an earthquake with magnitude 6.3 would be sufficient to produce the observed damage pattern to the mausoleum's heavy .

Explore further: Images released of shipwreck in San Francisco Bay

More information: "Quantitative Archeoseismological Study of a Roman Mausoleum in Pinara (Turkey) – Testing Seismogrenic and Rockfall Damage Scenarios," by Klaus-G. Hinzen et al. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America , 2013.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sumatra earthquake mysteries examined

May 11, 2012

(Phys.org) -- An earthquake in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia on 11th April was unusually powerful, at magnitude 8.6, for a “strike-slip” type of quake, and a new analysis of ...

Strong earthquake hits Maluku in eastern Indonesia

Oct 08, 2012

(AP)—A strong earthquake shook parts of eastern Indonesia on Monday, sending residents and hotel guests running out of their rooms, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

New study sheds light on quake peril for Istanbul

Jan 18, 2010

An investigation into a perilous fault that runs south of Istanbul suggests it could unleash two or three big quakes in a series rather than an extremely large one-off event, as some studies have feared.

Recommended for you

How productive are the ore factories in the deep sea?

4 hours ago

About ten years after the first moon landing, scientists on earth made a discovery that proved that our home planet still holds a lot of surprises in store for us. Looking through the portholes of the submersible ...

NASA image: Volcanoes in Guatemala

9 hours ago

This photo of volcanoes in Guatemala was taken from NASA's C-20A aircraft during a four-week Earth science radar imaging mission deployment over Central and South America. The conical volcano in the center ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

sstritt
1 / 5 (7) Mar 20, 2013
Pictures?

More news stories

Study links California drought to global warming

While researchers have sometimes connected weather extremes to man-made global warming, usually it is not done in real time. Now a study is asserting a link between climate change and both the intensifying California drought ...

Untangling Brazil's controversial new forest code

Approved in 2012, Brazil's new Forest Code has few admirers. Agricultural interests argue that it threatens the livelihoods of farmers. Environmentalists counter that it imperils millions of hectares of forest, ...

Autism Genome Project delivers genetic discovery

A new study from investigators with the Autism Genome Project, the world's largest research project on identifying genes associated with risk for autism, has found that the comprehensive use of copy number variant (CNV) genetic ...

Genetic code of the deadly tsetse fly unraveled

Mining the genome of the disease-transmitting tsetse fly, researchers have revealed the genetic adaptions that allow it to have such unique biology and transmit disease to both humans and animals.