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Authors: Pesci, A.* 
Casula, G.* 
Boschi, E.* 
Title: Laser scanning the Garisenda and Asinelli towers in Bologna (Italy): detailed deformation patterns of two ancient leaning buildings
Issue Date: 14-Jan-2011
Keywords: Mason Building; Leaning Building; Middle Ages; Deformation; Terrestrial Laser Scanner
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.02. Exploration geophysics::04.02.07. Instruments and techniques 
Abstract: The Asinelli and Garisenda towers are the main symbol of the city of Bologna (Italy). These leaning towers, whose heights are about 97 m and 48 m respectively, were built during the early 12th century and are two of the few surviving ones from about a hundred tall medieval buildings that once characterized the city. Therefore, they are part of the Italian cultural heritage and their safeguard is extremely important. In order to evaluate in detail the deformations of these towers, in particular the deviations from a regular inclination of their walls, the terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) has been used and an efficient direct analysis method has been developed. The towers have been scanned from 6 viewpoints, providing 19 point clouds with a complete coverage of the visible surfaces with large overlap areas. For each tower, after the registration of the partial point clouds into a common reference frame, an accurate morphological analysis of the acquired surfaces has been carried out. The results show several zones affected by significant deformations and inclination changes. In the case of the Asinelli tower, for which a finite element model is available, the results have also been interpreted on the basis of the static load and normal modes. The correspondence between the measured deformation and the theoretically expected deformation, caused by a seismic sequence, is clear. This fact suggests a high sensibility of the tower to dynamic loads. Although a direct evaluation of the risk cannot be carried out with the obtained results, they lead to the general indication that the structural health of these buildings must be frequently checked and that man-made loads (e.g. vibration due to vehicular traffic) should be avoided or at least reduced.
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