Why is the Leaning Tower of Pisa Leaning?

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by Dr. Bob, Sep 3, 2003.

  1. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    And other questions of architectural history.

    Can Pete or someone with intimate knowledge answer these questions:

    Has the tower ALWAYS leaned?

    Why has it not FALLEN over?

    Did the architect get paid?

    Ever been there? Can you go inside? Drop stuff like Galileo?

    If you dropped a bowling ball and a marble at the same time, would it hit some on the head at the same time?

    Just wait. Got more questions about aliens building the pyramids . . . :eek:
     
  2. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson
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  3. Pete Richert

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    Dr. Bob,

    I just watched this on the history channel last night so this is where my knowledge is coming from.

    It was build in three stages over about 200 years (1170-1370 approximate) and yes, it began leaning right at the start. It is leaning because the soil underneath it is not all of the same composition, and some of it sagged. It was leaning by some 5 feet already when they tried to do the last portion on top, and they tried to vary the weight so it would stop the learning. . . it didn't work. Fast forward to this century and now it is almost 13 feet. Sometime in this century we installed some pretty precise measuring tools and learned that it is falling at a rate of 1/20 an inch a year. Every 20 years, a inch, every 240 years, a foot will go. So given time, it will fall down. They already suspect that any earthquake, wind storm, or even heavy rain might bring it down.

    So they started doing all these things to stop it from leaning, by changing the soil composition and stuff underneath it and nothing really worked until just in 1999 or so, when they finnally got it to stop and actually start back in the other direction. I think it will take some time but they want to pull it back to something safe enough for the public to visit it again, as it has been closed since 1996 or so. But of course they can't pull it straight as that would ruin the mystery of one of the most famous engineering blunders of history.

    The concept of soil properties and soil science was in existence until this century (well, last century now). Now we study the soil and its properities for years before we start any such project.

    Oh, one more interesting fact. They believe that if they had build the whole thing at once (instead of over 200 years), it would have fallen immedietly. Each stage and time lapse help strength the soil underneath. But that is just speculation.

    I missed you last question. I have never been there. It was open to the public to go into until like 1996 as it was deemed to dangerous. As I said before, the goal is to open it back up to the public in the future.
     
  4. Johnv

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    Interestingly, if you take a good look at the tower, you'll notice that the upper floors are built at a different angle than the lower floors. That's because the builders continued building at plumb and level, even after the tower began leaning.

    So yes, it began leaning prior to completion.

    BTW - few people are aware that the tower was built as a campanile (bell tower) for the church that it is adjacent to. It has been closed to visitors since 1990.
     
  5. Wisdom Seeker

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    The tower began to lean while it was still under construction.


    Probably because several actions have been taken to prevent it from happening....like the making of the top higher on one side, and the lead that has been added to the foundation over the centuries...but most probably due mostly because of the 1990 weights that were added to one side that have decreased the inclination of the tower by 40.6 centimeters.

    A widow, whose name was Berta of Bernardo, living in the house of dell'Opera di Santa Maria, the 5th of January 1172 left in her will sixty "coins" to the "Opera Campanilis petrarum Sancte Marie", to purchase some stones to build the Tower. [​IMG]
     
  6. donnA

    donnA
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    Didn't some guy sneeze,
    no, wait, thats something else.
    Sorry.
     

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