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The race to save St. Mark’s Basilica from the salty flood

The race to save St. Mark’s Basilica from the salty flood


Environmental scientist Jane da Mosto, the founder of the non-profit organization, explained that rising sea levels means that the tides start from a higher baseline. We are in venice. Based on peer-reviewed research conducted by researchers, GermanyKiel University in Venice was facing 55 inches of sea level rise and 98 inches of storm surges before 2100. Mario Piana, the chief architect of St. Mark’s Cathedral, said at a conference in April that these levels are “really unsustainable.”

Frequent contact with salt water will damage the marble columns, floors and mosaics of the church, not only the first time it penetrates. “This is an invisible damage that can happen even for a long time,” Anna Maria said. Pentimalli is an architect and PhD candidate who specializes in the restoration of architectural heritage. He has previously worked with the city agency responsible for overseeing the protection of local heritage.Piana likens cumulative impact to “Radiation to the human body.”

The cathedral contains dozens of stones, and various materials react differently to salt water.Reddish Ancient red porphyry For example, the marble that appears on the decorative floor does not seem to have suffered any damage; other marbles, such as dark green Antique green marble Or orange Verona’s red wine, May deteriorate quickly. Pentimalli explained that salt can cause flaking, cracking and flaking when it enters the stone.In narthex, a column consisting of both Antique green marble with Verona’s red wine It showed severe degradation after the flood.

In the months following the flooding in 2019, the cathedral was flushed with fresh water to offset salt deposits. The crew also used deionized water compressors to inhibit salt crystallization. Even so, the salt crystals bloomed between the tiles on the mosaic a few feet away in the air. The salt is eaten at the mortar, causing the tiles to fall. Work will continue. A few months after the flood, the local media gave a speech, Tselin says, “Almost 60% [of the floor] It will have to be replaced, and it will take us years to complete the project. “

The cathedral will also need a long-term solution, and the solutions used elsewhere in Venice will not be cut. The system (called the flood control network of MOSE) was put into operation in July last year. Years of delays and corruption scandals. These gates are located at the three entrances to the Venetian Lagoon and can be raised when high tide is expected to prevent seawater from entering and flooding the city.

However, they are currently only activated when the forecast tide reaches at least 51 inches. In the future, the threshold can be lowered to deal with floods reaching 43 inches, but this will not help the cathedral much, because the Nasus flood there is about 26 inches. As da Mosto said: “In order to protect the cathedral, the MOSE needs to be shut down at a lower water level,” which means it needs to be used more frequently. Da Mosto added that this will consume a lot of energy and will affect the port and fishing activities, which rely on moving between the lagoon and the ocean.

Since the MOSE system cannot fully protect the cathedral, the custodian of the building proposed independent flood protection measures. Led by engineer Daniele Rinaldo and architect Mario Piana, this 3.5 million euro intervention aims to protect St. Mark’s from as high as 43 Inches of flooding, the MOSE barrier will be replaced by then.

The first intervention is to insert a manually operated valve system into the drainage tunnel below the cathedral to intercept the water before it gets too close. A similar design already exists in narthex. This person will meander around the building.


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