Landslide hazard, monitoring and conservation strategy for the safeguard of Vardzia Byzantine monastery complex, Georgia

Margottini, C.; Antidze, N.; Corominas, J.; Crosta, G. B.; Frattini, P.; Gigli, G.; Giordan, D.; Iwasaky, I.; Lollino, G.; Manconi, A.; Marinos, P.; Scavia, C.; Sonnessa, A.; Spizzichino, D.; Vacheishvili, N., 2015, Landslide hazard, monitoring and conservation strategy for the safeguard of Vardzia Byzantine monastery complex, Georgia, Landslides (Berl., Print) 12 (2015): 193–204. doi_10.1007/s10346-014-0548-z,
URL: http://www.cnr.it/prodotto/i/360183

This paper reports preliminary results of a feasibility project developed in cooperation with National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia, and aimed at envisaging the stability conditions of the Vardzia monastery slope (rupestrian city cave in the south-western Georgia). The aim is the implementation of a low-impact monitoring system together with long-term mitigation/conservation policies. A field analysis was conducted to reconstruct geometry of the rocky cliff, characteristics of discontinuities, main failure modes, and volume of potential unstable blocks and geomechanical parameters. Instability processes are the combination of causative factors such as the following_ lithology, frequency and orientation of discontinuities, slope orientation, physical and mechanical characteristics of slope-forming materials, and morphological and hydrological boundary conditions. The combined adoption of different survey techniques (e.g., 3D laser scanner, ground-based radar interferometry) could be the best solution in the interdisciplinary field of cultural heritage preservation policies. The collected data will be the basis for future activities to be completed in collaboration with local authorities for a complete hazard and risk characterization for the monastery site and the development of an early warning system to allow safe exploitation for touristic activities and for historical site preservation.

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