Skip to main content
Passa alla visualizzazione normale.


Integration of constrained electrical and seismic tomographies to study the landslide affecting the cathedral of Agrigento


The Cathedral of Saint Gerland, located on the top of the hill of Agrigento, is an important historical church, which dates back to the Arab–Norman period (XI century). Unfortunately throughout its history the Cathedral and the adjacent famous Archaeological Park of the 'Valley of the Temples' have been affected by landslides. In this area the interleaving of calcarenites, silt, sand and clay is complicated by the presence of dislocated rock blocks and cavities and by a system of fractures partly filled with clay or water. Integrated geophysical surveys were carried out on the north side of the hill, on which the Cathedral of Agrigento is founded, to define lithological structures involved in the failure process. Because of the landslide, the cathedral has been affected by fractures, which resulted in the overall instability of the structure. Along each of four footpaths a combination of 2D electrical resistivity tomographies (ERT) and 2D seismic refraction tomographies (SRT) was performed. Moreover, along two of these footpaths microtremor (HVSR) and surface wave soundings (MASW) were carried out to reconstruct 2D sections of shear waves velocity. Furthermore a 3D electrical resistivity tomography was carried out in a limited area characterized by gentle slopes. After a preliminary phase, in which the data were processed independently, a subsequent inversion of seismic and electrical data was constrained with stratigraphic information obtained from geognostic continuous core boreholes located along the geophysical lines. This process allowed us to significantly increase the robustness of the geophysical models. The acquired data were interpolated to construct 3D geophysical models of the electrical resistivity and of the P-wave velocity. The interpolation algorithm took into account the average direction and immersion of geological strata. Results led to a better understanding of the complexity of the subsoil in the investigated area. The use of integrated geophysical techniques allowed us to understand the sliding processes that affect the slope delimiting the possible rock volume affected by the sliding. These results should be useful to define the works to consolidate the landslides affecting the slope on which the Cathedral is founded and the hill inside the Archaeological Park.