Fall of Leaning Tower of Pisa | Theories & Predictions
Why Does the Leaning Tower of Pisa Lean?
The Journey of Tilts
Construction of the Tower of Pisa began in 1173. Originally intended to be a freestanding bell tower, the first stones were laid on the 9th of August, 1173.
The Tower of Pisa Starts to Lean
The soil in Pisa is alluvial soil which is loose sand and clay and is typically very soft. After just 3 stories were built. This was when the foundations began to sink into the ground, and the tower began to lean on one side.
When the builders observed that the tower began to lean in 1178, construction was stopped. As a result of the city of Pisa going to war against Genoa, construction of the tower was halted for 94 years, until 1272.
After almost a 100 years, work on the Tower of Pisa resumed under the engineer Giovanni de Simone. By the end of 12 years of reconstruction, the tower had 7 floors. Soon after, a war broke out between Pisa and Genoa, and the construction of the tower stopped once again.
Finishing the Tower
In 1350, the construction of the 8th floor of the Leaning Tower of Pisa began under the architect Rommaso Pisano and took over 20 more years to complete. In 1372, exactly 200 years after the first stones were laid, the Tower was finally finished, and 7 brass bells were installed at the top.
The Tilt Worsens Over Time
In 1838, architect Alessandro della Gerardesca decided to expose the beautifully carved base of the tower in order to increase its value. In 1934, Benito Musslini decided to make the tower perfectly vertical with the help of his men. Both of these severely worsened the tilt of the Tower of Pisa.
Danger of Toppling Over
In 1990, the tower was declared to be in danger of collapse. Computer algorithms predicted that a tilt beyond 5.44 degrees would result in the tower toppling over, but the tower was still standing at an alarming 5.5 degrees. Following the collapse of a different tower in another part of Italy, the Tower of Pisa was closed for repairs.
In 2001, after more than 10 years of restoration work, the Tower lost approximately 40 centimeters of lean. The tower was brought back to the lean it had 200 years in the late 1700s to about 4 degrees.
How Engineers Stabilised the Leaning Tower of Pisa from Falling Over
The project to stop the tower from falling went through multiple phases.
- First, counterweights were placed along the base on the North side of the tower. This would reduce its tendency to lean South.
- Steel cables were used as a harness to pull back the tower, and prevent it from falling over when the soil was prepared.
- Wells were dug under the foundations and water was drained from these wells. The foundations were reinforced by inserting 15 meter concrete pillars into the ground.
- Finally, steel cables were piled to straighten the tower up.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa Today
Will the Leaning Tower of Pisa Ever Fall Over?
Following the restoration work between 1990 and 2001, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is no longer in any danger of toppling over. In fact, the Tower is reducing its lean very slowly, and continues to straighten due to the restoration efforts.
All Your Questions About the Leaning Tower of Pisa’s Fall Answered
A. No, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is no longer in danger of falling down.
A. According to computer algorithms, the Leaning Tower of Pisa will fall when the tilt reaches an angle of 5.44 degrees.
A. In 1990, the Leaning Tower underwent a major stabilization project where architects removed soil underneath it and hung weights to reduce the tilt of the tower.
A. Yes, it is safe to visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
A. Today, the Leaning Tower of Pisa features a tilt just under 4 degrees.
A. The tower began to lean since the soft ground on which it was built could not support the weight.
A. The current angle of tilt of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is about 4 degrees.
A. The Leaning Tower of Pisa was built as a freestanding bell tower for the nearby Cathedral.
A. The Leaning Tower of Pisa was fully constructed by 1372, exactly 200 years after construction first started.
A. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is 55.86 meters (or 183.25 feet) tall.
A. The Leaning Tower of Pisa was supposed to be 60 meters (or 196.85 feet) tall.