Experimental and Numerical Modal Identification of the Fossanova Gothic Cathedral


Article Preview

This paper focuses on the dynamic behaviour of the Fossanova cathedral (Latina, ITALY), which represents a magnificent example of pre-Gothic style church, whose structural typology is largely present in the Mediterranean area, especially in many Countries characterised by a High-Medium seismic hazard. In particular, within the European research project PROHITECH, aiming at investigating the seismic vulnerability of such a structural typology, experimental and numerical analyses have been carried out. Firstly, detailed investigations have been devoted to the identification of the geometry of the main constructional parts as well as of the mechanical features of the constituting materials of the cathedral. Then, both Ambient Vibration Tests (AVT) and Numerical Modal Identification analyses by Finite Element Method (FEM) have been applied, allowing the detection of the main dynamic features. Finally, a refined FEM model reproducing the dynamic behaviour of the cathedral by using scaled physical quantities according to the Buckingham theorem has been developed. In fact, the present study has to be intended as a preliminary activity devoted to se up a shaking table test on a reduced scale physical model of Fossanova cathedral, which will be shortly carried out at the IZIIS laboratory (Skopje, Macedonia).



Edited by:

L. Garibaldi, C. Surace, K. Holford and W.M. Ostachowicz




G. de Matteis et al., "Experimental and Numerical Modal Identification of the Fossanova Gothic Cathedral ", Key Engineering Materials, Vol. 347, pp. 351-358, 2007

Online since:

September 2007




[1] F.M. Mazzolani, Earthquake protection of historical buildings by reversible mixed technologies, in Proc. of Behaviour of steel structures in seismic areas (STESSA 2006), Taylor and Francis/Balkema publishers, 11-24 (2006).

[2] E. Viollet le Duc, Dictionnaire raisonné de l'architecture française du XI au XVI siècle, Paris (1854).

[3] L. Grodecki, L'architettura gotica, Milano (1976).

[4] F. De Longhi, L'architettura delle chiese cistercensi Italiane, Milano (1958).

[5] P. Gavrilovic, W. S. Ginell, V. Sendova, L. Sumanov, Conservation and Seismic Strengthening of Byzantine Churches in Macedonia, GCI Scientific Program Reports, (2004).

[6] R. K. Goel, A. K. Chopra, Vibration Properties of Buildings Determined from Recorded Earthquake Motions, Report N. UCB/EERC-97/14, December, (1997).

[7] Y. Li, S.T. Mau, A case study of Mimo System Identification Applied to Building Seismic Records, Earthq. Eng. Struct. Dyn, 1045-1065, November (1991).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/eqe.4290201106

[8] S. Timoshenko, D.H. Young, W. Weaver, Vibration problems in engineering, John Wiley & Sons, (1974).

[9] ABAQUS Version 6. 6 Software Manual, USA, (2006).

[10] Italian Seismic Code, Ordinanza P.C.M. n. 3274 (20 marzo 2003) and n. 3431 (3 maggio 2005).

[11] R.W. Clough, J. Penzies, Dynamics of Structures, Mc Graw-Hill, (1993).

[12] Chopra A. Dynamics of Structures, Prentice Hall, Inc., USA.