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Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 417;

Rockfall Analysis for Preliminary Hazard Assessment of the Cliff of Taormina Saracen Castle (Sicily)

Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, University of Catania, Corso Italia 57, 95129 Catania, Italy
Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture, University of Catania, Via Santa Sofia 54, 95125 Catania, Italy
Regione Siciliana‚ÄĒDepartment of Cultural Heritage and Sicilian Identity, Viale Boccetta 38, 98100 Messina, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 December 2017 / Revised: 30 January 2018 / Accepted: 1 February 2018 / Published: 6 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Collection Risk Assessment and Management)
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A rockfall analysis at one of the most relevant cultural heritage sites of northeastern Sicily (Italy) is presented herein with the aim of assessing the hazard arising from the unstable conditions of the rock cliff of Taormina city, upon which the Saracen Castle is perched on its top. Several rockfalls affected this area in the latest years, representing a serious threat for the safety of inhabitants and tourists. Therefore, the qualitative Evolving Rockfall Hazard Assessment (ERHA) was applied for the hazard zonation, supported by rock mass surveys and Terrestrial Laser Scanner prospecting. Kinematic analysis revealed that the unstable rock failure patterns are represented by planar/wedge sliding and toppling, while simulation of potential rockfalls allowed studying the impact of future events in terms of trajectory and energy. This is higher at the foot of scarps and in steeper sectors, where the application of ERHA identified a critical zone close to the inhabited center, which is one of the main elements at risk, along with a pedestrian tourist path. Achieved results represent a starting point for the definition of risk management strategies and provide a scientific contribution to the study of hazard and risk arising from rockfall occurrence. View Full-Text
Keywords: Rockfall Hazard; cultural heritage; trajectory simulation; rock mass survey; LIDAR Rockfall Hazard; cultural heritage; trajectory simulation; rock mass survey; LIDAR

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Mineo, S.; Pappalardo, G.; Mangiameli, M.; Campolo, S.; Mussumeci, G. Rockfall Analysis for Preliminary Hazard Assessment of the Cliff of Taormina Saracen Castle (Sicily). Sustainability 2018, 10, 417.

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