General Question

JackAdams's avatar

Do you believe that the Leaning Tower of Pisa (Italy) will eventually fall down?

Asked by JackAdams (6492points) August 30th, 2008

The construction of the Leaning Tower of Pisa was begun in 1173, and the incline began while the tower was still being built, which took over 200 years to complete, according to the Tower’s official website.

Every once in awhile, stories are published about efforts to “correct” the Tower’s incline, but if it was eventually straightened and made perfectly vertical, the tourist attraction for that Italian region would suddenly vanish, and the economy would suffer greatly.

So, the dilemma for the inhabitants of Pisa, is to figure out a way to keep it from falling, while maintaining the incline.

I just seems to me that it might fall one of these days, either due to the effects of gravity, or perhaps an earthquake in the region.

What do you think? If it does eventually fall, do you think it could happen within a hundred years from now? (Remember, it has already been standing, since 1173.)

August 30, 2008, 10:30 AM EDT

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16 Answers

wrestlemaniac's avatar

yeah, air weathers material, and if i’m correct from science, then I am sure it will fall.

NecroKing's avatar

Pisa T is falling down, falling down, falling down (song)

trumi's avatar

Eventually, everything will.

poofandmook's avatar

I thought they were trying to keep it from leaning any further than it was, not trying to straighten it completely…?

JackAdams's avatar

One can view 6,400 detailed photos of the tower, here, and the photos are in black & white, but with amazing clarity and attention to detail.

I’ve seen plenty of photos of the tower in the past (I’ve been to Italy more than once, but never to Pisa, in Tuscany) but these photos were personally alarming to me, because they show severe cracks in the famous bell tower, cause by the incline.

This indicates to me (and I’m not a structural engineer of any kind) that should the tower eventually fall, it will fall in pieces, rather than as a single object. In other words, it will CRUMBLE as it is falling.

I hope a structural engineer might be reading this Q (and the comments) and will enlighten me with his/her thoughts.

August 30, 2008, 10:48 AM EDT

JackAdams's avatar

They are attempting to halt the incline from worsening, because there is supposedly a way to determine the “rate of increasing incline,” but I’m not familiar with the particulars of that.

The idea is to maintain a noticable incline, without “allowing” it to get worse, so the “tourist draw” is perpetuated.

August 30, 2008, 10:52 AM EDT

MarshallO's avatar

There was a long discussion on this on NPR radio yesterday,

The foundation was recently strengthened to the point where the Leaning Tower of Pisa now has one of the strongest foundations in the world, and the angle of lean was lessened at that time to an angle that poses no risk to the structure.

It will never fall down—barring a natural catastrophe.

JackAdams's avatar

…or some Muslim terrorist flying a jetliner into it.

August 30, 2008, 12:29 PM EDT

MarshallO's avatar

@JackAdams: True.

Allie's avatar

I think that if people didn’t interfere that it eventually would fall down. Wind and water would erode the material away.
The Parthenon is much older (original construction was completed around 480 or 490 BC) and parts of it are still standing. Again because people work on preserving it.
These types of buildings/towers have only lasted this long because people work to keep them intact as best they can.
I don’t think they’ll fall unless there’s some kind of disaster – either natural or purposeful destruction.

JackAdams's avatar

The Great Wall of China building project was begun in the 6th Century BC (probably after a “bond issue” was passed) and still survives to this day, many centuries later, and it is likely to outlast the Leaning Tower, just based on sheer size, alone.

But “in time, the Rockies may crumble, Gibraltar may tumble, they’re only made of clay…”

August 30, 2008, 6:53 PM EDT

NecroKing's avatar

But the wall is straight up. it ain’t leaning.

wrestlemaniac's avatar

Hey what’s with targeting muslims, they’re not all bad.

MarshallO's avatar

It’s interesting to note that those of you who got “Great Answer” ratings had the wrong answer!

I guess that Fluther is a matter of “who you know”.

JackAdams's avatar

I’d suggest that it is more a matter of apathy, than anything else, as far as voting is concerned.

Your answers are among the very best ones I read on this site. I just don’t always remember to vote, is all.

August 31, 2008, 8:01 PM EDT

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