Silva et al. 2009

Silva, P. G., Reicherter, K., Grützner, C., Bardají, T., Lario, J., Goy, J. L., Zazo, C., Becker-Heidmann, P. (2009): Surface and subsurface palaeoseismic records at the ancient Roman city of Baelo Claudia and the Bolonia Bay area, Cádiz (south Spain). – In: Reicherter, K., Michetti, A. M., Silva, P. G. (Hg.): Palaeoseismology, S. 93–121. Geological Society special publication 316. Geological Society of London, London. ISBN: 978-1-86239-276-2

DOI: 10.1144/SP316.6


The Roman archaeological site of Baelo Claudia (Cádiz, south Spain) is located within the Gibraltar Arch, a region with no significant recent or historical seismicity. However, previous studies have emphasized the occurrence of repeated strong archaeoseismic damage (intensity≥IX MSK) at Baelo Claudia tentatively bracketed in this study around ad 40–60 and ad 260–290. A multidisciplinary study has been carried out including the detailed mapping of surface deformation and building damage, surface geology and geomorphology, collection of structural data, and an extensive ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey.

The obtained data are not conclusive when considered separately, but evident links between archaeoseismic damage, structural and GPR data indicate that the destruction of the city was linked to seismic shaking. The analysis of the pattern and orientation of deformation clearly indicates SW–NE directed compression due to ground shaking. This analysis also focuses on localized landslides and liquefaction processes, which appear to be coeval with the earthquakes, but the poor geotechnical parameters of the clayey substratum were determinant to amplify the observed level of destruction. The application of the present Spanish seismic code (NCSE-02) indicates that intensity VIII MSK (0.24–0.26 g) can be reached in this zone for 500 year return periods.

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