WIT Press

Earthquake Damage To Christian Basilica Churches: The Application Of An Expert System For The Preliminary In-plane Design Of Stone Masonry Piers


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707 - 719




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Paper DOI



WIT Press


G. C. Manos, L. Kotoulas, O. Felekidou, S. Vaccaro, E. Kozikopoulos


This paper summarizes observations and conclusions from a series of investigations on the seismic performance of stone masonry Christian basilica churches. A considerable number of these churches develops structural damage to the masonry walls-piers that arises from the amplitude of the gravitational and seismic actions combined with the deformability of the foundation. This traditional “old-type” construction for Christian churches still exists in several regions of the Mediterranean Basin, apart from Greece, despite the considerable seismic hazard that these regions are exposed to. An expert system was developed, which utilizes the basic geometric and material characteristics of a given masonry pier together with the in-plane stress resultant demands in a cross section, such as the axial force (Ny) the bending moment (My) and the shear force (Qy), in order to check the performance of such a pier. This is done by comparing the demands posed by these stress resultants with the corresponding capacities as they are predicted by the provisions of Euro-code 6 or from relevant empirical formulae. This is done by considering either the in-plane flexural or the in-plane shear capacity. This expert system is applied to typical basilica churches damaged by the recent 2014 Kefalonia earthquake in order to demonstrate its usefulness in the evaluation process of either the expected or the observed earthquake performance of this type of heritage structure.


Christian basilica churches, stone masonry, expert system, predicted earthquake performance, evaluation of observed performance