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Geologists map tunnels beneath Rome


Posted on Wednesday, 4 December, 2013 | Comment icon 4 comments

The tunnels date back to the city's earliest days. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Thalan
Undearneath the ancient capital lies a complex labyrinth of tunnels and quarries dating back millennia.
The tunnels were formed over many hundreds of years thanks mainly to quarrying, weathering and the tendency for the Romans to build new structures over the ruins of old ones. Some of the tunnels have been re-purposed multiple times as catacombs, a sewerage system and even as bomb shelters during World War II.

More recently however the tunnels have started to represent something of a nuisance as modern structures built over the top of them are becoming increasingly vulnerable to subsidence.

Over the last few years there have been several dozen incidents in which buildings have collapsed in to the disused voids beneath the streets.

To combat the problem, a group of geoscientists has undertaken an ambitious new tunnel mapping project to make it possible to more easily identify the points most at risk of collapse. Not only will this help to alleviate the risk to buildings above but it is also providing a unique opportunity to learn more about the vast labyrinth under the city and to find out just how extensive it actually is.

Source: Live Science | Comments (4)

Tags: Rome, Roman, Tunnels

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by rashore on 4 December, 2013, 14:05
That's cool. I imagine that it's also a PITA. Wonder if they will discover anything in their mapping.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Rolci on 4 December, 2013, 23:06
giddout of there, nothing interesting to see. I would rather see them mapping the underground network of tunnels (and possibly temples harbouring secrets of ancient tech or aliens) running all across South America with dozens of entrances, probably all interconnected. There is an excellent documentary on these tunnels here: They try to explore 4-5 tunnels along the journey as I remember, some never been shown to outsiders before. There's one under the basement of an old churches (at 28:10), or another one at 48:10 and the last one they try is at 1:26:34. I'm sure there are more as I remember ... [More]
Comment icon #3 Posted by seaturtlehorsesnake on 4 December, 2013, 23:14
giddout of there, nothing interesting to see. whatever man. whatever. this is fascinating reading to me; just because explanations are known, doesn't mean it's not fascinating. plus this is geology and history, working hand in hand. it's the best. (do not take me too seriously, i ain't actually mad. but still. whatever.)
Comment icon #4 Posted by rashore on 5 December, 2013, 14:12
giddout of there, nothing interesting to see. But they aren't exploring to see what they can see... They are doing it because of structure collapses in Rome due to so much void under them.


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