Experts: Persepolis will collapse with a small tremor
Picture courtesy of Persepolis3D.com
Pictures courtesy of ISNA
Persepolis platform built on the
slope of mount Rahmat (CAIS)
US$10,000,000 the cost of gold, covering two domes - total cost of refurbishment estimated around US$25,000,000 of Iranian moneies
(Click to enlarge)
LONDON, (CAIS) -- Persepolis could collapse as the result of a small tremor if necessary measures are not taken immediately, warned an Iranian geotechnical and modelling engineer.
Speaking with the Persian Service of ISNA, Dr Abdolazim-Amir Shah-Karami the advisor to the Office of Conservation, Revitalisation and Registration of Historical Buildings of the Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organisation (ICHTI) warned: “The atmospheric effects and stone decay of the outer-wall situated on the left side of the main stairway leading to the Persepolis Platform has caused three cracks to appear. For this reason, strengthening the wall and restoring it is a matter of utmost urgency, since a small tremor will cause the outer-wall will collapse.”
Shah-Karmi explained: “from an engineering aspect, the surrounding walls of the Persepolis are the most important constructions of all. The outer-walls not only carry their own heavy weight as well as the construction on the top, they also act as the platform stopper to stop it from moving and subsequently collapsing, in short like a belt fastens the platform together.”
Regarding the danger to the walls he added: “main dangers to the outer walls are an earthquake, since the ancient city is sitting on two fault-lines, tilt range and difference in subsidence, rising damp from the earth as well as the platform and evaporation from the stones as the result of dry air and wind.”
Achaemenid architects designed and constructed Persepolis in a way to withstand earthquakes and to deal with the moist and damp. From an engineering point of view it is a marvel of engineering and a great achievement for the ancient Iranians to raise and construct such a colossal 300x450 meters artificial platform.
“Persepolis was constructed in such a way that it could withstand any earthquake. The platform is connected in such a harmonious way, using limestone and sometimes sandstone depending on their functionalities. All the stones were fastened together with metal clips without using any mortar in-between which was an innovation. In addition to reduce the weight from the platform, many of the internal walls were constructed out of mud-bricks and clad in stones for aesthetics reasons”, explained Shah-Karami.
He urged: “the protection system that was constructed during the ancient times to get rid of the damp and moist from the platform are still in force on the right section of the platform, but the left section has been disabled – and therefore they are in the most dire situation and in need of urgent attention.”
He concluded: “first and foremost we have to clear the blocked air-vents known as the catwalks, which lead the damp and moist out of the platform. The decayed soils behind the walls from the inside must be removed and replaced. Most importantly the wall must be reinforced to prevent their collapse and replace the cracked stones, which is in need of urgent attention.”
Some blame the damage to the foundation of Persepolis to the substantial increase in underground waters, as the result of the artificial lake formed behind the Sivand Dam.
An Iranian archaeologist who wished to remain anonymous for his safety told CAIS: “The Persepolis situation is much more dire than portrayed; the whole platform is collapsing as we are seeing new cracks appear throughout the city. The collapse of the foundation is not only a problem with this wall but with the front section as it is separation from the platform. This is directly connected to the underground waters coming from Sivand [dam].”
“The regime claims the lake is not filled with water, simply because a large amount is absorbed into the ground and found their way beneath the Pasargadae and Persepolis – exactly as the regime planned. To prevent Persepolis as well as Pasargadae from total destruction we have to decommission the dam immediately and redirect the remaining water from the lake somewhere else. After that we have to do something with those artificial lakes formed under the Persepolis and Pasargadae”, he added.
Sivand dam is most notorious dam built by the Islamic Republic which became operational in 2007 amidst all objection and warnings from Iranian and international cultural authorities. The dam immediately devoured 130 pre-Islamic archaeological sites. The main reason for the construction of Sivand dam was to destroy Pasargadae and Persepolis in the long run as the Islamic Regime’s animosity towards pre-Islamic Iranian heritage and Iranian Identity based on pre-Islamic Iran from the Persian Language to Noruz, the Iranian national New Year Celebration.
“While Persepolis, which is the most important site in Iran and is the pride of every Iranian, has an annual budget of less than $100,000, the Islamic Republic recently spent $10,000,000 on 230kg gold to cover the domes of the tomb of Musa Kazem, 11th Shi’a Imam buried in Iraq, which has nothing to do with Iranians, the Iranian heritage or our national-identity. This is one of the many projects that the regime is wasting our assets for when it should be spent on our own heritage”, said an Iranian cultural figure who wished to remain anonymous for his safety.
UPDATE: January 04, 2011
By: Dr Manual Berberian
I agree with the writer regarding the reenforcement of the structure, however, I would like to add the following brief corrections:
1- The statement that "the ancient city is sitting on two fault-lines" is erroneous. Persepolis is not built on any seismic fault line.
2- During its long life-time, the structure withstood numerous medium- to large-magnitude earthquakes with associated strong ground motions with some damages.
3- The documented/studied damage features and modes will definitely help designing the proper reinforcement plans.
4- Despite my efforts contacting different organizations in Iran and the USA, I have not been able to present my data, convey my message, and create a multi-discipline study group for preserving this world heritage.
Manuel Berberian, Ph.D., PG
Member- NY Academy of Sciences