Graduate Lecture Series - Paola Rizzoli (EAPS)

Paola Rizzoli, Professor of Physical Oceanography
Friday, April 21, 2017 - 4:30pm to 5:30pm

"Venice: 50 Years After the Big Flood of November 4, 1966"

On November 4 , 1966, 50 years ago, Venice was affected by the highest flood in its millennial history. The city was submerged by almost 2 m. of water and the flood lasted almost two days. One island, Pellestrina, was completely submerged, and almost destroyed in its narrowest part, by waves 4 m high, with 3,000 inhabitants being evacuated. Damages in the city were enormous, leading to destruction of antique artifacts in the level and sublevel floors of the city museums. This event brought the city to the world attention. The National Resrach Council of Italy established an Institute to study and understand the problems of the city, i.e sinking ( subsidence ) and flooding ( the Adriatic sea storm surge), finally aiming to reach a forecasting capability of the sea level sufficiently in advance especially for the extreme events. The Italian government also passed a special law to provide financing to the city for different purposes, including protection and adaptation to "high waters", i.e. the floods. Foremost among them was the MOSE system, i.e. a system of movable barriers to be constructed across the three inlets of the lagoon which would close upon arrival of floods exceeding a prescribed height, thus effectively separating the lagoon from the sea. The construction of the barriers started in 2003 and, in spite of many delays due to multiple causes, is now on its final stage to completion. A review of the lagoon history will be given, explaining the geological causes of subsidence, natural and anthropic, and the oceanographic cause of the floods, the Adriatic sea storm surge. A review will also be given of the principles of construction of the inlet barriers and of the present state of the works. Finally, a new educational collaborative initiative between MIT, the Venice University of Architecture and the Consortium of industries designated to the barriers construction will be presented. The first action of this initiative will be a Summer School in the Pellestrina island, May 29-June 9, 2017, followed by summer stages for 12 MIT students ( undergraduates and graduates ) together with 12 italian architecture students working together in interdisciplinary projects.

About the Series

The Graduate Lecture Series [GLS] is a weekly lecture series featuring EAPS Professors geared towards EAPS Graduate Students, Researchers and Postdocs. Lectures usually take place on Fridays from 4:30-5:30 pm in 54-915 unless otherwise noted (term-time only). Co-ordinator: Allison Provaire (