, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 275–287 | Cite as

Natural hazards vs human impact: an integrated methodological approach in geomorphological risk assessment on the Tursi historical site, Southern Italy

  • M. LazzariEmail author
  • E. Geraldi
  • V. Lapenna
  • A. Loperte
Original Article


The Tursi–Rabatana historical site is very representative of the cultural heritage of Basilicata, Southern Italy. Morphological evolution of the landscape is characterized by very intense erosive phenomena such as landslides, deep gullies, rills, and piping, which affect the perimeter of urban settlements and threaten the conservation of these sites. Rainfalls and the lithology of the substratum are the main factors to which the landscape evolution is linked, triggering landslide and linear erosion phenomena. Climate analysis carried out during the last century showed an increasing trend in the rainfall intensity over extremely short periods. This condition also induced an increase in the vulnerability level of the slopes. Integrated analysis between territorial data (geology, geomorphology, climate) and historical documents showed that, at least from the last century, the geomorphological hazard has been accentuated by the intense human activity of cave excavation along several fronts under the present urban area. The geophysical investigation also permitted the mapping of shallow caves and tunnels in the subsurface reconstructing the multilevel complex hypogeal system. This work also produced evidence that the human interventions occurring during the historical period have been a determining factor in increasing the hazard level and accelerating the preexisting morphological processes.


Natural hazard Human impact Landslide Pipe erosion Geophysics Southern Italy Basilicata 



We would like to thank the anonymous referees and Maia Laura Ibsen (Kingston University, London) for their useful comments and suggestions to improve the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Lazzari
    • 1
    Email author
  • E. Geraldi
    • 1
  • V. Lapenna
    • 2
  • A. Loperte
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Archaeological and Monumental Heritage, IBAM-CNRContrada S.Loja Tito Scalo, PotenzaItaly
  2. 2.Institute of Methodologies for Environmental Analysis, IMAA-CNRContrada S.Loja Tito Scalo, PotenzaItaly

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