The Seismic Behaviour of Stone Masonry Greek Orthodox Churches

George C. Manos


The seismic behaviour of structural systems representing Greek Orthodox churches is examined. All these churches are made of stone masonry in various architectural forms. During the years such churches developed damage to their stone masonry structural elements due to the amplitude of the gravitational forces acting together with the seismic forces. In certain cases such damage was amplified due to the deformability of the foundation. The behaviour of structural systems representing Greek Orthodox churches was simulated through linear and non-linear numerical models. The numerical results together with assumed strength values or failure criteria were utilized to predict the behaviour of the various masonry parts in in-plane shear and flexure as well as out-of-plane flexure. The deformability of the foundation partly explains the appearance of structural damage as can be seen both from observations and the numerical predictions. A limit-state methodology is presented whereby the demands obtained from linear elastic numerical models combined with limit-state in-plane behaviour of unreinforced stone masonry walls in shear/flexure or diagonal tension can yield reasonably good predictions of observed behaviour. Furthermore, the possibilities offered by non-linear inelastic numerical analyses as alternative means for examining the performance of unreinforced stone masonry walls is also briefly presented. Towards this objective, non-linear inelastic numerical simulation results are presented that yield reasonably good agreement with the relevant measured behaviour of stone masonry wall specimens of prototype dimensions that were subjected to simultaneous vertical compression and horizontal cyclic seismic-type loading in the laboratory. The obtained results from these specimens were utilized to also validate an expert system based on this limit-state methodology. Again, the observed behaviour was predicted with reasonable accuracy in terms of bearing capacity and mode of failure by this expert system.


Greek Orthodox Churches; Stone masonry; In-plane behaviour; Gravitational forces; Seismic actions; Foundation deformability; Limit-state; Non-linear behaviour

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