Scientists to measure movement at Acropolis

For thousands of years the Acropolis has withstood earthquakes, storms and temperature extremes, from scorching summers to winter snow.

Now scientists are drawing on technology to install a system that will record just how much nature is affecting the 2,500-year-old site.

They hope findings will help identify vulnerable areas, to target restoration and maintenance.

“The greatest danger for our monuments at the moment is earthquakes,” Dimitrios Egglezos, chief civil engineer in charge of the Acropolis' defensive circuit wall, told The Associated Press.

So understanding how structures react is key.

Egglezos said six accelerographs will be installed starting next week at the Acropolis: at the base of the hill, part of the way up where the geology changes, and on the Parthenon, the Acropolis' most famous monument, built between 447 and 432 B.C. to honor the goddess Athena.

Fiber optics are installed on parts of the wall to measure subtle changes caused by changing weather conditions or earthquakes.

The first accelerograph was placed on the hill about two years ago as a pilot program. Another two were installed in late September on the Parthenon, one at its base and one on the top of the columns on the architrave, as part of a study by Japan's Mie University and the National Technical University of Athens.

Greece is one of the most seismically active countries in the world, and while most of its earthquakes are relatively small and cause little or no damage, some have been fatal. In June, a 6.5 magnitude quake in western Greece killed two people and injured more than 200, while a 5.9 magnitude quake near Athens in 1999 killed 143 people.

Neither seriously damaged the Acropolis.