The INGV remembers Mercalli a hundred years after his death
A communication campaign based on initiatives aimed at understanding, from a scientific point of view, the implications of living in a country like Italy exposed for most of its territory to seismic and volcanic risks. The starting point is the celebration of centennial anniversary of Giuseppe Mercalli, the scientist known worldwide for having linked his name to the macroseismic Intensity 'scale' classifying earthquakes through their effects.
The year-long event, sponsored by the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), initiated on Wednesday, March 19th 2014, at the Convitto Vittorio Emanuele II in Naples and it will end in Milan, the birthplace of Giuseppe Mercalli, during Expo 2015. Then, the event will be hosted in Rome, Catania, Aeolian Islands, Genoa and Turin.
During the opening celebrations for the “Anno Mercalliano”, the President of the INGV, Stefano Gresta declared that “Worldwide the name of Mercalli immediately evokes the measurement of earthquake effects“. Additionally, he stated that “We know very well that the only effective way to defend ourselves from these events is prevention which means to construct buildings that withstand seismic forces, to improve the knowledge about earthquakes and, last but not least, to promote appropriate and effective information to the population. These are key points for a real reduction of the seismic risk".
The event “I luoghi di Mercalli” took place in Naples at the “Convitto Nazionale”, “Liceo Vittorio Emanuele II” and “Conservatorio San Pietro” inMaiella. In the hall of the “Liceo Vittorio Emanuele II”, a commemorative inscription was unveiled reading “In memory of the teacher Mercalli, who taught here before assuming the role of Director of the Osservatorio Vesuviano (OV)”.
Prior to a number of commemorative presentations, the Director of the INGV-OV, Giuseppe de Natale, depicted the figure of Mercalli as a "Brilliant scientist and educator, with wide cultural interests, and a strong interest in Volcanology. Consequently, he moved to the South of Italy, land of volcanoes, and settled in Naples. He was the first to realize that volcanic structures formed by subsequent sedimentation of eruptive products and not by uplifting like other people thought”. But, above all, the Director of the INGV-OV stated that "he always had a clear fundamental goal: the study of extreme natural phenomena in order to protect the population at risk. In this sense, he played a pioneering role in the development of the modern concept of Civil Protection".
The day was concluded by the visit of the Museum of Physics and Natural Sciences of the “Liceo Vittorio Emanuele II” where the ”Exhibition on the biography of Mercalli and his figure as a scientist” was held, showing panels, documents, photos, original handwritten notes, old instruments and tools ascribed to Mercalli. A concert at the “Conservatorio di San Pietro a Maiella” was performed to close the event.
A number of public authorities attended the event, including the Mayor of Naples, Luigi de Magistris, and the President of the Campania Province, Antonio Pentangelo.