Venice Italy
1091 of 1114

Venice, Italy

January 16, 2006
This is a Landsat thematic mapper image of Venice, Italy, and its marshy lagoon in 2003.

The buildings of Venice are constructed on closely spaced wooden poles which penetrate alternating layers of clay and sand. The lack of oxygen in the clay layers preserved these pilings for centuries, allowing buildings of brick or stone sitting above these footings to remain intact. The buildings are often threatened by flood tides pushing in from the Adriatic between autumn and early spring.

The sink of Venice started in the twenties, when a wealth of artesian wells were dug into the periphery of the lagoon to draw water for the local industry. Although the sinking process has slowed markedly since artesian wells were banned in the sixties, the city is still threatened by more frequent low-level floods (so-called acqua alta, "high water") that regularly follow the autumn and spring tides.

To tackle the issue, in May 2003 the "Moses" project was inaugurated. Moses is the name given to a device made of a series of 79 inflatable pontoons lying across the sea bed at the three main entrances to the lagoon. When tides are predicted to rise above 110 centimeters, the pontoons are filled with air and block the incoming water from the Adriatic Sea. This challenging engineering work is planned to be completed by 2011.

Technical Information:
  • Satellite: Landsat
  • Instrument: Thematic Mapper
  • Acquisition: 21-Feb-2003
  • Center coordinates: lat. 45.43, lon. 12.33

comments powered by Disqus