Journal cover Journal topic
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/nhess-2016-397
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
04 Jan 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).
Multidisciplinary Approach to Rainfall-Triggered Rockfalls: the Case Study of the Disaster of the Ancient Hydrothermal Sclafani Spa (Madonie Mts., Northern-Central Sicily, Italy) in 1851
Antonio Contino1,2, Patrizia Bova2, Giuseppe Esposito1,2, Ignazio Giuffré2, and Salvatore Monteleone1 1Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra e del Mare (Di STeM), University of Palermo, Via Archirafi 20/22, 90123 Palermo, Italy
2Accademia Mediterranea Euracea di Scienze, Lettere e Arti (AMESLA), Via Gregorio Ugdulena 62, 90018 Termini Imerese (Palermo), Italy
Abstract. In 1851, the region of Sicily experienced many rainstorm-induced landslides. On 13 March 1851, a rainstorm brought about a severe rockfall disaster near the small town of Sclafani (Madonie Mountains, northern-central Sicily, Italy). Rocks detached from the carbonate crest of Mt. Sclafani (813 m above sea level) fell downslope, causing the collapse of the ancient hydrothermal spa (about 430 m above sea level) and burying it under their fragments. Fortunately, the event did not cause injuries or victims. Given its geological, geomorphological and structural features, the calcareous-dolomitic and carbonate-siliciclastic relief of Mt. Sclafani is extremely prone to landsliding.

This study combines the findings from detailed geological and geomorphological field surveys and from a critical review of documentary data. A thorough analysis of documentary sources and historical maps made it possible to identify the location (previously unknown) of the ancient spa. The rockfall dynamics was traced back by comparing field reconnaissance data and documentary sources. The reconstruction of the 1851 event can help gain greater insight into the rockfall susceptibility of Mt. Sclafani, improve future land-use planning, safeguard thermal springs, and reduce the occurrence of similar disasters in this area.


Citation: Contino, A., Bova, P., Esposito, G., Giuffré, I., and Monteleone, S.: Multidisciplinary Approach to Rainfall-Triggered Rockfalls: the Case Study of the Disaster of the Ancient Hydrothermal Sclafani Spa (Madonie Mts., Northern-Central Sicily, Italy) in 1851, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/nhess-2016-397, in review, 2017.
Antonio Contino et al.
Antonio Contino et al.
Antonio Contino et al.

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