Luigi Palmieri: first scientific bases for geophysical surveillance in Mt. Vesuvius area

S. Borgstrom, M. De Lucia, R. Nave


Luigi Palmieri (Faicchio 1807 -Naples 1896), was appointed Director of the Vesuvius Observatory in 1855. He rea1ized the first model of electromagnetic seismograph and the uninterrupted use at the Observatory of this instrument represented the first step towards a geophysical sensu strictu surveillance of Mt. Vesuvius area. Already at the end of the 18th century, Ascanio Filomarino had built a mechanical seismograph which was ab1e to record the amplitude of the seismic waves, the incoming direction of the earthquake and its starting time. In 1862 Michele Baldacchini proposed to the Neapolitan scientific community a question about the possibility to use the study of precursory signs of the Vesuvian eruptions to inform in advance people living near the vo1cano. Palmieri answered Baldacchini's request, giving proof of extreme far-sightedness from the scientific point of view but, similarly, much concreteness from the practica1 point of view: he described, with modern ideas, the things to do in order to carry out the surveillance in the Mt. Vesuvius area, but concluded thus: "Till we have not the
(economic and instrumental) means we have spoken above, I think it is useless to entertain the Academy about the nature and the method of the observations and investigations to be performed".


Vesuvius Observatory;electromagnetic seismograph;mechanical seismograph;surveillance

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X