Tunnels under Rome that date back to ancient times may be interesting historical features but geologists are rushing to map them out because they may cause modern-day structures to collapse, almost like sinkholes, NBC News reported on Dec. 2.
Already, dozens of collapses have been reported because of the tunnels under Rome, including streets or portions of buildings. There were 44 collapses reported in 2011 because of the tunnels under Rome, and that number jumped to 77 in 2012 and then to 83 so far this year.
Residents have actually tried to shore up the tunnels under Rome on their own, some simply using plastic bags filled with cement. Now authorities want a more formal plan in place to prevent the tunnels under Rome from sucking more buildings into the vast voids.
Although the ancient Romans kept the tunnels under Rome narrow for their use as passageways, over time, the forces of nature and additional expansion of the tunnels made them less stable, Fox News reported. The tunnels under Rome have been used for everything from mushroom farming to bomb shelters. Catacombs under Rome are large underground burial grounds.
Now geologists are using modern technology, including laser 3D scanning, to check for weaknesses and cracks in the tunnels under Rome. Unstable areas of tunnels will be filled with mortar, the Inquisitr reported. Some of the geologists working on the tunnels under Rome are from George Mason University in Virginia, it said.