Virtual Reality simulation of the effects of the Friuli earthquake (May 6th 1976) on the Venzone's Cathedral

The main goal of this project, partially supported by a grant of the "Associazione Sindaci della Ricostruzione del Friuli Terremotato" and the "Associazione Consiglieri della Regione Autonoma Friuli-Venezia Giulia", has been the application of advanced Virtual Reality techniques to reproduce the experience of the Friuli earthquake (May 6th 1976) in a short movie titled "6 Maggio 1976". High fidelity in the 3D modeling of the environment, scientific accuracy in the simulation of damage, realism and strong emotional impact have been the main requirements for this project.

To maximize the realism of the simulation, the virtual model of the cathedral has been reproduced almost "stone by stone" to resemble as closely as possible the real building. Starting from earthquake data recorded by accelerometer sensors in 1976, soil movements have been applied to the virtual model and software tools for physical/cinematic simulation have been employed to realistically reproduce the building’s collapse. Additional details, such as dust and fragments, further enrich the graphic simulation.

To enhance the emotional impact of the earthquake simulation, the collapse sounds as well as the earthquake sound, which is characterized by the presence of a strong infrasonic component, have been included in the simulation. A dedicated room equipped with an immersive audio diffusion system has beeen set-up in the Museum of Venzone (Palazzo Orgnani Martina) to make the experience accessible to the public.

Note: the infrasonic component is not available in the web version of the video, since special equipment is needed to reproduce it.


For further information, please contact the director of the HCI Lab.


Technical analysis of the structure collapse

Accurate 3D modeling of the cathedral

Numerical analysis of the earthquake recorded data

Scientific accuracy in the simulation of damage and collapse

Simulation of dust and fragments

Collapse and earthquake sounds reproduction