MAJOR RISKS AFFECTING THE SITE

Two major risks affecting the site of Nea Pafos are land and structure stability (mainly caused by the seismic activity of the area) and erosion. Some details of degradation shown in Figure 11.

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Figure 11 Examples of degradation of the structures present in the area of Nea Pafos, mainly caused by the seismic activities and erosion (source: Dr K. Themistocleous, CUT team).

Land and structure stability

Land movements can be caused by geological factors, geomorphological factors (in case of Cyprus the soil erosion), physical factors (such as topography, hydrogeological factors, tectonic activity etc.) and factors associated with human activity.

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Figure 12 Seismicity of Cyprus over the past century – period

(source: official website of the Department of Geology of Republic of Cyprus).

Some of the factors could be intense rainfall and/or snowfall, seismic activity, soil erosion, deforestation and pollution [8]. This tendency, in particular in Pafos district, is intensified by the long history of powerful seismic activity in the region (Figure 12).   Land stability and consequently structure stability of the ancient residues of the side can be seen as a result of land movement mainly caused by the intense seismic activity of the area.

Erosion

In 2015 Pangos et al. [9], estimated the overall soil loss in the European Union in tonnes per hectare per year, Fig. 13. Some first findings show that the mean soil loss rate in the European Union’s erosion-prone lands (agricultural, forests and semi-natural areas) was found to be 2.46 t ha-1 yr-1 for the reference year 2010, resulting in a total soil loss of 970 Mt annually. The highest annual soil loss rates have been observed in Mediterranean countries – the estimated soil loss for eight Mediterranean countries of European Union (including Cyprus) accounts for 67% of the total soil loss of all 28 Member States. A high soil loss rate in this area is also probably caused by the highest rainfall erosivity in Europe. For Cyprus the overall mean accounts for 2.89 t ha_1 yr_1 resulting in 0.25%  of the total soil loss in EU.

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Figure 13 Soil loss in the European Union (after Panagos et al., 2015, image source JRC website)

Rock erosion is extensively observed on the monuments of the archaeological site of Nea Pafos mainly caused by long-term weathering procedures, activating a series of deterioration mechanisms. To this direction contribute parameters such as the vulnerability of the material (porous soft calcarenite), the proximity to the sea, rising moisture, salinity, etc. Erosion of stone structures causes destabilisation where exposure to coastal wind-blown salts and sands had accelerated deterioration.