ANTONIO MARUSSI

Antonio Marussi was born in Trieste in 1908 and passed away there in 1984. He was a famous Geodesist and Geophysicist , and received ample national and international recognitions. He  graduated in Mathematics at the University of  Bologna in 1932. He started his scientific activity at the Geophysical Institute of Trieste (it became later Istituto Talassografico, now conglobated in' Osservatorio Geofisico Sperimentale), then he went to the Istituto Geografico Militare of Firenze as Geography Engineer. From 1952 he held the position of Ordinary Professor of Geodesy at the University of Trieste, Faculty of Science, where he has founded the Institute of Geodesy and Geophysics (then with the Institute of Mineralogy and Petrography it became the Department of Earth Sciences), to mention some of his prestigious positions, he was the President of the International Association of Geodesy from 1967 until 1971 and later became it's Honorary President, President of the Italian Geodetic Commission, member of the Royal Astronomical Society of London,  and Fellow of the Accademia dei Lincei.




First of all the works of Antonio Marussi on Differential Geodesy and Intrinsic Geodesy are of primary scientific value, in which he has developed a modern theory based on the tensorial calculus of Ricci-Levi Civita. He frees the gravity potential terrestrial field from the bounds of two-dimensionality and from the terrestrial surface, to which in the past it was tied due to historical reasons and practical necessity. Beyond the elegance of the theoretical formulation, with the development of the spatial enterprises, this theory proved to be a useful practical application in the study of the structure of the gravitational field by means of satellites and in the problems of inertial navigation. From 1954, every five years there were International Symposiums held, promoted by Marussi, under the patronage of the International Association of Geodesy like Hotine Simposia on Mathematical Geodesy, in memory of the famous English Geodesist Martine Hotine, to discuss the theoretical problems of 3-D Geodesy and the evolution of knowledge, research and technology. After the death of Marussi these meetings are named Hotine-Marussi Symposia on Mathematical Geodesy. The research of Marussi is of great importance also in the field of conform and affine representations, where he was able to apply the proper mathematical methodology of differential geometry with success. Furthermore he promoted the realization of a tree-dimensional geodetic network. In the field of Cartography he was very active acting inside the Italian Geodetic Commission and at the competent national institutions, for the realization of the Regional Technical maps, and especially for the Friuli Venezia Giulia one's. These maps had a more accurate geometric description then the usual topographic maps, and provided the environmental type of information necessary for a modern management of the territory. Marussi was also ingenious in the realization of exceptional geophysical instrumentations, where he was able to apply with an extraordinary intuition and ability the laws of geometry and mechanics. The large Marussi horizontal pendulums, installed in the Grotta Gigante in 1959, and the tiltmeters of high sensitivity, which have been operating for many years in Friuli (presently Villanova, Grotta Gigante and Genziana stations are operative) constitute a valid testimony, being entirely invented and projected by him. The pendulums of Grotta Gigante, thank's to their high sensitivity and stability, permit an optimal registration of a large band of frequencies, unusual in other similar instrumentations, that covers tectonic deformations, the terrestrial tide, seismic waves and free oscillations of the Earth caused by violent earthquakes. These instruments in 1960 provided a unique registration at that time of the free torsional oscillations of the earth caused by the greatest earthquake even recorded, the Chile 1960 event. Other similar events were registered equally ( for example the earthquake of Sumatra in 2004), offering a unique opportunity for the comparison between free oscillations generated by different sources and registered by the same instrumentation. Other exceptional phenomena, unique in the world due intensity and duration, recorded by this instrumentation, are the silent earthquakes, caused by slow sliding of a fault, premonitions of the 1976, M=6.4 Friuli earthquake. He loved the more inaccessible and impervious nature, was an able alpinist and rock-climber, was curious to perceive the mysteries covering the genesis of structural and orogenetic phenomena on continental scale. Marussi took part in various geophysical expeditions in Central Asia and to the Alpine- Himalayan mountain range organizing them often personally. His first participation goes back to 1954, to the expedition organized by Ardito Desio giving, besides the scientific results, the prestige to Italy for the conquest of the K2 peak in the Karakorum. The various successive expeditions in the Pamir-Karakorum-Himalaya system, where only his eagerness was able to face the plentiful national and international bureaucratic and economic difficulties and to promote scientific collaboration among countries politically in antithesis, provided him geophysical, gravimetrical and seismic evidences to outline the deep structure of the Alpine-Himalayan mountain range.


An uphill path to the K2 on the Abruzzi spur and the route of  haulage with the  hand winch (Desio, 1954)


Wheat fields at the height of 3000 m in the valley of Braldo (Desio, 1954)

Lastly one can recall that he was an acute and attentive observer of the natural environment and  of his beloved Karstic Plateau. He dedicated a notable part of his scientific speculation to it, formulating for example, with a rare capacity of intuition concerning the synthesis of geophysical and geomorphological evidences, a valid innovative theory on the hydrogeological phenomena connected with the Karst phenomenon.

An ample bibliography documents the various chapters of the vast scientific interests and the geniality of a scientist of high worth as Antonio Marussi was.

The figures referred to Desio are taken from: Desio, A. (1954) The conquest of K2, Garzanti.

 

Extract of the bibliography of Antonio Marussi

Marussi A.: Saggio del geoide nel Mediterraneo centrale e nella zona  alpina. Boll. Geod.. anno IV, n. 5, 1944.
 
Marussi A.: Un nuovo metodo per la compensazione astronomico– geodetica delle grandi triangolazioni. Boll.  Geod. Dell’I.G.M., anno XXVIII, n. 4, 1948.
 
Marussi A.: Fondements de géométrie différentielle absolue du champ  potentiel terrestre. Bulletin géodésique, n. 14, 1949.
 
Marussi A.: Su alcune proprietà integrali delle rappresentazioni conformi di superfici su superfici. Rend. Acc. Naz. Lincei, Cl. Sc. Fis. Mat. Nat., Serie VIII, vol. X, fasc. 4, 1951.
 
Marussi A.: Sulla rappresentazione del geoide sull’ellissoide. Boll. di Geodesia e Sc. Affini dell’I.G.M., Anno X, n. 3, 1951.
 
Marussi A.: Gravimetric and magnetometric surveys performed by the Italian Karakorum Expedition 1954-55. Bull. Géodésique, Année 1956, n° 41, 1956.
 
Marussi A.: La gravità nel Karakorum nel Turkestan Cinese e nel Pamir. Geofisica e Meteorologia, vol. V, n. 3-4, 1957.
 
Marussi A.: Les résultats des recherches géophysiques de la Expédition Italienne au Karakorum en 1954-55. Ciel et Terre, anno LXXV, n° 7/8, 1959.
 
Marussi A.: I primi risultati ottenuti nella stazione per lo studio delle maree della verticale della Grotta Gigante. Boll. di Geodesia e Sc. Affini, anno XIX, n° 4, 1960.
 
Desio A., & Marussi A.: On the geotectonics of the granites in the Karakorum and Hindu Kush Ranges (Central Asia). Int. Geological Congress, Copenhagen, 1960.
 
Bolt B. A. & Marussi A.: Eigenvibration of the Earth observed at Trieste. Geophysical Journal, vol. 6, n° 3, 1962.
 
Marussi A.: Le anomalie della gravità lungo la catena del Karakorum-Hindu Kush. Rendiconti Acc. Naz. Lincei, Cl. Sc. Fis., Mat. Nat., serie VIII; vol. XXXV, fasc. 5, 1963.
 
Marussi A.: Einige Bemerkungen über die Anwendung der konformen Abbildungen in der dreidimensionalen Geodäsie. Festschrift “GROSSMANN”. 5.1.1967.- Konrad Wittwer. Stuttgart.
 
Zadro Bozzi M., Marussi A.: Polarization and total Energy Spectra of the Eigenvibrations of the Earth Recorded at Trieste. Geophysical Journal of the Royal Astron. Soc., n.12, aprile 1967.
 
Marussi A.: Un nuovo esperimento per la determinazione della costante universale della gravitazione. Memorie della Soc. Astron. Ital., vol. XLIII, fasc.4, 1972.
 
Marussi A.: on the Representation of the Actual Gravity Field of the Earth on the Normal Ellipsoidal Field. Geophys. J. R. astr. Soc., vol. 37, n. 3, 1974.
 
Marussi A.: Geodetic networks in space. The Canadian Surveyor, vol. 28, No. 5, Dec. 1974.
 
Marussi A.: The Tidal field of a planet and the related intrinsic reference systems. Geophysical J. R. astron. Soc., vol. 56, 409-417, 1979.
 
Marussi A.: Differential parameters in the normal gravity field. Acc. Naz. Lincei – Rendiconti. Serie VIII, Vol. LXIX, fasc. 6, Dic. 1980.
 
Marussi A.: Geophysical trends and evolution of the Pamirs syntaxis and Karakorum. Boll. di Geof. Teor. ed Appl., Vol. XXV, Nr. 99-100, 1983.
 
Marussi A.: Microgravitation in space. Geophysical Journal of the R.A.S., Vol. 76, Nr. 3, 1984.
 
Marussi A.: Intrinsic geodesy, Berlin and New York, Springer-Verlag, 1985, 235 p..