General view of the Column of Marcus Aurelius from the east.
Due to the underlying geology of Rome, the Column of Marcus Aurelius is much more exposed to damage from earthquakes than the Column of Trajan. Rather than resting on a limestone shelf like its predecessor it is built on the less firm fluvial deposits of the Campus Martius. The effect of earthquake damage can be seen in several places on the shaft of the column, in particular in one location where one of the drums has shifted by nearly 10 cm. In terms of overall composition, the spiral on the Column of Marcus Aurelius does not vary in height as it winds up the shaft, unlike the spiral on the Column of Trajan which changes height continually.