Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Heritage site under attack by flowers

Date:
January 1, 2012
Source:
CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique)
Summary:
The Belgrade fortress is not only threatened by the effects of coal burning, as was assumed until now, but also by flower beds. The deterioration of the fortress walls could be partially caused by the large quantities of potassium present in fertilizers used by gardeners and could be responsible for the formation of black crusts on the ramparts.

North and South gates of the Belgrade fortress.
Credit: © V. Matovic

The results of a study conducted by Serbian researchers, in collaboration with the Laboratoire de Dynamique, Interactions et Réactivité (LADIR, CNRS/UPMC), are unequivocal: the Belgrade fortress is not only threatened by the effects of coal burning, as was assumed until now, but also by flower beds! The deterioration of the fortress walls could be partially caused by the large quantities of potassium present in fertilizers used by gardeners and could be responsible for the formation of black crusts on the ramparts. To preserve this heritage, the researchers recommend avoiding excessive use of fertilizers.

Related Articles


Their conclusions are due to be published in the first quarter of 2012 in the Journal of Cultural Heritage and could prove to be of value to other historical sites across the world.

In Belgrade, fortifications were built from the Middle Ages on the Kalemegdan plateau, which stands above the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers. Today, the ramparts of the fortress of the Serbian capital have become a vast public park with flowers and shady areas, near the town centre, attracting inhabitants and tourists alike. However, during the last twenty years or so, black crusts have been spreading on its limestone walls. Until now, these crusts were solely attributed to the high levels of sulfur dioxide released by the coal heating used by the inhabitants of Belgrade.

In collaboration with Philippe Colomban, CNRS researcher at LADIR, the University of Belgrade and the Serbian Highway Institute analyzed the black crusts on the "King's Gate" of the fortress. Their objective was to determine the actual deterioration process in order to propose the most appropriate conservation solutions to the authorities. Different samples of the limestone and lime mortars were studied by porometry*, X-ray diffractometry, infrared and Raman spectroscopy, electron microscopy and elementary analysis.

Above a certain concentration of sulfur dioxide in damp air, acid rain or acid fog can form. This leads to the emergence of "black" calcium sulfates and carbonates, giving the outer walls a somewhat unsightly appearance. Surprisingly enough, the researchers detected large amounts of syngenite, a double sulfate of potassium and calcium. This corrosion product normally forms on potassium-containing medieval stained-glass windows, as well as granite constructions or those using a mortar containing potassium. Yet it had never been observed on very pure limestone before.

So where does it come from? After performing a series of analyses, the researchers revealed an abnormal concentration of potassium in the soil, near the rampart walls. Incidently, the latter contain flowerbeds where potassium-rich fertilizers are used. A simulation of the action of acidified potassium-charged water on pieces of limestone confirmed that it triggered the formation of syngenite, as observed on the "King's Gate."

Pretty flowers and monument preservation therefore require a subtle balance in potassium input in order to avoid such pollution. On-site measurements are scheduled to map the extent of the phenomenon.

* Study of the distribution of voids in a porous material.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Vesna Matović, Suzana Erić, Aleksandar Kremenović, Philippe Colomban, Danica Srećković-Batoćanin, Nenad Matović. The origin of syngenite in black crusts on the limestone monument King's Gate (Belgrade Fortress, Serbia) – the role of agriculture fertiliser. Journal of Cultural Heritage, 2011; DOI: 10.1016/j.culher.2011.09.003

Cite This Page:

CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique). "Heritage site under attack by flowers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111222102915.htm>.
CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique). (2012, January 1). Heritage site under attack by flowers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111222102915.htm
CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique). "Heritage site under attack by flowers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111222102915.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) — A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins