Statistical compilation of NAPAP chemical erosion observations

Open-File Report 98-755

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In the mid 1980s, the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program (NAPAP), in cooperation with the National Park Service (NPS) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), initiated a Materials Research Program (MRP) that included a series of field and laboratory studies with the broad objective of providing scientific information on acid rain effects on calcareous building stone. Among the several effects investigated, the chemical dissolution of limestone and marble by rainfall was given particular attention because of the pervasive appearance of erosion effects on cultural materials situated outdoors.

In order to track the chemical erosion of stone objects in the field and in the laboratory, the Ca 2+ ion concentration was monitored in the runoff solution from a variety of test objects located both outdoors and under more controlled conditions in the laboratory. This report provides a graphical and statistical overview of the Ca 2+ chemistry in the runoff solutions from (1) five urban and rural sites (DC, NY, NJ, NC, and OH) established by the MRP for materials studies over the period 1984 to 1989, (2) subevent study at the New York MRP site, (3) in situ study of limestone and marble monuments at Gettysburg, (4) laboratory experiments on calcite dissolution conducted by Baedecker, (5) laboratory simulations by Schmiermund, and (6) laboratory investigation of the surface reactivity of calcareous stone conducted by Fries and Mossotti.

The graphical representations provided a means for identifying erroneous data that can randomly appear in a database when field operations are semi-automated; a purged database suitable for the evaluation of quantitative models of stone erosion is appended to this report. An analysis of the sources of statistical variability in the data revealed that the rate of stone erosion is weakly dependent on the type of calcareous stone, the ambient temperature, and the H + concentration delivered in the incident rain. The analysis also showed that the rate of stone erosion is strongly dependent on the rain-delivery conditions and on the surface morphology and orientation.

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Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Statistical compilation of NAPAP chemical erosion observations
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Online version 1.0.
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Geology, Minerals, Energy and Geophysics Science Center
Report: 183 p.; Appendix: 19 p.; Zip File
United States