This study is part of a long-term research program designed to identify and quantify acid rain damage to carbonate stone. Acidic deposition accelerates the dissolution of carbonate-stone monuments and building materials. Sequential sampling of runoff from carbonate-stone (marble) and glass (reference) microcatchments in the Adirondack Mountains in New York State provided a detailed record of the episodic fluctuations in rain rate and runoff chemistry during individual summer storms. Rain rate and chemical concentrations from carbonate-stone and glass runoff fluctuated three to tenfold during storms. Net calcium-ion concentrations from the carbonatestone runoff, a measure of stone dissolution, typically fluctuated twofold during these storms. High net sulfate and net calcium concentrations in the first effective runoff at the start of a storm indicated that atmospheric pollutants deposited on the stone surface during dry periods formed calcium sulfate minerals, an important process in carbonate stone dissolution. Dissolution of the carbonate stone generally increased up to twofold during coincident episodes of low rain rate (less than 5 millimeters per hour) and decreased rainfall (glass runoff) pH (less than 4.0); episodes of high rain rate (cloudbursts) were coincident with a rapid increase in rainfall pH and also a rapid decrease in the dissolution of carbonate-stone. During a storm, it seems the most important factors causing increased dissolution of carbonate stone are coincident periods of low rain rate and decreased rainfall pH. Dissolution of the carbonate stone decreased slightly as the rain rate exceeded about 5 millimeters per hour, probably in response to rapidly increasing rainfall pH during episodes of high rain rate and shorter contact time between the runoff and the stone surface. High runoff rates resulting from cloudbursts remove calcium sulfate minerals formed during dry periods prior to storms and also remove dissolution products formed in large measure by chemical weathering as a result of episodes of low rain rate and decreased rainfall pH during a storm.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Effects of acid deposition on dissolution of carbonate stone during summer storms in the Adirondack Mountains, New York, 1987-89