A multianalytical approach combining Optical Microscopy (OM), Backscattered Variable Pressure Scanning Electron Microscopy + Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (VP-BSEM + EDS), Powder X-ray Diffractometry (PXRD), Raman Spectroscopy, and Microbiological techniques has been applied to characterize decay products and processes occurring at the surface of two rock-hewn churches (Bete Gyorgis and Bete Amanuel) at the UNESCO's World Heritage site of Lalibela, Northern Ethiopia. The two churches were carved into volcanic scoria deposits of basaltic composition. In their geological history, the Lalibela volcanic rocks underwent late to post-magmatic hydrothermal alteration together with partial laterization and are therefore characterized by a decay-prone highly vesicular microtexture with late stage to post-magmatic precipitation of secondary mineral phases (calcite-zeolite-smectite). The main objective of the study was to gain a better insight into the weathering products and mechanisms affecting the surface of the stone monuments and to assess the relative contribution of natural "geological" weathering processes versus biological/salt attack in stone decay at this unique heritage site. Results indicate that while the main cause of bulk rock deterioration and structural failure could be related to the stone inherited "geological" features, biological attack by micro- (bacteria) and/or macro- (lichens) organisms is currently responsible for severe stone surface physical and chemical weathering leading to significant weakening of the stone texture and to material loss at the surface of the churches walls. A prompt and careful removal of the biological patinas with the correct biocidal treatment is therefore recommended.

A multianalytical approach to investigate stone biodeterioration at a UNESCO world heritage site: the volcanic rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, Northern Ethiopia / Nick, Schiavon; T., De Caro; Alemayehu, Kiros; Isabella Erica, Parisi; Cristina, Riccucci; Gigante, Giovanni Ettore. - In: APPLIED PHYSICS. A, MATERIALS SCIENCE & PROCESSING. - ISSN 0947-8396. - STAMPA. - 113:4(2013), pp. 843-854. [10.1007/s00339-013-7757-5]

A multianalytical approach to investigate stone biodeterioration at a UNESCO world heritage site: the volcanic rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, Northern Ethiopia

GIGANTE, Giovanni Ettore
2013

Abstract

A multianalytical approach combining Optical Microscopy (OM), Backscattered Variable Pressure Scanning Electron Microscopy + Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (VP-BSEM + EDS), Powder X-ray Diffractometry (PXRD), Raman Spectroscopy, and Microbiological techniques has been applied to characterize decay products and processes occurring at the surface of two rock-hewn churches (Bete Gyorgis and Bete Amanuel) at the UNESCO's World Heritage site of Lalibela, Northern Ethiopia. The two churches were carved into volcanic scoria deposits of basaltic composition. In their geological history, the Lalibela volcanic rocks underwent late to post-magmatic hydrothermal alteration together with partial laterization and are therefore characterized by a decay-prone highly vesicular microtexture with late stage to post-magmatic precipitation of secondary mineral phases (calcite-zeolite-smectite). The main objective of the study was to gain a better insight into the weathering products and mechanisms affecting the surface of the stone monuments and to assess the relative contribution of natural "geological" weathering processes versus biological/salt attack in stone decay at this unique heritage site. Results indicate that while the main cause of bulk rock deterioration and structural failure could be related to the stone inherited "geological" features, biological attack by micro- (bacteria) and/or macro- (lichens) organisms is currently responsible for severe stone surface physical and chemical weathering leading to significant weakening of the stone texture and to material loss at the surface of the churches walls. A prompt and careful removal of the biological patinas with the correct biocidal treatment is therefore recommended.
lalibela; pxrd; multianalytical; stone; raman spectroscopy
01 Pubblicazione su rivista::01a Articolo in rivista
A multianalytical approach to investigate stone biodeterioration at a UNESCO world heritage site: the volcanic rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, Northern Ethiopia / Nick, Schiavon; T., De Caro; Alemayehu, Kiros; Isabella Erica, Parisi; Cristina, Riccucci; Gigante, Giovanni Ettore. - In: APPLIED PHYSICS. A, MATERIALS SCIENCE & PROCESSING. - ISSN 0947-8396. - STAMPA. - 113:4(2013), pp. 843-854. [10.1007/s00339-013-7757-5]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/533046
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