Henry Sun, associate research professor at Desert Research Institute, will speak at an upcoming Science Café Las Vegas. His talk is titled, "Marble decay at the Forbidden City Mausoleum: Why the chemists may have got it wrong."
Marbles are comprised of carbonate minerals, which are soluble in acid. Thus, in a city that frequently experiences acid rain, its outdoor marble surfaces will undoubtedly be damaged. This café will show that the converse is not necessarily true, i.e. not all rapid marble dissolution is caused by acid rain, including in smog-choked cities like Beijing. This is because exposed marbles are often colonized by microscopic, photosynthetic cyanobacteria that grow below the translucent stone surfaces. These organisms do not secrete acid. They consume carbonate minerals as a source of inorganic carbon. Colonized stones are, in essence, being eaten from the inside out
Come join others for a lively science discussion, delicious food, and fun. Come at 6:30 p.m. to order your food and mingle. Those under 21 are welcome.