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Title: Efficacy of laser cleaning in the removal of biological patina on the volcanic scoria of the rock‑hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia
Authors: Gemeda, Blen
Lahoz, Ruth
Caldeira, A Teresa
Schiavon, Nick
Keywords: Biodeterioration
Laser cleaning
Volcanic scoria
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Springer
Citation: Gemeda B T, Lahoz R, Caldeira A T and Schiavon N (2017). Efficacy of laser cleaning in the removal of biological patina on volcanic scoria of the rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia. Environmental Earth Sciences. DOI 10.1007/s12665-017-7223-3
Abstract: The Lalibela rock-hewn churches are one of the most important religious pilgrimage sites in Ethiopia. These churches are carved from the scoriaceous basalt rock substrate, which has been exposed to attack by biological agents with significant loss of surface material. Particularly, the widespread growth of lichens and other microorganisms on the carved surfaces of the churches has proven to represent a substantial threat for the preservation of the site. In this study, laboratory tests have been conducted to assess the feasibility of using laser technology as an efficient cleaning method of biological patina from polymineralic stone substrates. Multi-analytical techniques were applied for the characterization of the stone samples collected from two of the Lalibela churches: Bete Giyorgis and Bete Amanuel. Stone samples artificially inoculated with bacteria, yeast, fungi isolates, and lichen-encrusted samples were laser cleaned using UV and IR laser wavelengths. The high content of Fe and Ti oxides and the high porosity have made the stone surfaces easily susceptible to low-energy laser treatment. Results indicate that laser cleaning can be applied to polymineralic lithotypes and UV irradiation can successfully remove lichen colonies. Further studies need to be conducted to optimize the laser procedure in polymineralic, high porosity stones.
Type: article
Appears in Collections:HERCULES - Publicações - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais Com Arbitragem Científica

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