Gravestones Give Clues to Trends in Pollution and Climate Change (Video)
Gravestones are keys to our past, with the engravings telling us all sorts of stories about the people and situations of our histories. But there's now a new use for them. They also can help us reveal our climate history. Citizen scientists are sending in measurements of marble gravestones from around the world so researchers can study their erosion for clues to trends in climate conditions. Gizmag reports that the study, called EarthTrek Gravestone Project, is developed and managed by the Geological Society of America's (GSA) Education and Outreach group, and by gathering information from citizen scientists, it hopes to produce a global map of atmospheric changes.
Acid rain contributes to eroding marble, and the levels of acidity in rain also tells scientists about climate and pollution levels which can be mapped and used to track changes over time worldwide. Volunteers are asked to send in the GPS location of graveyards and the erosion levels - measured by a micrometer purchased by the volunteer - on specifically marble gravestones.
Citizen scientists can focus on the lead lettering of the gravestone, which doesn't erode at the same rate as marble, or by the thickness of the gravestone.
You can also check out the latest Google map of logged graveyards.
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