Rock varnish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Firstly, a hypothesis of rock varnish formation by certain bacteria is discussed, resulting over thousands of years in a thin coating of clay, cemented to rocks by Mn and Fe. The interpretation of landscape development is examined by describing dating techniques such as radiocarbon dating; dust fallout by energy-dispersive X-ray analysis of the three-dimensional structure of the varnish; geochemical signals such as heavy metal pollutants; and differentiation of C3 and C4 plants and hence climatic humidity by microscopic analysis of organic debris. The example of an alluvial fan in Death Valley, Arizona, over the last 50 000 yr is used to demonstrate palaeoenvironmental reconstruction, and hence the stages in its development. The article is concluded by applications in archaeology for dating of rock engravings. -J.W.Cooper

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)542-553
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Scientist
Volume79
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1991

Fingerprint

Varnish
Paint
Radiometric Dating
Engraving and Engravings
Archaeology
rocks
Rocks
Death Valley
Heavy Metals
Humidity
Dust
Geochronology
energy-dispersive X-ray analysis
Fallout
radiocarbon dating
Energy dispersive X ray analysis
C4 plants
C3 plants
X-Rays
Bacteria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Dorn, R. (1991). Rock varnish. American Scientist, 79(6), 542-553.

Rock varnish. / Dorn, Ronald.

In: American Scientist, Vol. 79, No. 6, 1991, p. 542-553.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Dorn, R 1991, 'Rock varnish', American Scientist, vol. 79, no. 6, pp. 542-553.
Dorn R. Rock varnish. American Scientist. 1991;79(6):542-553.
Dorn, Ronald. / Rock varnish. In: American Scientist. 1991 ; Vol. 79, No. 6. pp. 542-553.
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