Rock art could deteriorate faster due to climate change

Etxebeste Aduriz, Egoitz

Elhuyar Zientzia

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A study in some Indonesian rock paintings concludes that these paintings may deteriorate more rapidly due to climate change.

Paintings made with red and purple pigments in the caves and shelters of Maros-Pagnkep are between 20,000 and 45,000 years old. Among them are the oldest figures of the hands. There are indications that the paintings are deteriorating and getting faster in recent decades, but it was not clear why.

Now, prisons that have begun to rise on the rock surface in paint zones have been analyzed, and salts of calcium sulfate and sodium chloride have been found. These salts produce crystals that break the rock.

The researchers have explained that temperature and humidity changes between periods of rain and drought are very appropriate for the formation of salt crystals, which are increasing due to climate change. The work has been published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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