Welcome to the new version of CaltechAUTHORS. Login is currently restricted to library staff. If you notice any issues, please email coda@library.caltech.edu
Published May 1994 | metadata_only
Journal Article

Airborne Pollutants in the Buddhist Cave Temples at the Yungang Grottoes, China


The Buddhist cave temples at the Yungang Grottoes, China, experience rapid soiling due to the deposition of airborne particles. Contributing sources include coal mining and combustion, fugitive road dust, and regional dust storms. Both particle and gas-phase air pollutants are characterized at that site. Annual average coarse (diameter, d_p > 2.1 µm) particle concentrations outdoors average 378 µg/m^3, increasing to more than 1200 µg/m^3 during peak 24-h periods. These coarse airborne particles include crustal dust (e.g., soil dust; over 80% of coarse mass) and carbon-containing particles (10 % ). Fine airborne particle concentrations (d_p ≤ 2.1 µm) outdoors average 130 µg/m^3 and consist mainly of carbon-containing particles (45.5%) and crustal dust (24%). Airborne particle concentrations inside cave 6 average approximately 60% of those outdoors. SO_2 is the principal gas phase air pollutant averaging 31 ppb outdoors and 19 ppb inside cave 6 over the year studied. Other pollutant gases are present at lower average concentrations: NH_3 (4-10 ppb), NO_2 (4-6 ppb), HNO_3 (0.1-0.2 ppb), and HC1(<0.1 PPb).

Additional Information

© 1994 American Chemical Society. Received for review June 1, 1993. Revised manuscript received December 1, 1993. Accepted December 23, 1993. The smooth operation of this project would not have been possible without the cooperation of two host organizations in China. The help of the State Bureau of Cultural Relics in Beijing is greatly appreciated, including participation by Huang Kezhong, Zhu Changling, Sheng Weiwei, Li Xiu Qing, and Li Hua Yuan. The assistance of the staff of the Yungang Grottoes is gratefully acknowledged, and we would like to thank Xie Ting Fan, Yuan Jin Hu, Huang Ji Zhong, and Zhi Xia Bing, among others, for their help. Special thanks are also due our translators Bo Guo Liang of the Shanxi Institute of Geological Science and Zhong Ying Ying from Taiyuan University. Support critical to this work was provided by the Getty Conservation Institute and their consultants, and we especially thank Neville Agnew, Po-Ming Lin, Shin Maekawa, and Roland Tseng for their help. The organic and elemental carbon analyses were performed by Sunset Laboratory, Forest Grove, OR. The XRF analyses were performed by Keystone-NEA, Inc., Beaverton, OR. The mineralogy of the cliff rock samples was determined by Gary Cooke and Michael Leger of R. J. Lee Group, Inc., Monroeville, PA. We would also like to thank Nathan Frei of Caltech for laboratory assistance provided during the course of the experiment. This paper is based upon research which was supported by a Research Agreement from the Getty Conservation Institute. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Getty Conservation Institute of the J. Paul Getty Trust.

Additional details

August 20, 2023
August 20, 2023