RMN a new tool for provenancing marbles – presented at the GMPCA (Rennes, 18-21 April 2017)

An alternative method, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and the first tests to its application to provenancing white marbles has been proposed at the 21th Colloque International du GMPCA, held at Rennes the 18th – 21th April 2017).

Focusing on the major component of marbles, calcium carbonate, whose NMR signals response depends on its local environment, such as the presence of secondary elements, and its crystallisation state (dolomite vs calcite), we targeted two different nuclei of the calcium carbonate were targeted: Carbon (13C, which is the isotope detectable using NMR and is present at 1% naturally) and Calcium (43Ca, natural abundance, 0.1%).

A series of tests were undertaken on white marbles from very different origins: Saint-Béat (France), Galicia (Spain), Pentelic (Greece) and Carrara (Italy). The results of these first tests so far are very promising , as they highlight the high potential of NMR spectroscopy to discriminate white marbles with very similar macroscopic features, which can contribute to increase the capacity to differentiate between marbles that remain undistinguishable by the conventional methods.

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