Canyonlands National Park sits under the desert sun nearly every day, but in the early morning hours when the air is cool and the sun is rising, a majestic glow of indigo filled this Utah valley with mist. The iconic Airport Tower can be seen in the distance, standing just behind the Washer Woman Arch. Photo courtesy of Sam Koerbel.
Ancient Romans built concrete sea walls that have withstood pounding ocean waves for more than 2,000 years. Now, an international team has discovered a clue to the concrete’s longevity: a rare mineral forms during chemical reactions between the concrete and seawater that strengthen the material.
Structural engineers might be able to use these insights to make stronger, more-sustainable concrete, says team leader Marie Jackson, a geologist at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. She and her colleagues report their findings on 3 July in American Mineralogist1.