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Does Mount Rushmore need a face-lift?

Does Mount Rushmore need a face-lift?

The wrinkles of age spare no one -- not even the famous faces at Mount Rushmore. The granite rock from which these sculptures were carved contains many fractures and other flaws that could eventually threaten the memorial's structural stability. A crew of geologists is now conducting a detailed study to assess the health of the Rushmore faces and to determine whether they need artificial support.

Researchers from RE/SPEC Inc. in Rapid City, S.D., began their work by mapping the memorial's topography and structure. To create their unprecedented maps, they placed 99 bull's-eye targets on the front and back of the monument and then used an airplane and helicopter to obtain aerial photographs. The maps are based on 100,000 data points taken from the photos.

NExt, the geologists will build a three-dimensional computer model of the sculptures to study the orientation of blocks within the mountain. They also plan to examine the effectiveness of the crack-filling materials used by the sculptor to stop water from enlarging the rock features.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Nov 17, 1990
Words:176
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