If you are interested in purchasing natural stone for use around your home, we’re sure that you’ve heard of Turkey travertine. We’re also fairly sure that you don’t really have much of an idea where this product comes from, except that it is found somewhere in the European country of Turkey. Before you rush out and buy what is considered a quality luxury stone, we felt it was important to outline where this type of travertine actually comes from.
So, what part of the country is Turkey travertine found in?
Most of the stone that is available here in Australia has come from Pamukkale, which is a natural site of the Denizli Province in the country’s southwest. It is found in the River Menderes Valley, in the inner Aegean region, which experiences a temperate climate for most of the year. The area is known for travertine and hot springs, as well as stunning carbonate mineral terraces that have been left by flowing water.
The word Pamukkale roughly translates to “cotton castle”, which is believed to be a reference to the ancient Greco-Roman and Byzantine city of Hierapolis, which was built on top of the white ‘castle’. It is about 2,700 metres long, 600 metres wide and 160 metres high. The ‘castle’ can be seen from the hills on the opposite side of the valley, in the town of Denizli (about 20km away). The area has been declared a World Heritage Site, but can still be visited.
But where does travertine come into the equation?
The terraces found at Pamukkale are made of travertine, which is a sedimentary rock that has been deposited by water from the hot springs. In the area, there are 17 hot springs with temperatures ranging from 35 degrees Celsius to 100 degrees Celsius. The water from these springs is transported a massive 320 metres to the head of the terraces, where calcium carbonate deposits are picked up from a section that is 60 to 70 metres long.
Once the water reaches the surface, carbon dioxide de-gasses from it and the calcium carbonate is deposited. This process continues until the carbon dioxide in the water balances that in the air. Calcium carbonate is actually deposited on the surface as a soft jelly, but this eventually hardens into what we know as Turkey travertine. This reaction can be affected by the weather conditions, ambient temperature and the flow duration.
Precipitation continues until the carbon dioxide in the thermal water reaches equilibrium with the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Measurements that have been taken at the source of the springs find atmospheric levels of 725 mg/l of carbon dioxide – by the time the same water flows across the existing Turkey travertine, this measurement falls to 145 mg/l. These theoretical calculations could indicate that as much as 4.9 square kilometres can be covered.
Even though Pamukkale is a World Heritage Site, the fact that the Turkey travertine is constantly being created means that it is a sustainable source of this beautiful natural stone.
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