A grimy, black biofilm

2016-08-10  Michael E. Ruane










It’s black! It’s creepy! And it’s crawling over the Jefferson Memorial!


It’s biofilm — a microbial invasion of uncertain origin that has begrimed the stone surface of one of the nation’s most hallowed monuments.


Part algae, part bacteria, part fungi, the biofilm won’t eat your flesh, like the gooey Blob in the 1958 horror film, as a National Park Service spokesman remarked.


But it’s not clear if it’s munching on the stone.


And it can’t be killed.


It has given the elegant white memorial on Washington’s Tidal Basin a dingy look, and, Blob-like, it is growing.


It is especially pronounced on the memorial’s dome, around its base, and on the triangular pediment that portrays Jefferson and four colleagues who helped draft the Declaration of Independence.


Concerned citizens have offered to try to clean it off.


Jefferson Memorial, Washington, D.C.


credits Associated Press