The mineralogical and chemical methods in investigations of decay of the Devonian black ‘marble’ from Dębnik (Southern Poland)
Published:January 01, 2007
M. Marszałek, 2007. "The mineralogical and chemical methods in investigations of decay of the Devonian black ‘marble’ from Dębnik (Southern Poland)", Building Stone Decay: From Diagnosis to Conservation, R. Přikryl, B. J. Smith
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Optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectrometry, X-ray diffraction, infrared (IR) spectroscopy, Rock-Eval pyrolysis and gas chromatography combined with mass spectroscopy were used to examine deterioration of the black limestone from Dębnik near Cracow. Owing to its unique colour and good polishing properties the rock is called the ‘Dębnik marble’. The samples were taken from various monuments and natural outcrops exposed to weathering. The material is a compact limestone whose black colour is caused by an admixture of bitumens or pyrite. Its horizontal layers are separated by discontinuities filled with clay minerals. Surface exfoliation is one of the damage signs and results in the formation of irregular or lensoidal fractures. The discontinuities provide an easy access for acid rain that in reaction with calcite produces gypsum.
Crystallization of gypsum leads to alveolar weathering, cracking and chipping of the otherwise compact material. The presence of alveoles or surface exfoliation depends on the orientation of stone blocks. When they are cut along the discontinuities, destruction results in exfoliating and cracking. Perpendicular cutting gives rise to the formation of alveoles. The changes affect the original black colour of the stone surface that alters to grey or even white.
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Building Stone Decay: From Diagnosis to Conservation
Stone buildings and monuments from the cultural centres of many of the world's urban areas. Frequently these areas are prone to high levels of atmospheric pollution that promote a variety of aggressive stone decay processes. Because of this, stone decay is now widely recognized as a severe threat to much of our cultural heritage. If this threat is to be successfully addressed it is essential that the symptoms of decay are clearly identified, that appropriate stone properties are accurately characterized and that decay processes are precisely identified. It is undoubtedly the case that successful conservation has to be underpinned by a comprehensive understanding of the causes of decay and the factors that control them. The accomplishment of these demanding goals requires an interdisciplinary approach based on co-operation between geologists, environmental scientists, chemists, material scientists, civil engineers, restorers and architects. In pursuit of this collaboration, this volume aims to strengthen the knowledge base dealing with the causes, consequences, prevention and solution of stone decay problems.