Serpentinites from Cabo Ortegal (Galicia, Spain): a search for correct use as ornamental stones
Dolores Pereira, Mercedes Peinado, Mariano Yenes, Serafin Monterrubio, Jose Nespereira, Jose Antonio Blanco, 2010. "Serpentinites from Cabo Ortegal (Galicia, Spain): a search for correct use as ornamental stones", Natural Stone Resources for Historical Monuments, R Přikryl, Á Török
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Different varieties of serpentinites present at Cabo Ortegal were studied. For many years, the ‘Verde Pirineos’ type has been quarried and sold commercially, but its physical characteristics do not fulfil the requirements for its use as an ornamental stone. ‘Piedra de Doelo’ is the local name for a serpentinite that has been quarried and used for many centuries in a large number of historical buildings distributed throughout the area. The preservation status of the rock is very poor and the stone is severely affected by weathering. A third variety, similar to the ‘ophicalcite’ described in the literature, is currently under investigation with a view to studying the possibility of the resumption of serpentinite quarrying. Although serpentinites are commercially known as ‘green marbles’, Galician serpentinites do not fulfil the mineral requirements to be described as such. Study of the characteristics of serpentinites, including their mineralogy, may offer a clue to the correct use of Galician serpentinites.
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Natural stone is considered to be a versatile, durable and aesthetically pleasing building material. From the beginning of civilization, important structures and monuments have been built from, or based on, natural stone. Until the end of the nineteenth century, the use of local stone resources was mostly in balance with the local environment. Strict environmental legislation has resulted in the closing of many long-standing quarries in industrialized countries, which has led to a shortage of traditional stone varieties. This has caused problems for restoration practice. Cheap, imported stone from less industrialized countries has become more widely available in recent years.
Some of the issues related to built stone conservation and restoration covered by this volume are: the establishment of inventories of possible replacement stones; understanding the decay mechanism and use of preventive conservation methods for slowing down decay processes; evaluation of the properties of natural stone; and assessing the risks of using replacement stones of different qualities.