Carbonate rocks in the Mediterranean region – from classical to innovative uses of building stone
José P. Calvo, Manuel Regueiro, 2010. "Carbonate rocks in the Mediterranean region – from classical to innovative uses of building stone", Limestone in the Built Environment: Present-Day Challenges for the Preservation of the Past, B. J. Smith, M. Gomez-Heras, H. A. Viles, J. Cassar
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Carbonate rocks are present in many geological formations of the Mediterranean region, thus having favoured their common use as building stone for the many civilizations that inhabited the area throughout history. The wide presence of carbonate rocks has been supplemented by a large variety of rock types that can be found in monumental, funerary and normal constructions. Five main carbonate rock types used as building stone can be differentiated: metamorphic marble; banded fine-grained limestone; shell limestone; travertine; and brecciated–nodular carbonate rocks. In most cases these carbonate rocks have been traditionally used, although new rock types are currently marketed. Nowadays, several Mediterranean countries are major producers of carbonate building stone that is marketed for its ornamental and decorative characteristics. Italy, Spain and Turkey are placed in high rank positions of the global carbonate ornamental stone market, whilst Greece, France, Croatia, Israel, Morocco, Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia produce mainly for internal consumption.
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Limestone is a highly successful and widely used building material, found in many important historic buildings and new monuments around the world. Whilst its success reflects its durability under a wide range of environmental conditions, there are still important questions surrounding the selection, use and conservation of building limestones. In order to make best use of new limestone today, and to conserve old limestone most effectively, we need to bring modern research methods to bear on understanding the characteristics of different limestones, what mortars to use, and how key limestones have responded to polluted atmospheres. This volume brings together recent inter-disciplinary research on these issues, illustrating the diversity of innovative techniques that are now being applied to furthering our understanding of building limestones.