Urban stone decay: The great weathering experiment?
This paper outlines recent progress in modeling salt-induced decay of urban stone, using both field-based and laboratory-based approaches. The opportunities afforded by examining stone structures of known age, composition, and exposure history are highlighted, and the fruitfulness of multidisciplinary research in this area for geologists, geomorphologists, engineers, and conservation architects is demonstrated. Examples are given that show how studies of urban stone decay have informed our understanding of salt weathering, surface loss, and both meso- and micro-environmental controls on weathering. Institutional and cultural reasons for the lack of discourse between building stone researchers and those concerned with natural rock outcrops are discussed, and the benefits of information exchange between the two disciplines is advocated.