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Weathering of serpentine stone buildings in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, region: A geographic approach related to acidic deposition

By
Thomas C. Meierding
Thomas C. Meierding
1
Department of Geography and Center for Climatic Research, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware 19716, USA
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Published:
January 01, 2005

Deteriorated stones in urban buildings are often anecdotally cited as evidence of anthropogenic acidic deposition, but that hypothesis has seldom been tested by quantitative urban to rural surface loss comparisons. In the Philadelphia region, semiquantitative measurements (mean maximum pit depths and areal percent surface exfoliation) from all suitable nineteenth century serpentine structures (38 building sides, 6000 blocks) suggest that serpentine damage is greatest where sulfur-based acidic deposition (indicated by nearby marble gravestones) was also maximized. However, inter- and intra-building variations, such as serpentine block composition, groundwater wicking, building geometry, surface aspect (east and south walls are most weathered), and chemical reactions between serpentine and adjacent carbonate-rich materials all have an impact and statistically weaken the acidic deposition–serpentine weathering relationship.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

Stone Decay in the Architectural Environment

Alice V. Turkington
Alice V. Turkington
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Geological Society of America
Volume
390
ISBN print:
9780813723907
Publication date:
January 01, 2005

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