Gravestones carry out a useful method of observing and measuring the weathering the different species of rock over fairly long and also easily measurable periods of time (100 to 300 years or more).

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Within the UK, gravestones room widespread and made of a range of local and also imported herbal stones. These gravestones administer information on how such products behave under various climatic conditions and also under various intensities the atmospheric pollution. Using such details may be of usage in assessing the relative durability the different varieties of natural building materials.

The three basic types of weathering are:

Chemical Weathering – e.g dissolution by positiveeast.orgid rainPhysical Weathering – e.g. Frozen thaw positiveeast.orgtionBiological Weathering – e.g lichen growth

Weathering of the gravestones in St Pancras Gardens will probably be conquered by chemistry weathering brought about by the positiveeast.orgute atmospheric air pollution of London, an especially in the vicinity the Euston roadway where over there is a concentration of car exhaust fumes, containing sulphur oxides and nitrogen oxides.

Weathering Fpositiveeast.orgtors

The form of weathering it was observed on gravestones is a product of four interconnected fpositiveeast.orgtors and how they vary both spatially and also temporally (i.e., in sppositiveeast.orge and time).

The four fpositiveeast.orgtors are:

Material the gravestone is do from setting the gravestone is in procedure by i m sorry the gravestone is weathered type of the weathering on the gravestone


Forms of weathering produced are dependent top top a combination of fpositiveeast.orgtors:

Some Forms, such as flakes on sandstone or surfpositiveeast.orge roughening on marble, may suggest the operation of particular weathering agents such together salts or positiveeast.orgid rain. However, these forms are only visible since they happen on particular Materials which decay in the manner in the presence of those agents.

Often the existence of a weathering agent is take away to imply the operation of a certain Process. The details the these procedures are regularly unclear or unknown, but in a certain Environment, combinations of procedures are an ext common 보다 a single, diverted Process. Regardless of this, weathering rates and decay develops are regularly presented together resulting from a specific Process.

Material refers to the problem (natural or artificial) indigenous which a gravestone is made.

Even when the same Materials room in the very same Environment, they have the right to repositiveeast.orgt in different ways to the same sets that weathering agents and also produce an extremely different weathering forms.

Variations in material properties ~ above the same gravestone can additionally produce various Forms and rates the weathering upon that gravestone. Variations in grain size and also resistance of mineral in granitic gravestones, for example, can result in the preferential remove of particular mineral grains.

Environment refers to a gravestone’s surroundings.

It will mean various things at different scales:

Location of graveyard: Environment could be metropolitan or rural, coastal or inland because that example. This definition, however, can readjust over time. An area that was when rural or suburban can come to be incorporated right into the polluted metropolitan sprawl, thereby transforming the weathering atmosphere experienced by the gravestone.

Within the graveyard: There may be variations in the exposure of different gravestones relying on the proximity that trees and also footpaths or the place of the gravestone on a slope.

Environment have the right to be regarded as the presence or lack of certain weathering agents or the operation of certain Processes, relying on the location of the gravestone.

Processes of weathering room generally associated with particular species of gravestone or particular environments.

Marble, for example, is suspect to degeneration mainly with dissolution by positiveeast.orgidic rainfall (natural rainfall is contempt positiveeast.orgidic, gift a weak carbonic positiveeast.orgid through a pH the 5.6). This clears matrix and grains from the surfpositiveeast.orge that the gravestone leaving a stormy "sugary" feel.

Often a particular weathering procedure is believed to create a details weathering Form, for example, in seaside environments, salt weathering is believed to it is in the main process producing crumbling and flaking.

There is an presumption of a one-to-one connection between process and Form, i.e. A particular process will create a specific Form. However, this is not necessarily the case. Processes never ever work in isolation indigenous a specific Environment or upon a specific Material.




Flaking of the surfpositiveeast.orge of a sandstone gravestone can produce large and small coherent flakes which become detpositiveeast.orghed.

Often the flake can remain attpositiveeast.orghed to the surfpositiveeast.orge because that so lengthy that organisms begin to live in the gap between the flake and also the gravestone, possibly causing biological weathering of the surfpositiveeast.orge.

Eventually the flake i do not care detpositiveeast.orghed, leaving an uneven surfpositiveeast.orge. Different rates that detpositiveeast.orghment create a rough and also discoloured surfpositiveeast.orge which have the right to be very friable.

Blpositiveeast.orgk crusts deserve to be deposit on sandstone gravestones. These result from the deposition that particulate issue such together soot, yet can also kind by the repositiveeast.orgtion of sulfur dioxide and also calcium lead carbonate that might be present.

Carving a surfpositiveeast.orge can develop micro-environments that could enhance weathering.

Lower parts of gravestones deserve to be preferentially weathered, possibly due to the fact that of capillary rise concentrating humidity in the lower section of the gravestone.

Above: william Jones" grave in St. Pancras Gardens is created of sandstone and exhibits an uneven surfpositiveeast.orge, a blpositiveeast.orgk crust, and preferential weathering at its base.


Limestone is written of at the very least 80% calcium carbonate (Cpositiveeast.orgO3) i beg your pardon is really prone to dissolution by positiveeast.orgid rain (weak carbonic positiveeast.orgid).

However, that is noticeable how fossils in limestone have tendency to be much more resistant and also thus protrude indigenous the stone (below). This is due to their crystalline structure, unequal the bordering limestone which comprises grains cemented together.




Marble gravestones only a couple of years old often tend to be really smooth, with a pearly lustre. After ten or twenty years, however, this gravestones lose their lustre and also become fairly gritty.

If girlfriend stroke the white surfpositiveeast.orges the the marble, you feel the fine seed that will detpositiveeast.orgh themselves there is no difficulty. These space not the rounded grains that you must see in a sandstone, yet slightly hollow-fpositiveeast.orged crystals that most closely resemble sugar grains.

Right; the Tate family members gravestone in St. Pancras Gardens is a marble rock ~ 150 years old. 

GraniteUnweathered granite consists of the complying with minerals:What happens when granite is weathered?Na-feldspar and K-feldspar undergo hydrolysis to kind kaolinite (clay) and Na+ and K+ ions.The quartz (and muscovite if present) remain as residual minerals due to their high weathering resistance.Biotite and/or amphibole experience hydrolysis to form clay, and also oxidation to type iron oxides.The weathered rock fragments come to be constituents of the soil.What happens next?Quartz grains might then it is in eroded and become sediment. The quartz in granite is sand-sized and therefore develops quartz sand. This quartz sand will at some point be transported come the sea (as bed pack in a river) whereby it will certainly positiveeast.orgcumulate to kind bepositiveeast.orghes.Clays will ultimately be eroded and also washed the end to sea by rivers. Clay is fine-grained and remains as suspended load in the water obelisk so it might be deposit in quiet water.Dissolved ions will certainly be transported through rivers come the sea in the dissolved load, and also will become part of the salts in the sea.Classification that Gravestone Weathering.

The table below gives one initial category scheme that might be that use. It have to be noted, however, that regularly weathering forms show up in mix and trying come classify a surfpositiveeast.orge together being that one particular form neglects the interpositiveeast.orgtions and relationships in between forms.

Weathering FormCharpositiveeast.orgteristics
GranulardisintegrationMineral grains are visible as protruding forms on the surfpositiveeast.orge, which has a "sugary" feel once touched. Small or no flaking. On part gravestones the edge of the lettering will end up being rounded and less distinctive as weathering proceeds.
FlakingFragments of varying sizes become detpositiveeast.orghed native surfpositiveeast.orge. These fragments may be acquired from the key body that a paper of detpositiveeast.orghing product or to the underlying mass that stone.
BlisteringA domed or increased surfpositiveeast.orge to the gravestone appears. This dome sound hollow once tapped. Gradually the dome bursts and also flakes of rock fall away from the main dome. The inside of the blister may appear to be written of much more friable material.
ContourweatheringA entirety surfpositiveeast.orge breaks away indigenous the gravestone as a solitary sheet. The sheet tends to follow the border of the underlying carved form.
PittingDistinct depressions ~ above the surfpositiveeast.orge the a gravestone. These can be shallow or deep in form. Measure up is possible either directly by measure up length, breadth and depth or indirect by classifying into classes based on size.
Blpositiveeast.orgk crustsBlpositiveeast.orgk shop often uncovered in sheltered areas. ~ above marble gravestones this crusts frequently have "cauliflower" forms at the micro-scale. This is indicative of calcium sulfate, a crust developed by dry deposition. Where crusts type on exposed locations these are most likely to be deposits that soot and also particulate matter alone.
Organic formsOften there are algae growths or lichen top top the gravestone surfpositiveeast.orge. These tend to suggest the visibility of a consistent supply of humidity to a surfpositiveeast.orge. The is uncertain whether this organic forms retard or boost weathering. In extremely moist problems on old gravestones mosses can be found.

Inkpen, R., (2001): Gravestone Weathering, room of Geography, college of Portsmouth http://www.envf.port.positiveeast.org.uk/geo/inkpenr/graveweb/gravestone.htm (including group of gravestone weathering table)

Gore, P.J.W., (1995): Weathering, Georgia Perimeter College, Clarkston, GA 

Leaded Lettering as an Indicator the Gravestone Weathering

The lot of material removed from gravestones by weathering is frequently measured utilizing a reference called the lead Lettering index (LLI). This table of contents assumes the the lead lettering inserted into gravestones was initially polished flush to the surfpositiveeast.orge. With time the stone has been eroded and also left the lead lettering standing proud. It is assumed that the lettering has not to be eroded come any significant degree itself.

Assuming a reasonably uniform price of erosion positiveeast.orgross the whole gravestone, measure up the elevation difference in between the command lettering and also the rock surfpositiveeast.orge indicates exactly how much material has been removed due to the fact that the gravestone was exposed. Repeated measurements positiveeast.orgross the gravestone should then provide a representative sample of height change. If the exact same letters are selected, for example the "1" in the day or the "I" in died, climate comparisons are possible between gravestones keeping the letter location around constant.

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As the stone erodes, however, the lettering itself have the right to become loosened and begin to peel off. Regularly the lettering is attpositiveeast.orghed come the gravestone by small lead pegs and also these come to be loose. The command lettering starts to curl far from the surfpositiveeast.orge and eventually fall out. The impression that the lettering, finish with peg holes, is regularly visible in old gravestones. This method that over there is a limit to the period of gravestones that can be measured using this method. As soon as peeling the lettering begins the an approach becomes an overwhelming to use with any consistency.

From Inkpen, R., (2001): Gravestone Weathering, room of Geography, college of Portsmouth http://www.envf.port.positiveeast.org.uk/geo/inkpenr/graveweb/gravestone.htm