The weathering of stones due to dissolution

Gregory Dean Hoke, D. L. Turcotte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


We hypothesize that the weathering of building stones can be attributed to surface dissolution processes. We assume that chemical interactions occur on grain boundaries and/or microcracks and that diffusion is the controlling process. A dissolution layer (rind) develops adjacent to the weathering surface. We quantify the extent of dissolution by introducing a damage variable f; f=0 for pristine rock, and when f=1 the rock disintegrates. We assume that the variations of the damage variable are given by the diffusion equation. We solve two problems. The first is for the structure of the transient dissolution boundary layer prior to surface disintegration. We find an incubation time ti, before active weathering (disintegration) begins. The second is the solution for steady-state weathering with a constant weathering velocity vw. Our results are entirely consistent with weathering studies on Carrara marble gravestones in the United Kingdom. Typical incubation times are ti=20-30 years, and typical steady-state weathering velocities are vw=5-50 μm year-1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-310
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Geology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes



  • Damage
  • Dissolution
  • Gravestones
  • Weathering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology

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