Sandstone weathering rates were compared on two historic structures, one coastal and one inland. The two structures were Fort Perch Rock at the entrance of the Mersey estuary and Stafford Castle, 100 km from the nearest coast. Weathering is accelerated at the coastal site by a factor of 1.59, although this may underestimate the true difference. Intra-site coastal patterns show that aspect creates a threefold variation in weathering rate. Abundant micro-organism growth protects rock, whereas patchy colonisation leads to increased weathering. Weathering processes and rates cannot properly be interpreted without considering the effects of biological factors and agents, even in environments dominated by marine salts.
Within the broader context of these facets of the weathering environment, this study aims to:
- determine weathering rates on similar materials exposed in coastal and non-coastal environments,
- identify and quantify any acceleration of weathering in the coastal environment,
- investigate the intra-site role of aspect in controlling weathering rates in a coastal environment,
- investigate the role of biological growth in the weathering of stones in a coastal environment and
- to make inferences concerning the mechanisms of weathering. 41 refs.
Primary author(s): Mottershead D; Gorbushina A; Lucas G; Wright J