Spatial characterization of salt accumulation in early stage limestone weathering using probe permeametry

O. Buj*, J. Gisbert, J. M. McKinley, Bernard Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
319 Downloads (Pure)


This research characterizes the weathering of natural building stone using an unsteady-state portable probe permeameter. Variations between the permeability properties of fresh rock and the same rocks after the early stages of a salt weathering simulation are used to examine the effects of salt accumulation on spatial variations in surface rock permeability properties in two limestones from Spain. The Fraga and Tudela limestones are from the Ebro basin and are of Miocene age. Both stone types figure largely in the architectural heritage of Spain and, in common with many other building limestones, they are prone to physical damage from salt crystallization in pore spaces. To examine feedbacks associated with salt accumulation during the early stages of this weathering process, samples of the two stone types were subjected to simulated salt weathering under laboratory conditions using magnesium sulphate and sodium chloride at concentrations of 5% and 15%. Permeability mapping and statistical analysis (aspatial statistics and spatial prediction) before and after salt accumulation are used to assess changes in the spatial variability of permeability and to correlate these changes with salt movement, porosity change, potential rock deterioration and textural characteristics. Statistical analyses of small-scale permeability measurements are used to evaluate the drivers for decay and hence aid the prediction of the weathering behaviour of the two limestones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-394
Number of pages12
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Issue number3
Early online date21 Feb 2010
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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