Natural stones are integral part of the architectonic heritage built over the centuries and thus reflect close cultural affiliation with society. Our session deals with Heritage Stones defined explicitly by the IUGS Sub Commission on Heritage Stones (HSS). We promote recognition of natural stones that have achieved an important and significant use in human culture. The session is open to discuss the use of heritage stones in different civilizations over the period of time, their impact on human culture, geoheritage, geoarchaeology and architectonic relevance. The session is also open to discuss current scenario on status of the architectonic heritage in terms of their deterioration and steps to reinforce restoration of the same, in addition to aspects such as historical quarries, quarry landscape and trade of these heritage stones etc.
Global Heritage Stones constitute a resource of great social and economic relevance that attracts cultural tourism, and form an important link to understand the geology and history of a region. Global Heritage Stone recognition will promote public and policy-maker interest in stonebuilt heritage, encourage the use of natural stones and ensure the availability of stones required for maintenance and restoration of built heritage. It will also assist in forming a broader understanding of how the usage of the most traditional building material has evolved over centuries to the present-day application. As factory produced building materials took over in the last two centuries or so, architects seem to be re-evaluating their choices and there is a reawakened interest in the usage of stone as a contemporary building material.
This session is promoted by the Heritage Stones Subcommission (HSS), an IUGS subcommission within the International Commission on Geoheritage (ICG). The proposed session encourages contributions related to above sub themes from all over the world.
Selected contributions from our previous EGU sessions are published in high impact factor journals, such as: Geological Society of London Special Publications (SP407: Global Heritage Stone: Towards International Recognition of Building and Ornamental Stones), Episodes Special Issue on Heritage Stones (volume 38-2, June 2015), Geoscience Canada (volume 43(1), March 2016), Geoheritage (2018), Episodes (in process of publication by 2020). Selected contributions of EGU 2020 will be considered for publication in a special issue of a well rated journal.

Co-organized by EOS8
Convener: Gurmeet Kaur | Co-conveners: David Martin Freire-Lista, Paola Marini
| Attendance Thu, 07 May, 08:30–10:15 (CEST)

Files for download

Session materials Download all presentations (87MB)

Chat time: Thursday, 7 May 2020, 08:30–10:15

Chairperson: Gurmeet Kaur, David and Paola
D887 |
Antônio Costa

In cemeteries dating back to the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth and forming part of the cultural heritage of Brazil is a great variety of stone materials applied. Integrating cultural tourism routes, these spaces can also be used for the dissemination of geological information. To study these applications, three were chosen and the most iconic being the Campo Santo Cemetery in the city of Salvador, State of Bahia, which dates from 1844. From the state of Minas Gerais, two were chosen. The oldest belongs to the Third Order of San Francisco, from the city of São João Del Rey and was opened in the first half of the nineteenth, while the youngest, the Bom Fim located in Belo Horizonte, dates from the early twentieth century. Among the applied materials, those of national origin and others imported were identified. In the first group stand out the green schists, granites and gneisses, while in the second marbles and limestones represent the most used rocks. From the group of marble and limestone applied stand out materials of Italian and Portuguese origin, which will be considered in this work. Of the Italians, the Carrara marbles are the most frequent, while of the Portuguese predominate the Lioz type, followed by Encarnadão and, more rarely, the Sintra Blue and Negrais Yellow, all from the Lisbon-Sintra region. In the studied cemeteries, the use of marble from Carrara predominates in the tombs of the Bonfim cemetery, while Lioz marble was the most used type in the production of tomb art in the other two, which often brings records confirming its production in companies located in Lisbon or in the city of Porto. For Lioz some of its main characteristics were confirmed, such as the frequent presence of rudist fossils and their calcitic composition, typical of types historically extracted in the regions of Pero Pinheiro and Sintra. It was generally identified as a microcrystalline limestone, bioclastic, with slight chromatic variations ranging from white to beige, rosy or pink cream, with the presence of yellowish stains. Following the Lioz, another Portuguese limestone called Encarnadão appears. For this type there are chromatic variations ranging from pinkish to reddish tones, passing through shades of salmon. The Lameiras type is identified by the reddish hues. Other features found, such as the presence of stylolites, were used to identify subtypes described in the literature, such as Encarnadão Chainette present in Salvador tombs, and more rarely in São João del Rey. Other Portuguese limestones, such as Negrais yellow and Sintra blue, extracted in the Lisbon / Sintra region, were observed in ornamental applications on tombs, mainly from Campo Santo Cemetery in Salvador. While the first one is characterized by the golden yellow coloration, the second one is distinguished by the bluish-gray coloration. With very rare presence can be mentioned the use of other limestone materials, such as the Arrábida breccia, present in ornamental details.

How to cite: Costa, A.: Stone materials applied in funerary art in historical cemeteries in Brazil, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-2698, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-2698, 2020.

D888 |
Piero Primavori

Rosso Verona marble (RV) is the commercial name for an ammonite-bearing, pink-red, nodular, limestone, occurring near the city of Verona, North Italy,  hence the name “Rosso Verona marble”.

  Geologically speaking, RV belongs to the Rosso Ammonitico Veronese (RAV) Formation, a Middle-Upper Jurassic unit within the Mesozoic successions of the Trento Plateau, within which it comprises the stratigraphic interval between the top of platform carbonates (Early Jurassic) and the base of the micritic pelagic limestones of the Maiolica Formation (Uppermost Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous; “Biancone” of older authors).


 The RAV Formation dominant features are the presence of hardgrounds, highlighted by Fe and Mn oxide encrustations and recording breaks in sedimentation, colour variations, and abundance of nodular facies and bioturbation. In the Verona area, the RAV is less than 30 m thick and is subdivided into three units and eight different facies (pseudonodular, mineralized, bioclastic, nodular, thin-bedded limestone, thin-bedded cherty limestone, subnodular, stromatolitic). The lowest unit is formed by pseudonodular, mineralized and massive facies; the middle unit is formed by thin bedded, cherty and subnodular limestones; the upper unit is composed of stromatolitic, pseudonodular and nodular limestones.


  Since Roman age, several levels of the RAV have been object of intensive excavation. Nowadays, the quarrying activity is still active in a few quarries, located in Valpolicella valley (Verona province), between the municipalities of S. Ambrogio and Monte, in the sorroundings of Mount Pastello.


  RV relevant versatility has made possible its application almost in any field: from rural landscape to traditional building, from sculpture to architectural works, from fine crafts objects to modern 3D realizations.

  We find it in many historical artistic and architectural buildings, such as the Ducal Palace and San Marco Basilica in Venice, many famous monuments in Verona (the “Arena”, the Pietra Bridge, the Roman Theatre),  and in all the most important churches and religious building in North Italy (Bologna cathedral; Parma Cathedral, Cremona cathedral etc.).

  Sought-after and appreciated by architects, sculptors and designers for its chromatic and textural features, RV has been and still is, one of the driving marbles of the traditional Italian dimension stone production.


  The note intends to provide a synthetic overview of RV marble and to propose it as a candidate to GHSR designation.

  Such a candidature is supported not only by its intrinsic geological and petrographic features, but also by several factors which are considered to fulfill the basic requisites for a GHSR designation. Among the most important, worth of mention are:

  • - its enormous impact on the history, traditions and culture of the Verona area,
  • - its almost ubiquitous use as a decorative stone (statues, columns, monuments, cosmatesque floors, inlays etc.),
  • - the importance of MARMOMACC, the yearly Verona International Fair (considered the most important worldwide Fair of the Dimension Stone sector),
  • - its current diffusion on a planetary scale,
  • - the presence of an institutional body, the Verona District, which collects an impressive number of companies whose level of expertise, experience and competence has few equal all around the world.

How to cite: Primavori, P.: Rosso Verona marble (Italy): proposed as a candidate for "Global Heritage Stone Resource", EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-2873, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-2873, 2020.

D889 |
David Martín Freire-Lista, Luis Sousa, and Martinho Lourenço

Heritage stones have been used in different civilizations; they have a great social and economic relevance that attracts cultural tourism. In addition, they have an impact on human culture, geoheritage, geoarchaeology and architecture.

Industrialisation, the development of means of transport and new materials have led to the abandonment of historical quarries necessary for the conservation of monuments. Global Heritage Stone nomination aims at the inventorying of building stones that can be used for restoration and revitalisation of villages with quarrying tradition and focuses on the sustainable conservation of cultural heritage.

The geology of Northern Portugal is broadly composed of metamorphic rocks and granites with vestiges of historical stonework, since they have been profusely used for construction. Heritage stones have created a rich cultural heritage which has been preserved up to this date.

Documentary search, cartography and petrographic characterisation are necessary to locate the historical quarries of the stones with which monuments have been built. The use of analytical techniques, such as petrography, accelerated artificial ageing, ultrasound pulse velocity measurements and spectrophotometry will guarantee the quality, durability and colour of restoration stones.

The period of most intense development of traditional stonework in the Trás-os-Montes area occurred in the 18th century. An important historical quarry of granite with medium crystal-size was discovered in Picarreira mountain, near Pena village, in the municipality of Vila Real, Portugal (41.295378, -7.816378).

There are numerous door lintels that retain the construction date carved on them, as well as houses with carved ashlars, granite pinnacles, granaries and roadside granite crosses in Pena and its surroundings. The lintels and jambs of the doors and windows of the seminary, and the court and post office buildings, all of them in Vila Real, were built with Pena granite. The petrographic and petrophysical properties of this granite have been characterised in addition to its decay in the aforementioned buildings of Vila Real.

Given the ongoing transformation of the industry, it is important that urban planners and policy makers of cultural heritage work in tandem with contemporary needs of the cities. Furthermore, planning-led heritage conservation, careful attention and common criteria for the restoration and rehabilitation of each heritage stone are needed.

Acknowledgements: The Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) of Portugal supported the first author with the Stimulus of Scientific Employment, Individual Support 2017. CEECIND/03568/2017.

How to cite: Freire-Lista, D. M., Sousa, L., and Lourenço, M.: The Granite of Pena, the Building Stone of the Most Important Buildings of the Twentieth Century in Vila Real (Northern Portugal), EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-4234, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-4234, 2020.

D890 |
Angela Ehling

The „International Union of Geological Sciences” (IUGS) enacted an initiative at the 33. World Congress in Oslo 2008 with the title “Global Heritage Stone Resource “ (GHSR). Aim of this initiative is to increase the perception and estimation of natural stones in the architectonic heritage in particular and in the geoheritage context in general. That includes to emphasize the need to protect dimension stone quarries as well as to avoid the replacements with inappropriate stones at cultural heritage sites.
Germany with its federal structures took part in this initative only since 2018. A national working group, consisting of geologists as well as representatives of the dimension stone industry and the preservation of monuments, has been founded. Besides some public information first activity was the compilation of a national list with natural stones which should be nominated for a GHSR-certification. Meanwhile members of our national group work actively with the Heritage Stone Subcommission, two stones have been nominated for certification and a book about the natural stones at UNESCO-Sites in Germany is underway and will be published within the new series “Natural Stones and World Heritage” in 2021. The activities of the German working group go ahead with the longer lasting activities of the network “stones in the city”. The aim of both is to focus on the natural stones as a natural, unique and sustainable building material, which is shaping cultural landscapes.  Even the declaration of the “stone of the year” in Germany since 10 years refers to their use as building material. Thus, all these initiatives can be combined and may focus on that stones which are worth to be a Global Heritage Stone.

How to cite: Ehling, A.: Global Heritage Stone Resource - Activities in Germany, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-4424, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-4424, 2020.

D891 |
| Highlight
Marc Mequignon, Hassan Ait Haddou, and Nadege Gunia

The paper focuses on the assessment of greenhouse gas emissions produced by the walls of buildings according to their lifespan. These assessments take account the entire cycle life. The contribution of the utilization phase must be equivalent for all technical solutions for a given usage function. In the first part of the work, the methodology is described by considering a unit area of wall (i.e. 1 square metre), determining a long service life, choosing technical solutions in agreement with the specifications, establishing the lifespan of each technical solution according to experts, finding the corresponding greenhouse gas index from an appropriate database, and finally modelling the evolution of these indicators with time. Several technical solutions (concrete, brick, stone, wood, aerated concrete) are considered and lifespans range from a few years to centuries.

The results of this analysis suggest and quantify the important impact of lifespan on greenhouse gas emission indicators. Too, the stone is the best solution for a long life.

How to cite: Mequignon, M., Ait Haddou, H., and Gunia, N.: For the buildings production, the better solutions against greenhouse gas emission, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-4792, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-4792, 2020.

D892 |
Wolfram Kloppmann, Lise Leroux, Philippe Bromblet, Pierre-Yves Le Pogam, Catherine Guerrot, and Anne Thérèse Montech

Medieval European alabaster exploitations were relatively limited in number though not in their geographical extension. The main alabaster-exploiting regions before the 16th century were situated in the English East Midlands, in Spain (Aragon, Catalonia), France (Alpine deposits, Provence) and in Germany (Harz mountains, Franconia). From the 16th and 17th century onwards, the use of alabaster in sculpture considerably increased and new deposits were discovered and exploited. In the French Jurassic mountains, the Saint Lothain quarries gained in renown, in Tuscany, the antique quarries around Volterra reopened and East European deposits became important, from Eastern Germany, over Poland to the Western Ukraine.

We present two historical alabaster quarries in Germany, comparatively well documented from written sources: the Witzenhausen alabaster, quarried in Hesse, east of Kassel first mentioned in 1458, and the Forchtenberg mine, in Württemberg, 70 km SW of Würzburg, exploited in the late 16th to 17th century by several generations of the same family of sculptors, the Kern dynasty.

We were able to localize the Witzenhausen deposits around the nearby village of Hundelshausen where Permian (“Zechstein”) evaporites outcrop and are still quarried for plaster production. Most of the encountered varieties are light to dark grey, strongly folded, with brecciated layers. The earliest surviving documented artwork made from this material dates back to 1516, the funeral monument of William II, Landgrave of Hesse (1469-1509), in the church St. Elisabeth, Marburg, Hesse, by the sculptor Ludwig Juppe. The Sr, S and O isotope signatures of the Hundelshausen quarries and the funeral monument are identical and fall in the typical range of Permian alabaster, which, together with the characteristic texture should enable us to identify this type of stone in artworks with unknown provenance.

The Forchtenberg alabaster was quarried from the mid-16th century onwards in galleries and was the privileged material of the Kern family whose house had a direct entry to the alabaster mine. Prominent members of this family are Michael Kern III (1580-1649), who worked for the counts of Hohenlohe and produced many monumental sculptural ensembles in alabaster and his younger brother Leonhard Kern, working in alabaster, ivory and wood, considered as one of the major sculptors of the German Baroque. The Forchtenberg alabaster of Triassic (Muschelkalk) age shows a very characteristic banking and its isotope fingerprints distinguish it from all other Triassic (Keuper) deposits so far investigated in S Germany, notably by a distinct enrichment in 34S.


How to cite: Kloppmann, W., Leroux, L., Bromblet, P., Le Pogam, P.-Y., Guerrot, C., and Montech, A. T.: Medieval and Early Modern alabaster exploitations in Germany: isotope fingerprints of the Forchtenberg and Witzenhausen deposits and their use in sculpture, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-6084, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-6084, 2020.

D893 |
Rossana Bellopede and Paola Marini

Travertine is one of the most common stone for building construction used in many countries starting from ancient times. It was one of the favorite stones of the Roman empire: the main example is  the Colosseum in Rome. All over the world travertine is found in important monuments and in various modern structures: for example, the Conservation Center of the J. Paul Getty museum in Los Angeles and Jiangsu Provincial Art Museum in Nanjing, China and it is very appreciated and requested in the construction of recent thermal bath. In addition to Italian travertine, the other famous types of this stone are known throughout Europe (i.e. Germany, Hungary) and Asia (i.e. Turkey, China, Iran).

Travertine is considered a durable stone despite the weathering caused by air pollution. It is observed in urban areas that the facades may be covered with a black crust where gypsum and calcite are the main minerals .

Nine different types of travertine coming from Tuscany and Umbria (Italy) have been investigated. Petrographic analysis, physical mechanical and artificial ageing test have been performed.

Among the different kind of travertine different texture can be identified as: not laminated, laminated: laminated with sub parallel sheets, laminated with concentric sheets. The various travertine depositional structures have been in compared to the different answer to artificial ageing. Finally, it can be asserted that the durability is not connected only with porosity and the analysis of the complex texture of this kind of stone cannot give a simple solution related to its durability.


How to cite: Bellopede, R. and Marini, P.: Italian travertine in building heritage, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-10703, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-10703, 2020.

D894 |
Wahiba Moussi, Khaled Selatnia, David Martín Freire-Lista, and Luis Sousa


Abstract- The preservation and conservation of historical and cultural built heritage is necessary to preserve the history of cities and the identity of populations. Built heritage is a cultural asset whose preservation and protection is essential to any society. Building stones are one of the most widely used construction materials throughout history. Normally, building stones come from the vicinity of where they are used, which ensures the integration of the built heritage with its surroundings. Due to their decay, building stones need to be preserved and conserved.

El Kantara, formerly Calceus Herculis, is an oasis located 52 kilometers north of Biskra, Algeria. It is characterized by its rich history with alternation of different civilizations: Roman, Muslim and French. El Kantara is an example of vernacular architecture that uses building materials provided by the local environment. Due to the mountainous nature of El Kantara, building stones have been one of the most used materials since the Roman period.

Our research is based on Dachra Dhahraouia as a case study. It is one of three villages in El Kantara and the oldest core of the city. It was founded around the 7th century by a group of families who had arrived to this place during the Muslim conquests because of its strategic location and its position, on the heights overlooking the El Haï valley and the palm grove. When the French settled in El Kantara and created their village, the name Dachra Dhahraouia changed to Red Village because of its red earth color.

Dachra Dhahraouia is a protected area (May 6, 2013). It is considered a model of authentic Arab-Berber architecture, for its type of construction, its doors, its alleys, the organization of its houses, its traditional materials and its architectural character in harmony with nature, traditions and customs. The building stones are used in houses, in foundations of historic walls, in entrance steps in public spaces as benches and in steps of stairs. They are also used in the fence wall of the old cemetery.

The aim of this paper is to study the different existing building stones used in architectural elements of Dachra Dhahraouia. In order to achieve the purpose of this study, six samples (5 × 5 × 5 cm) of the different stone types were tested from different houses and public spaces. Polarization optical microscopy and X-ray diffraction techniques were used for petrographic characterization. Bulk density, porosity, color and ultrasound propagation wave measurements were used for petrophysic characterization of the heritage stones.


The most-used building stone found in Dachra Dhahraouia is a limestone, used in foundations, fence walls and in steps of stairs. Quartzite valley pebbles are used just in the foundations. Dolomite is also part of the building stones used in public spaces as pavements. Also, ashlars from the Roman period are reused in entrance steps and in the foundations of some houses.


Index Terms- building stones. architectural elements. El Kantara. Heritage.

How to cite: Moussi, W., Selatnia, K., Freire-Lista, D. M., and Sousa, L.: Uses of Building Stones in Architectural Elements of El Kantara Town, Biskra (Algeria)., EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-11608, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-11608, 2020.

D895 |
Gurmeet Kaur

Taj Mahal, the iconic mausoleum, known for finest quality white Makrana Marble from Rajasthan, is inlaid with numerous natural stones which add to the beauty of this architectural wonder from India. Makrana marble has been recently designated as a Global Heritage Stone Resource (GHSR) by IUGS. Makrana marble is the first GHSR from India and in fact the first from the whole of Asia to join the list of 22 designated GHSR’s from around the globe.

The Taj mausoleum is part of the Taj Mahal complex which has numerous edifices built in marble and red sandstone. The white Makrana Marble mausoleum is placed in the center of the northern periphery of the Complex. The main mausoleum is a magnificent octagonal edifice with its arched doorways, walls, floor adorned with intricate inlaid work in semi-precious natural stones and rocks that add an aesthetic dimension to this otherwise white marble edifice. The natural stones adorning the various components of the marble edifice include Yellow Jaisalmer Limestone, black slate, carnelian, agate, Khatu Rainbow Sandstone, onyx, lapis lazuli, malachite, jade, mother pearl, etc. The inlaid natural stones of Taj Mausoleum were procured from far off places during the Mughal rule in India.

How to cite: Kaur, G.: Inlaid natural stones in Makrana Marble Taj Mausoleum of India, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-12693, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-12693, 2020.

D896 |
Andrew Kerr

Labradorite is an unusual gemstone in many respects, despite being a variety of plagioclase feldspar, probably the most common mineral in the Earth’s crust. Calcic plagioclase is common in mafic igneous rocks, especially gabbros, norites, troctolites and anorthosites, but it is generally unremarkable in appearance. However, gem labradorite exhibits striking colours on cleavage surfaces when viewed from exactly the right direction. Intense blues and greens are most common, but shades of brown, yellow and red also occur. This phenomenon results from optical interference effects caused by microscopic exsolution lamellae that have very specific and consistent thicknesses. This special type of iridescence is termed ‘labradorescence’ because it is very specific to this mineral. Labradorite was one of the earliest gemstones to be recognized in Canada, first collected by a Moravian missionary around 1773, and named by the famous mineralogist Abraham Werner in 1780. However, it was noted long before this, as there is an Inuit legend about the Northern Lights becoming imprisoned on the rocky coast of Labrador. The typical blue and green colours of the stone are indeed reminiscent of the auroral displays for which the region is famous.


            In its type area around the town of Nain, labradorite is hosted by massive anorthositic rocks that are regionally extensive. The anorthosites generally contain > 90% plagioclase, with lesser pyroxene, olivine and Fe-Ti oxides. Labradorescence is variably present in the feldspars, and small pockets of bright colour occur sporadically within otherwise unremarkable rocks at many locations. More extensive gem-quality labradorite is associated with very coarse-grained (pegmatitic) zones, and several attempts at exploiting such material were made at a location now known as Tabor Island. Another well-known location in an inland area is appropriately known as “the Pearly Gates”, but this remains unexploited.  Coarse- grained, equigranular anorthosite containing 5-20% iridescent feldspar was quarried for dimension stone near Nain intermittently for about 20 years, and was marketed under the trade name ‘Blue Eyes’. Much potential remains for future production of stone of this general type in the Nain area, although the remote location and climate present logistical challenges.


                Labradorite also occurs in many other places, and sources of significance include Norway, Finland, Australia and the island of Madagascar. Scandinavia is famous for the dimension stone known as Larvikite or “Blue Pearl”. This is a feldspar-rich monzonite that contains much iridescent plagioclase, but is darker in colour than typical Labrador anorthosites. Madagascar provides much of the material now used for craft purposes, even in the northern region where the mineral was first recognized. However, labradorite-rich stones are now being used by Inuit carvers, in addition to more traditional materials such as soapstone and serpentinite.

How to cite: Kerr, A.: Labradorite gemstones and related ornamental stones from the type area on the coast of Nunatsiavut (Labrador), Canada, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-13222, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-13222, 2020.

D897 |
Francesca Gambino, Giovanna Antonella Dino, Alessandro Borghi, Anna d'Atri, Luca Barale, Sergio Enrico Favero Longo, Marco Giardino, Luca Martire, Luigi Perotti, and Fabrizio Piana

Piemonte region (Northern Italy) shows an extraordinary richness of ornamental stones, whose exploitation strongly influenced the local culture during the centuries. Indeed, more than 100 lithotypes, mainly exploited in valleys and mountain areas, are used in the local, urban and architecture heritage of the region.

The starting point of the present work consists in the creation and implementation of a dynamic geodatabase of the ornamental and dimension stones of Piemonte region. The geodatabase relies on the data model of the GeoPiemonte Map, derived from a thorough revision of existing geological maps and papers and presently available on a WebGIS application as an interactive scalable map on ARPA Piemonte geoportal.

The second step of the work consists in the dissemination and exploitation of results for enhancing the use of local stones for restoration of historical buildings, infrastructures (eg. stone bridges) and rural villages, and for the construction of new “sustainable” buildings and houses (energy saving, use of natural materials, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions due to transports, etc.).

The structure of the DB and the information reported in it are easily accessible and can be elaborated, implemented and shared not only by researchers, but also by public authorities, trade associations, consultants, etc., in order to (potentially):

  • better program quarrying activities and enhance the exploitation at local level, trying to boost the use of local stones for restoration of historical buildings, rural villages and infrastructures;
  • strongly promote the knowledge of the cultural and historical heritage at local level (not only historical villages, but also historical quarries, quarrymen villages, areas characterized by the presence of working plants, etc.);
  • collect information for all the stone materials and cultural heritage present in Piemonte region.

The structure of the DB and the methodology to collect data to improve it are replicable and applicable to other regions (at national and international level). The use of the DB may have economic and social returns, due to the reinvigoration of the ornamental and dimension stones market and to the potential growth of the quarrying activities (implementation of the staff in charge) and of their spin offs (working plants, restoration experts, designers, building enterprises, etc.).

Many of the stones reported in the DB could be considered as Heritage Stones, being some of them already presented in previous congresses and papers (Montorfano and Baveno granites, serizzi and beole gneisses, Candoglia marble, Luserna stone gneiss, Bargiolina quartzite, etc.).

This work was carried out in the framework of the GeoDIVE research project concerning the geodiversity of the Piemonte region, “from rocks to stones, from landforms to landscapes”, funded by Compagnia di San Paolo and University of Torino.


How to cite: Gambino, F., Dino, G. A., Borghi, A., d'Atri, A., Barale, L., Favero Longo, S. E., Giardino, M., Martire, L., Perotti, L., and Piana, F.: Geo-referenced database of Ornamental and Building Stones from Piemonte region: from Heritage Stone exploitation to potential economical and social impacts., EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-17808, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-17808, 2020.

D898 |
Beatrix Moshammer

This study shows results of geochemical pXRF-data of a closed data set from selected calcareous and mixed calcareous-siliciclastic lithotypes of ornamental and building stones, mainly attributed to corallinacean Leitha Limestone, its succeeding reworked and variegated deposits known as Detrital Leitha Limestone, as well as to younger or lateral interconnected oolites, coquinas and low calcitic sandstones. They altogether represent shallow marine deposits in the Central Paratethys Sea in the Middle to Upper Miocene (16–5 my). Certain analytical reasons require comparing quantities in the geochemical compositions just within the presented dataset.

The stones in focus were prominent building and ornamental stones in former centuries and embody the stonemason culture during various historic periods e.g. in Vienna (St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna State Opera). A still active quarry at Sankt Margarethen im Burgenland provides replacement material. The heritage value of these appreciated freestones is emphasised by their use for various cultural monuments and for buildings and infrastructure already when this region was part of Imperium Romanum. The interdisciplinary archaeological-geological project CarVin (Stone Monuments and Stone Quarrying in the Carnuntum - Vindobona Area, G. Kremer) provided the opportunity to relate archaeological stone objects with native quarries from the nearest possible locations by using this non-destructive analysing technique. The aim was to compare fine-grained archaeological stone objects with samples of similar lithologies from investigated outcrops for potential likenesses. In the present dataset we include 300 archaeological objects and 155 geological samples, each measured at least twice. We used the NITON XL3t 900s GOLDD Air of AnalytiCON Instruments. Its Mining Mode was used to measure main, minor and trace elements with an atomic mass from Magnesium upwards. The internal software converts the composition into percentage. Therefore compositional data analysis recommends a statistical centered log-ratio transformation. Scatterplots with certain elements by pairs show significant distributions. A preceding hypothetical grouping of the measured geological samples draws upon their lithology and their affinity to specifically defined quarry regions (see https://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2018/EGU2018-18923.pdf). The grouping of the geological samples shows a good expression in the Ca-Sr plot and Sr-Ti allows a good differentiation as well. However, the attempt to differentiate between two specific areas – Leitha Mountains northeast and southwest – seems improbable. The expressed situation concerning the majority of the archaeological objects shows some similarities but also conspicuous differences: a clear depletion in Ba, Ca and Mg and partly in Mn and Sr linked with a striking enrichment in sulphur. Without further analysing methods we make environmental effects liable for that.

Although more measurements per sample and object would have improved the study, the results from the pXRF method are supportive for petrological examinations. Nonetheless, a very sensitive handling and chemical data evaluation is critical with this method (analysing influences, surface conditions).

How to cite: Moshammer, B.: Application of a handheld X-ray fluorescence analyser to trace the provenance of Roman monuments of Neogene lithotypes to quarries in the Leitha Mountains, Hainburg Mountains and along the south-west border of the Vienna Basin, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-18871, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-18871, 2020.

D899 |
Paola Marini and Rossana Bellopede

The large family of sandstone covers stones with different grains, porosity, cement or matrix, compactness, chemical composition etc. and it is widely used as cladding stone, even in historic buildings. From literature, its decay is usually connected to the action of salts or to black crusts because of pollution.

Being sandstone a sedimentary rock deposited in layers, often the quarry produce material with a high variability in aspects and mechanical properties. This can be also evident in the resistance to decay shown in the monuments that is typical of each facies though it has been exposed for the same lapse of time and under similar climatic conditions. This is the case of Arenaria di Vicoforte used on the facade of the Vicoforte Sanctuary (Vicoforte - Mondovì) and probably on the external pilaster of the Monte dei Cappuccini church in Turin. Both the catholic monuments were designed by architect Ascanio Vitozzi at the end of the XVI century . It is possible to compare the high degree of weathering of the pilasters  of the Monte dei Cappuccini church with the good ageing behaviour shown by the Vicoforte Sanctuary sandstone.

Different durability tests were carried out: resistance to salt crystallisation, resistance to ageing due to SO2 action in the presence of humidity, frost resistance. The mass weight difference, method used to evaluate the forecast of decay in various european standardardized methodologies, does not always offer a satisfactory estimation of the decay of stone after salt crystallization while water absorption, which is well correlated to the physical mechanical characteristics of the stone, together with a visual inspection, is a good index of the decay in order to obtain a distinction, in terms of durability, between different sandstones even of a same geological district.

A visit to the quarry solved any doubts: two different facies of the Vicoforte sandstone were quarried, one yellowish and the other grey. The first, mainly silicatic, was used for the Sanctuary near the quarry, the grey one (with a carbonate content of 18%) could be the one sent to Turin.

The variability of the rock characteristics in the quarry should therefore be taken into account when evaluating the durability of the sandstone.

How to cite: Marini, P. and Bellopede, R.: Vicoforte sandstone in Cultural Heritage, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-19104, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-19104, 2020.

D900 |
Nadine Mattielli, Antoine Triantafyllou, Sébastien Clerbois, Gaël Brkojewitsch, Letizia Nonne, Nicolas Paridaens, and Nicolas Authom

Although several authors have previously reported the limited Roman quarrying activity in Corsica, recent research programs revealed a real basin of granitoid quarries in the archipelago of Lavezzi (Strait of Bonifacio, southern Corsica). A series of fundamental archaeological questions have arisen for which a geological expertise could provide new answers: (i) what was the quarrying strategy during Roman times in the Strait of Bonifacio area, (ii) is it possible to characterize and catalogue the quarried granitic rock materials and establish ‘quarry-to-monument’ relationships (i.e. comparisons with building stones and quarries), and (iii) how to identify and constrain the timing of major phases of quarrying activity (discrimination of Roman activities relative to modern footprints in the quarries)?

To achieve these goals, our geoarchaeological study proposes a pluri-disciplinary, innovative, non-destructive methodological strategy, coupling techniques of digital photogrammetry, field petrography, mineralogical and chemical analyses by portable magnetic susceptibilimeter (pMS) and portable X-Ray Fluorescence spectrometer (pXRF) respectively, and physical rock properties using a Schmidt Hammer. The field geochemical measurements were calibrated by laboratory major and trace element analyses on ICP-OES and HR-ICP-MS, respectively. Here, we present preliminary results of two field campaigns. These results indicate that a statistically significant number of measurements by pMS and pXRF from the same representative area of the studied rocks – natural rocks or building stones, can be used to discriminate different quarried sites and identifying distinct rock sources. Several profiles of rebound measurements at the rock surface using the Schmidt Hammer (indicative of the degree to which a rock surface has been weathered and by extension, exposed) might help revealing the initial volume of natural rock massifs before their initial extraction. Our study provides original and reproducible techniques contributing to significantly improve geoarchaeometric investigations and brings key information on the quarrying activity in southern Corsica during Roman times along with its implications on the Mediterranean commercial exchange trades.

How to cite: Mattielli, N., Triantafyllou, A., Clerbois, S., Brkojewitsch, G., Nonne, L., Paridaens, N., and Authom, N.: Geoarchaeological non-invasive techniques (pMS, pXRF, Schmidt Hammer) to study quarrying activity of the Corsican granites and the related monuments during the Roman period, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-22186, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-22186, 2020.

D901 |
Luis Lopes

The city of Évora, a World Heritage Site recognized by UNESCO in 1986, also owes this recognition to the stones that built its monuments and preserve them until today.

This work brings together the contributions that we have gathered over the past three decades and allow us to have a very complete idea, not only about the materials used in the hundreds of monuments and historic buildings but also about their provenance. If some materials are so emblematic that they allow an immediate identification with the naked eye, others needed more sophisticated and precise techniques so that there was no doubt about their origin.

The igneous rocks and gneisses of granite composition are part of the “Massif of Évora” on which the city is built. Thus, and quite naturally they are by far the most represented group in monuments from all historical periods. Its function is essentially structural, but there are also functional, ornamental and decorative objects. For example, the oldest megalithic structures found in the vicinity of the city are made up of large granite blocks that often had to be transported to their locations.

On the other hand, many gargoyles and statues that decorate the churches are also made up of these granite rocks. On these, the natural erosion of centuries of exposure to the environment has led to a state of alteration, sometimes very accentuated, which would justify its replacement by replicas sculpted in similar rocks. Provenance studies have made it possible to identify old quarries in the vicinity of the city where, on the one hand, the ancient rock extraction techniques can be observed and on the other hand, they allow the obtaining of the raw material necessary for these restoration and conservation works. In any case, they are places that need to be inventoried and protected, with the municipality already aware of their existence.

As well as the monuments of the Roman Period, also the structures of the Medieval Period, such as the city walls, the Cathedral (started to be built in 1186 AD) and all the great churches, were also built with these granitoids.

In addition to these rocks, many others of multiple varieties and origins are present. The marbles, especially the Estremoz Marbles (Global Heritage Stone Resource), are ubiquitous in the city, but there are also emblematic marbles from other places, some easily identifiable (ie Viana do Alentejo, Escoural, Trigaches, Serpa and Vila Verde de Ficalho, for presenting mineralogy, textures, colors and patterns which, together with more recent analytical techniques, have confirmed its provenance.

Sedimentary rocks, with emphasis on Portuguese Mesozoic limestones, ie Lioz - GHSR and Brecha da Arrábida - GHSR candidate, among others more rare and with very specific use in ornamental details, are also present and contribute to enrich a heritage in stone that makes this city so special and very popular with tourists of all nationalities.

Acknowledgments: the authors thank to FCT for funding the ICT (UID/GEO/04683/2019), as well as COMPETE POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007690.

How to cite: Lopes, L.: Heritage Building Stones from Évora, Portugal, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-22413, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-22413, 2020.