Research on limestone decay in a polluting environment, Istanbul-Turkey

Tugrul A. , Zarif I.

ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY, vol.38, no.2, pp.149-158, 1999 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 38 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 1999
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s002540050410
  • Title of Journal : ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY
  • Page Numbers: pp.149-158


Istanbul, the capital of the east Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires embraces two continents, one arm reaching out to Asia, the other to Europe. It is therefore, a rich city in terms of monuments and historical cites. Shell limestones of Upper Miocene age are used as building stone in the majority of the monuments in Istanbul because of their attractiveness, availability and workability. The durability characteristics of the limestones are examined, and those factors that are responsible for atmospheric weathering are discussed, in a humid and marine environment with important problems of urban pollution, specifically due to traffic. In the present study weathering of the building stones were first examined in situ by macroscopic observations. The weathering that developed as a result of environmental effects since this limestone was first used in historical monuments has been affected 0.1-1.5 cm deep from the surface. The weathered facing stone of Sehzade Mehmed Mosque in Istanbul is undergoing a program of progressive replacement. During this study, samples were taken from this monument where the shell limestone was used. The stone surface was principally examined by means of Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). Petrographical and mineralogical analyses were made by using optical microscopy and X-ray diffraction method. The physico-chemical properties of these rocks control their weathering behaviour and reactivity. Major and trace element analyses and the effect of deterioration on the physical properties of the limestones (unit weight, porosity and water absorption) have also been investigated. Studies on the samples implies that weathering on the stone surface caused important variations on the physical characteristics of the rock.