Morphology and mineralogy of weathering crusts on highly porous oolitic limestones, a case study from Budapest

Á Török, N. Rozgonyi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)


Black crusts are very common on limestones in polluted urban environments, but white crusts are less frequently developed. On the soft, porous and inherently weak oolitic limestone of Budapest both crusts are frequent, and indeed white ones are more common on the stone walls of the studied fortress. In this paper, black and white crusts and the host rock have been described using morphological criteria, mineralogical analyses (XRD, DTA), elements analyses (microprobe) and micro-morphological (SEM) tests. The analyses have shown that on white crusts the surface dissolution is combined with the precipitation of gypsum and calcite in the pores and accumulation of gypsum on the underside of the crust. Thin white crusts are removed by a combination of salt crystallisation (gypsum) and frost action while very thick stone layers scale off due to freeze-thaw cycles. Black crusts are enriched in gypsum relative to white crusts. Gypsum accumulates on the crust surface and signs of dissolution have not been observed. Airborne particulates (flyash, silt-sized quartz, and organic debris) adhere to the crust surface of sheltered black crusts. These particles are later incorporated into the expanding gypsum crystals, that are visible on the underside of the crust. The host rock also contains gypsum, but it is washed off the surface when the crust is removed. Further exposure of the host rock may lead to the dissolution of calcite crystals as it is observed by SEM. The micro-environment influences the crust formation and adherence of the crusts. On frequently wet and dry surfaces crust removal is more common. The crust serves as a protective layer on the stone surface, but this protection is temporary since trigger mechanisms such as salt crystallisation or frost action can cause rapid surface loss.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-349
Number of pages17
JournalEnvironmental Geology
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2004


  • Black crusts
  • Gypsum
  • Limestone
  • Mineralogy
  • SEM
  • Weathering
  • White crusts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Pollution
  • Soil Science

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