Gravestone Weathering


In simple terms, weathering is the break down of rocks to form sediment.

Gravestones provide a useful means of observing and measuring the weathering of different types of rock over relatively long and easily measurable periods of time (100 to 300 years or more).

Within the UK, gravestones are widespread and made of a variety of local and imported natural stones. These gravestones provide information on how such materials behave under different climatic conditions and under different intensities of atmospheric pollution. Using such information may be of use in assessing the relative durability of different types of natural building materials.

The three fundamental types of weathering are:

  • Chemical Weathering – e.g dissolution by acid rain
  • Physical Weathering – e.g. freeze thaw action
  • Biological Weathering – e.g lichen growth

Weathering of the gravestones in St Pancras Gardens will probably be dominated by chemical weathering brought about by the acute atmospheric pollution of London, particularly in the vicinity of Euston Road where there is a concentration of vehicle exhaust fumes, containing sulphur oxides and nitrogen oxides.