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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/673

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ROCK-WEATHERING IN CHURCHYARDS.

respects we may regard the disintegration in towns as an exaggeration of the normal rate. Still, the difference between town and country may be less than might be supposed. Surfaces of stone are apt to get begrimed with dust and smoke, and the crust of organic and inorganic matter deposited upon them may in no small measure protect them from the greater chemical activity of the more acid town rain. In regard to the effect of daily or seasonal changes of temperature, on the other hand, any difference between town and country may not impossibly be on the side of the town. Owing, probably, to the influence of smoke in retarding radiation, thermometers placed in open spaces in town commonly mark an extreme nocturnal temperature not quite so low as those similarly placed in the suburbs, while they show a maximum day temperature not quite so high.

The illustrations of rock-weathering presented by city graveyards are necessarily limited to the few kinds of rock employed for monumental purposes. In this district the materials used are of three kinds: 1. Calcareous, including marbles and limestones; 2. Sandstones and flagstones; 3. Granites.

I. Calcareous.—With extremely rare exceptions, the calcareous tombstones in our graveyards are constructed of ordinary white saccharoid Italian marble. I have also observed a pink Italian shell marble and a finely fossiliferous limestone containing fragments of shells, foraminifera, etc.

In a few cases the white marble has been employed by itself as a monolith in the shape of an obelisk, urn, or other device; but most commonly it occurs in slabs which have been tightly fixed in a framework of sandstone. These slabs, from less than one to fully two inches thick, are generally placed vertically; in one or two examples they have been inserted in large horizontal sandstone slabs or "through-stanes." The form into which it has been cut and the position in which it has been erected have had considerable influence on the weathering of the stone.

A specimen of the common white marble employed for monumental purposes was obtained from one of the marble works of the city, and examined microscopically. It presented the well-known granular character of true saccharoid marble, consisting of rounded granules of clear, transparent calcite, averaging about 1/100 inch in diameter. Each granule has it own system of twin lamellations, and not unfrequently gives interference colors. The fundamental rhombohedral cleavage is everywhere well developed. Not a trace exists of any amorphous granular matrix or base holding the crystalline grains together. These seem molded into each other, but have evidently no extraordinary cohesion. A small fragment placed in dilute acid was entirely dissolved. There can be no doubt that this marble must be very nearly pure carbonate of lime.

The process of weathering in the case of this white marble pre-