Background and Local Contributions to Acidic Deposition and their Relative Impact on Building Stone Decay: A Case Study of Northern Ireland

  • B. J. Smith
  • W. B. Whalley
  • R. W. Magee


Because it lies to the northwest of mainland Europe, Northern Ireland experiences little background atmospheric pollution. Urban areas such as Belfast can, however, experience high atmospheric concentrations of smoke and sulphur dioxide from local sources. In Belfast, sandstone decay (the principal building stone) can be severe and a wide range of salt weathering phenomena occur. Salts — primarily gypsum — can derive from particulate deposition, particularly of fly ash, or the reaction of mortars with atmospheric sulphur. Caution is urged in ascribing all stone decay to atmospheric pollution as similar breakdown is caused by salts from marine aerosols and spray, groundwater and road de-icing.


Atmospheric Pollution Road Salt Black Crust Quartz Sandstone Mortar Joint 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. J. Smith
    • 1
  • W. B. Whalley
    • 1
  • R. W. Magee
    • 1
  1. 1.School of GeosciencesQueen’s University of BelfastBelfast, Northern IrelandUK

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