Lichenic growth as a factor in the physical deterioration or protection of Cappadocian monuments

Garcia-Valles M., TOPAL T., Vendrell-Saz M.

ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY, vol.43, no.7, pp.776-781, 2003 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 43 Issue: 7
  • Publication Date: 2003
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00254-002-0692-y
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.776-781
  • Keywords: biomineralization, lichen, physical properties, tuff, weathering, Cappadocia, TURKEY


Cappadocian monuments that are within tuff have serious deterioration problems. Understanding the effects of lichens on the tuffs is of utmost importance. In this paper, interactions between lichen-coated surfaces of Cappadocian monuments and the rock substratum have been studied. Thin sections and freshly cut sections were investigated by light and scanning electron microscopy. The presence of clay minerals and zeolites as weathering by-products produced by alteration and hydrolysis of glass and feldspars was assessed by XRD patterns. Furthermore, some physical properties of the tuff coated by and free of lichens were measured and compared. Analysis of mineralogical data has shown that the main weathering mechanism can be identified as hydrolysis of some of the rock-forming minerals. The lichenic coat reduces the presence of water inside the rock, thus protecting the rock material from physical decay and disintegration.