Origin of salts in stone monument degradation using sulphur and oxygen isotopes: First results of the Bourges cathedral (France)
The crystallisation of soluble sulphate salts is one of the most important factors of stone monument degradation. The origin of these salts is variable: Marine, air pollution, building or restoration material. The lack of certainty about these sources represents a problem for restoration campaigns. The use of sulphur and oxygen isotopic tracers allows to discriminate the origins of materials and some stone deterioration patterns like black crusts (e.g. [Šrámek J., 1988. Sulfur Isotopes in the revealing corrosion mechanism of stones. 6th International Congress on Deterioration and Conservation of Stone,. Proceedings, ed. J. Ciabach. Nicholas Copernicus University, Torun, Poland, 341-345.]). First results obtained on the Bourges cathedral (France) show that the sulphur and oxygen isotopic composition of sulphates from external (atmospheric pollution) and internal (mortars, plasters and sulphates coming from stone sulphide oxidation) origins constitute well differentiated poles. The isotopic composition of sulphates implied in different stone deterioration patterns is well explained by a combination of these poles. The present study will be extended to other French monuments located in different lithological and hydroclimatic settings where contributions of sea salts and ancient chemical treatments are suspected. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.