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Keywords:

  • rock weathering;
  • laboratory simulation;
  • rock thermal properties;
  • wetting–drying;
  • intertidal zone

ABSTRACT

The wetting–drying and warming–cooling behaviours of rock and stone are known to influence the nature and rate of weathering. The way materials warm-up and dry-out also influences their suitability as biological substrata. While rock thermal behaviours have been measured under controlled laboratory conditions, previous experiments have largely been restricted to terrestrial simulations due to practical constraints. Where efforts have been made to simulate intertidal conditions, expansion and contraction of rocks or rates of breakdown (i.e. sediment production and weight loss) have been measured, while detailed observations of thermal and drying behaviours have rarely been made.

A simple, semi-automated procedure is described that enabled measurement of surface temperatures and desorption (evaporative water loss) for different material types (rock and concrete) under simulated semidiurnal tide conditions. Some preliminary results are presented illustrating the types of data that were obtained, and comparisons are made with temperature data collected on a rock platform in the UK to assess the ability of the procedure to adequately represent field conditions. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.