, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 547-557
Date: 25 Nov 2004

Weathering and deterioration of rock properties of the Dabotap pagoda (World Cultural Heritage), Republic of Korea

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The Bulkugsa Dabotap pagoda was built in AD 761, and designated as World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 1995. The ca. 270 blocks used in the construction of the pagoda consist mainly of white grey alkali granite with medium-grained equi-granular texture and small mialolitic cavities. Small quantities of biotite granite, granodiorite, gabbroic and tuffaceous rocks were also used. Some overlapping blocks are very damp. The pagoda body is inclined toward the northeast owing to differential loading. Fractures and artificial deterioration of the pagoda are not serious, but the surfaces of blocks show exfoliations that indicate granular decomposition of minerals. The supporting rocks and the round handrail of the octagonal second floor are too weathered to be treated and are being replaced. The roof stones on the first and second floor are seriously damaged because there is no drainage route for rainwater. The joints between blocks have fractures that cross each other; they have been further damaged by inserting concrete, cement mortar, rock fragments and iron plates. This has accelerated discoloration and fractures. Widespread colonization by algae, fungi, lichens and bryophytes has occurred on the margins and surfaces roof stones of the pagoda. Chemical treatment will be necessary to remove the vegetation cover.