Capillary water absorption characteristics of some Cappadocian ignimbrites and the role of capillarity on their deterioration

  • İsmail DinçerEmail author
  • Meliha Bostancı
Original Article


Cappadocia stands out as one of the most important regions in Turkey for its natural, historical, and cultural heritages. The region is under the influence of wetting and drying and freezing and thawing weathering processes, which are largely controlled by the water content. Water migrates through rock pores via different processes, such as capillary water absorption, which is one of the most common ways observed in the Cappadocia region. In this study, a research program consisting mainly of laboratory studies was carried out to investigate the capillary water absorption characteristics of ignimbrites, which are the host rocks of many natural and historical heritage structures in Cappadocia. Accordingly, XRD analyses, mercury porosimeter, and capillary water absorption tests were performed. The pore size distribution, which is a function of welding degree, controls the capillary water absorption process of ignimbrites. Particularly, ignimbrites that have a uniform pore size distribution of around 5–10 µm reveal higher capillary water absorption potential. Ignimbrites have a considerable and variable potential in terms of capillarity, and the capillarity plays a major role on the deterioration and decomposition of many of the historical and natural heritage structures in the Cappadocia region.


Ignimbrite Capillarity Deterioration Anisotropy Cappadocia 



We are grateful to Dr. Mutluhan AKIN and Dr. Ahmet ORHAN for their constructive scientific discussion and excellent suggestions. We would also like to thank the Tufan KOÇYİĞİT for his help in laboratory studies. Constructive review by two anonymous reviewers is gratefully acknowledged. This study was financially supported by the Scientific Research Projects Office of Nevşehir Hacı Bektaş Veli University (Project Number NEÜBAP162F14).


  1. ASTMD4404 (1984) Standard test method for determination of pore volume and pore volume distribution of soil and rock by mercury intrusion porosimetry. Ann Book ASTM Stand 12(01):744–748Google Scholar
  2. Aydan Ö, Ulusay R (2003) Geotechnical and geoenvironmental characteristics of man-made underground structures in Cappadocia, Turkey. Eng Geol 69:245–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aydan Ö, Ulusay R (2013) Geomechanical evaluation of Derinkuyu Antique Underground City and its implications in geoengineering. Rock Mech Rock Eng 46:731–754CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Aydan Ö, Tano H, Watanabe H, Ulusay R, Tuncay E (2007) A rock mechanics evaluation of antique and modern rock structures in Cappadocia Region of Turkey. In: Proceedings of the symposium on the geology of Cappadocia, Nigde, pp 13–23 (in Turkish) Google Scholar
  5. Aydan Ö, Ulusay R, Tano H, Yüzer E (2008a) Studies on Derinkuyu Underground City and its implications in geo-engineering. In: Proceedings of the First Collaborative Symposium of Turkish-Japan Civil Engineers. İTÜ, İstanbul, pp 75–92Google Scholar
  6. Aydan Ö, Tano H, Ulusay R, Jeong GC (2008b) Deterioration of historical structures in Cappadocia (Turkey) and in Thebes (Egypt) in soft rocks and possible remedial measures. In: 2008 International Symposium on Conservation Science for Cultural Heritage. Seoul, pp 37–41Google Scholar
  7. Aydar E, Schmitt AK, Çubukçu HE, Akin L, Ersoy O, Şen E, Duncan RA, Atici G (2012) Correlation of ignimbrites in the central Anatolian volcanic province using zircon and plagioclase ages and zircon compositions. J Volcanol Geoth Res 213–214:83–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Beck K, Al-Mukhtar M, Rozenbaum O, Rautureau M (2003) Characterization, water transfer properties and deterioration in tufeau: building material in the Loire valley-France. Build Environ 38:1151–1162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Benavente D (2011) Why pore size is important in the deterioration of porous stones used in the built heritage. Revista De La Sociedad Española De Mineralogía, pp 41–42Google Scholar
  10. Benavente D, García del Cura MA, Bernabéu A, Ordóñez S (2001) Quantification of salt weathering in porous stones using an experimental continuous partial immersion method. Eng Geol 59(3–4):313–325CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Benavente D, Lock P, García del Cura MA, Ordóñez S (2002) Predicting the capillary imbibition of porous rocks from microstructure. Transp Porous Media 49:59–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Blows JF, Carey PJ, Poole AB (2003) Preliminary investigations into Caen Stone in the UK, use weathering and comparison with repair stone. Build Environ 38:1143–1149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cueto N, Benavente D, Martínez-Martínez J, García-del-Cura MA (2009) Rock fabric, pore geometry and mineralogy effects on water transport in fractured dolostones. Eng Geol 107(1–2):1–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Deere DU, Miller RP (1966) Engineering classification and index properties of intact rock. Technical Report No: AFNL-TR-65-116, Kirtland Air Force Base Weapons Laboratory, New MexicoGoogle Scholar
  15. Dinçer İ, Orhan A, Frattini P, Crosta GB (2016) Rockfall at the heritage site of the Tatlarin Underground City (Cappadocia, Turkey). Nat Hazards 82:1–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Druitt TH, Brenchley PJ, Gökten YE, Francaviglia V (1995) Late-quaternary rhyolitic eruptions from the Acıgöl Complex, central Turkey. J Geol Soc (Lond UK) 152:655–667CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ergüler ZA (2009) Field-based experimental determination of the weathering rates of the Cappadocian Tuffs. Eng Geol 105(3–4):186–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Franzen C, Mirwald PW (2004) Moisture content of natural stone: static and dynamic equilibrium with atmospheric humidity. Env Geol 46:391. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. ISRM (International Society for Rock Mechanics) (1981) Rock characterization, testing and monitoring. International Society of Rock Mechanics Suggested Methods, Pergamon Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  20. ISRM (International Society for Rock Mechanics) (2007) The complete ISRM suggested methods for rock characterization. In: Ulusay R, Hudson JA (eds), Testing and monitoring: 1974–2006Google Scholar
  21. Kaşmer Ö, Ulusay R (2013) Effects of geo-engineering characteristics of the soft tuffs and environmental conditions on the rock-hewn historical structures at Zelve Open Air Museum (Cappadocia, Turkey). Environ Eng Geosci 19(2):149–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kaşmer Ö, Ulusay R, Geniş M (2013) Assessments on the stability of natural slopes proneto toe erosion, and man-made historical semi-underground openings carved in soft tuffs at Zelve Open-Air Museum (Cappadocia, Turkey). Eng Geol 158:135–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Korkanç M (2007) The effect of geomechanical properties of ignimbrites on usuability as dimension stone. J Geol Eng 31(1):49–60 (in Turkish) Google Scholar
  24. Le Bas MJ, Lemaitre RW, Streckeisen A, Zanettin B (1986) A chemical classification of volcanic-rocks based on the total alkali silica diagram. J Petrol 27(3):745–750CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Le Pennec J-L, Bourdier J-L, Froger J-L, Temel A, Camus G, Gourgaud A (1994) Neogene ignimbrites of the Nevsehir Plateau (Central Turkey), stratigraphy, distributionand source constraints. J Volcanol Geoth Res 63:59–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. López-Doncel R, Wedekind W, Dohrmann R, Siegesmund S (2013) Moisture expansion associated to secondary porosity: an example of the Loseros Tuff of Guanajuato. Mex Environ Earth Sci 69(4):1189–1201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Middlemost EAK (1994) Naming minerals in the magma/igneous rock system. Earth Sci Rev 37:215–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. NBG (1985) Norwegian rock mechanics group: handbook in engineering geology—rock (in Norwegian). Tapir, TrondheimGoogle Scholar
  29. Orhan A, Dinçer İ (2015) Assessment of usability of nevşehir region ignimbrites as natural building material. Scientific Research Projects of Nevsehir Hacı Bektaş Veli University. Project No: NEÜBAP13F29 (in Turkish with Engilish Abstract, Unpublished Report) Google Scholar
  30. Özdemir A (2002) Capillary water sorption potentials of some building materials. J Geol Eng 26(1):19–32 (in Turkish) Google Scholar
  31. Özvan A, Dinçer İ, Akın M, Oyan V, Tapan M (2015) Experimental studies on ignimbrite and the effect of lichens and capillarity on the deterioration of Seljuk Gravestones. Eng Geol 185:81–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Pasquarè G (1968) Geology of the Cenozoic volcanic area of central Anatolia. Atti Accad Nazionale dei Lincei 9:55–204Google Scholar
  33. Pötzl C, Siegesmund S, Dohrmann R, Koning JM, Wedekind W (2018a) Deterioration of volcanic tuff rocks from Armenia: constraints on salt crystallization and hydric expansion. Environ Earth Sci 77:660. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Pötzl C, Dohrmann R, Siegesmund S (2018b) Clay swelling mechanism in tuff stones: an example of the Hilbersdorf Tuff from Chemnitz, Germany. Environ Earth Sci 77:188. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Quane SL, Russell JK (2005) Ranking welding intensity in pyroclastic deposits. Bull Volcanol 67:129–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Rietveld MJ (1969) A profile refinement method for nuclear and magnetic structure. J Appl Crystallogr 2:65–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Schmitt AK, Danišík M, Evans NJ, Siebel W, Kiemele E, Aydin F, Harvey JC (2011) Acigöl rhyolite field, Central Anatolia (part 1): high-resolution dating of eruption episodes and zircon growth rates. Contrib Miner Petrol. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Schumacher, Mues-Schumacher (1996) The Kizilkaya ignimbrite—an unusual low-aspect-ratio ignimbrite from Cappadocia, Central Turkey. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 70:107–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Siegesmund S, Snethlage R (2014) Stone in architecture. Springer, Berlin (ISBN: 978-3-642-45154-6) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Snethlage R (2005) Leitfaden zur Steinkonservierung (Guide to Stone Preservation). Fraunhofer IRB Verlag, StuttgartGoogle Scholar
  41. Sousa L, Siegesmund S, Wedekind W (2018) Salt weathering in granitoids: an overview on the controlling factors. Environ Earth Sci 77:502. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Stück H, Forgó LZ, Rüdrich J, Siegesmund S, Török A (2008) The behaviour of consolidated volcanic tuffs: weathering mechanisms under simulated laboratory conditions. Environ Geol 56:699. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Topal T, Doyuran V (1995) Effect of discontinuities on the development of fairy chimneys in the Cappadocia region (Central Anatolia-Turkey). Turk J Earth Sci 4:49–54Google Scholar
  44. Topal T, Doyuran V (1997) Engineering geological properties and durability assessment of the Cappadocian tuff. Eng Geol 47(1–2):175–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Topal T, Doyuran V (1998) Analyses of deterioration of the Cappadocian tuff, Turkey. Environ Geol. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Toprak V, Keller J, Schumacher R (1994) Volcano-tectonic features of the Cappadocian Volcanic Province. International Volcanological Congress IAVCEI-Ankara, Excursion GuideGoogle Scholar
  47. Török A, Forgo LZ, Vogt T, Lobens S, Siegesmund S, Weiss T (2016) The influence of lithology and pore-size distribution on the durability of acid volcanic tufts, Hungary. In: Piikryl R, Smith BJ (eds) Building stone decay: from diagnosis to conservation, vol 271. Geological Society, London, pp 251–260Google Scholar
  48. Tuğrul A (2004) The effect of weathering on pore geometry and compressive strength of selected rock types from Turkey. Eng Geol 75:215–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Tuncay E (2009) Rock rupture phenomenon and pillar failure in tuffs in the Cappadocia region (Turkey) Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 46:1253–1266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Ulusay R, Aydan Ö (2018) The 2016 Hans Cloos Lecture: geo-engineering aspects on the structural stability and protection of historical man-made rock structures: an overview of Cappadocia Region (Turkey) in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Bull Eng Geol Environ 77:457. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Ulusay R, Gökçeoğlu C, Topal T, Sönmez H, Tuncay E, Ergüler ZA, Kasmer Ö (2006) Assessment of environmental and engineering geological problems for the possible re-use of an abandoned rock-hewn settlement in Ürgüp (Cappadocia), Turkey. Environ Geol 50(4):473–449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Ulusay R, Aydan Ö, Geniş M, Tano H (2013) Stability assessment of Avanos Congress Centre (Cappadocia, Turkey) in soft tuffs through an integrated scheme of rock engineering methods. Rock Mech Rock Eng 46:1303–1321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. UNE-EN 1925 (1999) Natural stone test method. Determination of water absorption coefficient by capillarityGoogle Scholar
  54. Vázquez P, Alonso FJ, Esbert RM, Ordaz J (2010) Ornamental granites: relationships between p-waves velocity, water capillary absorption and the crack network. Constr Build Mater 24(12):2536–2541CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Wedekind W, López-Doncel R, Dohrmann R, Kocher M, Siegesmund S (2013) Weathering of volcanic tuff rocks caused by moisture expansion. Environ Earth Sci 69(4):1203–1224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Winkler EM (1997) Stone in architecture: properties, durability. Springer, BerlinCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Yıldız M, Özşahin YE, Soğancı AS (2010) Deteriorations on historical buildings due to capillarity; Aksaray Sultanhanı Caravansaray. Model BALWOIS 2010—Ohrid, Republic of Macedonia—25–29 May 2010Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geology Engineering, Engineering-Architecture FacultyNevşehir Hacı Bektaş Veli UniversityNevşehirTurkey

Personalised recommendations