Adapted ageing tests for the evaluation of alabaster used in the restoration of Bishop’s Palace of Tarazona




Gypsum, Decay, Weathering, Petrography, Physical properties


The advanced condition of deterioration of the column’s bases of the courtyard of the Bishop’s Palace of Tarazona (Spain) built in the middle of 16th century required its restoration with Aragonese alabaster. Thus, adapted ageing tests were developed to simulate the environmental conditions in which the stones were and will be exposed. These tests were thermal fatigue by temperature variations, acid rain and water stagna­tion by immersion tests and a combination of both agents of decay. The results indicated that alabaster did not experimented deformation after thermal fatigue but a progressive dehydration to bassanite. This process entailed an increase of porosity and consequently a loss of structural properties. The dissolution was measured as a lineal weight and volume loss while porosity and capillary uptake remained stable. The conclusions of this study establish the importance of restoration protocols to maintain the alabaster integrity when used and exposed to rainwater and insolation.


Download data is not yet available.


Cantos, O.; Criado, J. (2011) El alabastro, un mineral sin­gular. Reflexiones sobre su uso en las artes plásticas y la construcción, De las Artes 7:257-268.

Schofield, P.F.; Knight K.S.; Stretton, I.C. (1996) Thermal expansion of gypsum investigated by neutron powder dif­fraction. American Mineralogist. 81 [7-8], 847-851. https://

Cantos Martinez, O. (2011) El alabastro, un mineral sin­gular. Reflexiones sobre su uso en las artes plásticas y la construcción. In Aguilera Aragón, I., y Ona González, J. L. (coords.), Delimitación comarcal de Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Gobierno de Aragón, 257-268. https://www.academia. edu/35596392/_El_alabastro_un_mineral_singular.

Gisbert, J.; Galarreta, S. (2015) El alabastro: patología en su uso arquitectónico y metodología específica para su estudio, ReCoPaR N° 11, 8-17.

Malaga, K.; Schouenborg, B.; Grelk, B. (2008) Bowing and expansion of natural stone panels: marble and limestone testing and assessment, Mater. Construcc. 58 [289-290], 97-112.

Vázquez, P.; Siegesmund, S.; Alonso, F.J. (2011) Bowing of dimensional granitic stones. Environ. Earth Sci. 63 [7-8], 1603-1612.

Kloppmann, W.; Leroux, L.; Bromblet, P.; Guerrot, C.; Proust, E.; Cooper, A.H.; Worley, N.; Smeds, S.-A., Bengtsson, H. (2014) Tracing Medieval and Renaissance alabaster works of art back to quarries: a multi-isotope (Sr, S, O) Approach, Archaeometry 56 [2], 203-219

Criado, J. (1988) Maestre Guillaume Brimbeuf, ejemplo de las relaciones artísticas entre Aragón y Navarra a medi­ados del XVI. Príncipe de Viana 1er Congreso General de Historia de Navarra. 6. Comunicaciones, Pamplona, 1988: 73-86.

Monjo, J.; Bustamante, R.; Rodríguez-Monteverde, P.; Herrero, M.T., Martínez, L.; Cardona, L. (diciembre 2014), Estudio de consolidación del Palacio Episcopal de Tarazona, Fundación Tarazona Monumental.

Grossi, C.M.; Alonso, F.J.; Esbert, R.M., Rojo, A. (2007) Effect of laser cleaning on granite color. Color Research & Applic. 32 [2], 152-159.

Eyssautier-Chuine, S.; Marin, B.; Thomachot-Schneider, C.; Fronteau, G.; Schneider, A.; Gibeaux, S.; Vázquez, P. (2016) Simulation of acid rain weathering effect on natu­ral and artificial carbonate stones, Environ. Earth Sci. 75, [748], 1-19.

Arbotante Estudios Previos de Restauración (2016) Estudio petrográfico de muestras de alabastro procedentes del Palacio Episcopal de Tarazona. Dpto. Ciencias de la Tierra de la Universidad de Zaragoza.

ENTECSA Laboratorio de Ensayos Técnicos S.A. (1999) Características físico-mecánicas, Alabastro del Jiloca, Zaragoza.

Alfonso, P.; Parcerisa, D.; Grané, M.; Novoa, G. (2012) El alabastro de Fuentes de Jiloca: Patrimonio geológico e histórico. Geotemas 12, 19-22, https://www.researchgate. net/publication/277587782

Milsch, H.; Priegnitz, M. (2012) Evolution of micro­structure and elastic wave velocities in dehydrated gyp­sum samples. Geoph. Res. Lett. 39, 24.

Raines, M.A.; Dewers, T. A. (1997) Mixed transport/ reaction control of gypsum dissolution kinetics in aqueous solutions and initiation of gypsum karst. Chemic. Geolo. 140 [1-2], 29-48.

Kuechler, R.; Noack, K.; Zorn, T. (2004) Investigation of gypsum dissolution under saturated and unsaturated water conditions. Ecolog. Modell. 176 [1-2], 1-14.

Jeschke, A.A.; Vosbeck, K.; Dreybrodt, W. (2001) Surface controlled dissolution rates of gypsum in aqueous solutions exhibit nonlinear dissolution kinetics. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta. 65 [1], 27-34.

Hall, K. (2011) Natural building stone composed of light-transmissive minerals: impacts on thermal gradi­ents, weathering and microbial colonization. A prelimi­nary study, tentative interpretations, and future directions. Environ. Earth Sci. 62 [2], 289-297.

Koch, A.; Siegesmund, S. (2004) The combined effect of moisture and temperature on the anomalous expansion behaviour of marble. Environ. Geolo. 46 [3-4], 350-363.

Logan, J.M. (2004) Laboratory and case studies of ther­mal cycling and stored strain on the stability of selected marbles. Environ. Geolo. 46 [3-4], 456-467.

Milsch, H.; Priegnitz, M., Blöcher, G. (2011) Permeability of gypsum samples dehydrated in air. Geoph. Res. Lett. 38 [18].

Fusseis, F.; Schrank C.E.; Liu, J.; Karrech, A.; Llana- Funez, S.; Xiao, X. (2012) Pore formation during dehy­dration of a polycrystalline gypsum sample observed and quantified in a time-series synchrotron X-ray micro-tomography experiment. Solid Earth 3 [1], 71-86.



How to Cite

Bustamante, R., Vázquez, P., Rodríguez-Monteverde, P., & Monjo, J. (2020). Adapted ageing tests for the evaluation of alabaster used in the restoration of Bishop’s Palace of Tarazona. Materiales De Construcción, 70(338), e219.



Research Articles