Characterisation of monzogranitic batholiths as a supply source for heritage construction in the northwest of Madrid

Rafael Fort, Monica Alvarez de Buergo, Elena Perez-Monserrat, Maria Jose Varas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The Church of the Assumption of Our Lady, in Valdemorillo (Madrid, Spain) is almost entirely built with granitoids. The studies and analyses were focused on the oldest part of the building (Ghosts Corner), which will be restored and rehabilitated in the near future. Homogeneous monzogranite is the predominant granitoid used in the Ghosts Corner, followed by granitic porphyry, porphyrytic monzogranite, gneiss and leucogranite. The original quarries that supplied homogeneous monzogranites for the first construction stages correspond to blocks present in the monument's surroundings. Quarries that supplied the granitic porphyries correspond to the dykes located to east-southeast of Valdemorillo, which are oriented N-S in relation to their intrusion direction. The combined use of ultrasonic velocity and Schmidt hammer techniques allowed, first, selection of the most representative blocks and ashlars for sampling. This reduced sampling to a minimum, but yielded representative results for the whole building. Second, the combined values were used to compare results for the building stones of the church to rocks from the surrounding quarries. Stones from the building showed lower ultrasonic and Schmidt hammer values, and higher porosity and water saturation values compared to the original quarry rocks. The anisotropy indices are directly related to the decay processes in the stone: spalling of homogeneous monzogranite and grain disintegration in granitic porphyries. Finally, the methods applied are inexpensive, easy to use and non-destructive techniques, very advisable properties when working with built heritage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-157
Number of pages9
JournalEngineering Geology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was financed by the Heritage General Directorate of Comunidad de Madrid (Regional Government of Madrid) . The authors are also grateful to the MATERNAS programme (Durability and Conservation of Natural Traditional Materials for Architectural Heritage), which is also financed by Comunidad de Madrid (0505/MAT/94) , to the CONSOLIDER programme (Technologies for the preservation and revalorisation of Cultural Heritage, CSD2007-0058) and to the Research Group financed by the Complutense University of Madrid "Alteration and Conservation of heritage stone materials (ref. 921349). The parish priest of Valdemorillo church is thanked for his helpful assistance.


  • Granites
  • Provenance quarries
  • Schmidt hammer
  • Stone heritage
  • Ultrasonic velocity
  • Weathering


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterisation of monzogranitic batholiths as a supply source for heritage construction in the northwest of Madrid'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this