Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society

Marli De Jongh

Research interests:

I am interested in identify clay minerals present in sandstones and how these clay minerals influence weathering. I am also interested in how clay minerals interact with other parameters to influence decay (e.g. porosity, presence of salts, external environment).

Career history:

Completed an undergraduate bachelors degree with honours at the University of Glasgow (Sept 2013-Sept 2017).

Recently began a Ph.D focussing on the analysis of clay-rich sandstones used in the built heritage of Scotland.

Active research projects:

Title: Sustaining Scotland’s clay-rich sandstone buildings


Historic Environment Scotland (HES) protect and maintain a number of heritage sites across Scotland. Recently, some sandstone derived heritage sites have shown signs of rapid weathering – thought to be the result of ‘swelling clays’ present in the stone. Swelling clays physically expand and contract when interacting with water, creating stresses in the stone fabric which can lead to fracturing and subsequently, enhanced weathering. Weathering of clay-rich building material is an area of research typically not well understood, specifically with regard to porous rocks such as sandstone. This project aims to analyse sandstone from a variety of buildings and quarries around Scotland in an attempt to better understand the decay mechanisms associated with clay-rich sandstones. It will also be considered how climate change may affect the condition of the built heritage with climate projections for Scotland estimating more frequent and longer lasting precipitation events.

Recent publications:

Recently submitted an abstract to the annual Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology (SEAHA) conference titled: ‘Sustaining Scotland’s clay-rich sandstone buildings’.

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