Case hardening: Turning weathering rinds into protective shells

Ronald Dorn, William C. Mahaney, David H. Krinsley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Case hardening is the process by which the outer shell of an exposed rock surface hardens due to near-surface diagenesis. Rock coatings and weathering rinds are distinct phenomena: rock coatings accrete on surfaces; weathering rinds derive from mineral dissolution and mechanical fracturing of the outer millimeters of a rock to create porosity. Ongoing reaction with rain, dew, or melted snow results in the downward migration of rock-coating components into weathering-rind pores. Initially, pore infilling protects the outer surface of the rock from flaking. As case hardening progresses, however, ongoing mineral dissolution underneath the casehardened zone eventually leads to detachment. This sudden loss can destroy rock art, the surfaces of stone monuments, and facing stones of buildings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-169
Number of pages5
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2017


  • Case hardening
  • Diagenesis
  • Rock coating
  • Weathering rinds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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