Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The water which is mechanically held between the particles of a newly quarried rock, and which gradually disappears by evaporation when this is kept from exposure to the weather. A part of this water only disappears after the rock has been heated to the boiling-point, and this is usually called
hygroscopic moisture. The quantity of quarry-water held by rocks varies greatly in amount, according to their composition and texture. Some rocks which are so soft that they can be cut with a saw or chisel when freshly quarried become much harder after exposure to the air for a few weeks.
“Observations of this kind led Kuhlman to investigate the cause, and he believes that the hardening of rocks is not owing solely to the evaporation of quarry-water, but that it depends upon the tendency which all earthy matters possess to undergo a spontaneous crystallization by slow dessication, which commences the moment the rock is exposed to the air.”
“Soft and working well with the axe while it retains the quarry-water, it soon hardens by exposure; and, thus weathered, it forms the best and ugliest of the local building materials.”
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