A quarry is where sand, rock, and minerals are extracted from the Earth in an open pit. This is as compared to a mine, which serves the same purpose, except that it is located below the Earth’s surface and is accessed by way of shafts and tunnels
Quarries have been used for thousands of years to remove material from the Earth. It is known that the ancient Egyptians obtained the rocks used to build the pyramids from quarries. Even today, a Granite Quarry is the source of products used in a wide variety of ways across America.
History to Today
There was a time when only the most rudimentary tools were used in quarries. These consisted primarily of picks, hammers, and chisels made of stone or metals such as iron or bronze. Today, however, those working in quarries use modern tools made for drilling, blasting, cutting, and hauling the rock.
Dimension Stones and Aggregate
A considerable amount of what is derived from quarries is called aggregate, primarily gravel, sand, and crushed rock used in construction. Aggregates consist mainly of the following:
- Silica Sand
- And more
Another type of rock cut from quarries is called dimension stone, which is cut in whole form from the source. Dimension stones are used in the construction of buildings and monuments and to decorate the exteriors of buildings. Headstones are also considered to be dimension stones.
Dimension stones are probably best known as where granite counter tops and some roofing shingles come from. Dimension stones can be used in a variety of applications.
Why Do We Still Need Quarries?
With so many other modern building materials available, it seems natural that the question would be asked, “Why do we still need quarries?” Quite simply, because the need for the materials that are removed from quarries is still immensely useful. In fact, take a walk or a drive practically anywhere, and the chances are excellent that you will encounter a quarried product. Further, there are quarried materials that are not so obvious, such as that which is used on road building, the creation of electricity, and much more.
Quarries for Tomorrow
Although most people might consider the materials derived from quarries to be finite, to a great extent, it isn’t. Although the materials that come from quarries are only removed once, the variety of uses for these products is practically endless. This is since products have an initial use, there’s a good chance that they will end up being used in other ways later in their lifetimes. For example, a piece of granite might be cut originally for as a kitchen counter top, but after a home is torn down, it might be crushed to be used in roadway construction.
Most quarry owners are committed to finding and implementing sustainable methods of finding, mining, and using the products they gather. This makes quarrying one of the most sustainable and ecologically responsible businesses to be found anywhere. Further, as the world finds new ways to use the products produced from quarries, there can be little doubt that owners and managers will be there creating new methods to make their products in ways that will maximize their use for the betterment of everyone.