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Carrara quarry in Tuscany, Italy Carrara-panorama delle cave4.jpg
Carrara quarry in Tuscany, Italy
Portland stone quarry on the Isle of Portland, England PortlandQuarry.jpg
Portland stone quarry on the Isle of Portland, England
An abandoned construction aggregate quarry near Adelaide, South Australia Stone quarry adelaide.JPG
An abandoned construction aggregate quarry near Adelaide, South Australia
An abandoned stone quarry in Kerala, India Stone Quarry Kerala.JPG
An abandoned stone quarry in Kerala, India
Stone quarry in Soignies, Hainaut (province), Belgium 0 Carrieres du Hainaut a Soignies (2).JPG
Stone quarry in Soignies, Hainaut (province), Belgium
Matera quarry in Basilicata, Italy Cava Matera Inerti.png
Matera quarry in Basilicata, Italy
Prospect quarry gap in Sydney, Australia Prospect Quarry.jpg
Prospect quarry gap in Sydney, Australia

A quarry is a type of open-pit mine in which dimension stone, rock, construction aggregate, riprap, sand, gravel, or slate is excavated from the ground.


The word quarry can also include the underground quarrying for stone, such as Bath stone.

Types of rock

Types of rock extracted from quarries include:

Methods of quarrying

The method of removal of stones from their natural bed by using different operations is called quarrying. Methods of quarrying include:

Following steps are used in the blasting process;


Many quarry stones such as marble, granite, limestone, and sandstone are cut into larger slabs and removed from the quarry. The surfaces are polished and finished with varying degrees of sheen or luster. Polished slabs are often cut into tiles or countertops and installed in many kinds of residential and commercial properties. Natural stone quarried from the earth is often considered a luxury and tends to be a highly durable surface, thus highly desirable.


Extraction work in a marble quarry in Carrara, Italy Carrara 12.JPG
Extraction work in a marble quarry in Carrara, Italy

Quarries in level areas with shallow groundwater or which are located close to surface water often have engineering problems with drainage. Generally the water is removed by pumping while the quarry is operational, but for high inflows more complex approaches may be required. For example, the Coquina quarry is excavated to more than 60 feet (18 m) below sea level.

To reduce surface leakage, a moat lined with clay was constructed around the entire quarry. Groundwater entering the pit is pumped up into the moat. As a quarry becomes deeper, water inflows generally increase and it also becomes more expensive to lift the water higher during removal; this can become the limiting factor in quarry depth. Some water-filled quarries are worked from beneath the water, by dredging.

Many people and municipalities consider quarries to be eyesores and require various abatement methods to address problems with noise, dust, and appearance. One of the more effective and famous examples of successful quarry restoration is Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC, Canada.

A further problem is pollution of roads from trucks leaving the quarries. To control and restrain the pollution of public roads, wheel washing systems are becoming more common.

Quarry lakes

Many quarries naturally fill with water after abandonment and become lakes. Others are made into landfills.

Water-filled quarries can be very deep, often 50 ft (15 m) or more, and surprisingly cold, so swimming in quarry lakes is generally not recommended. Unexpectedly cold water can cause a swimmer's muscles to suddenly weaken; it can also cause shock and even hypothermia. [1] Though quarry water is often very clear, submerged quarry stones and abandoned equipment make diving into these quarries extremely dangerous. Several people drown in quarries each year. [2] [3] However, many inactive quarries are converted into safe swimming sites. [4] [5]

Such lakes, even lakes within active quarries, can provide important habitat for animals. [6]

Rummu karjaar1.jpg
An abandoned limestone quarry in Rummu, Estonia.

See also

Related Research Articles

Limestone Sedimentary rocks made of calcium carbonate

Limestone is a carbonate sedimentary rock that is often composed of the skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral, foraminifera, and molluscs. Its major materials are the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). A closely related rock is dolomite, which contains a high percentage of the mineral dolomite, CaMg(CO3)2. In old USGS publications, dolomite was referred to as magnesian limestone, a term now reserved for magnesium-deficient dolomites or magnesium-rich limestones.

Mining The extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the Earth

Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the Earth, usually from an ore body, lode, vein, seam, reef or placer deposit. These deposits form a mineralized package that is of economic interest to the miner.

Underground mining (hard rock) underground mining techniques used to excavate hard minerals

Underground hard rock mining refers to various underground mining techniques used to excavate hard minerals, usually those containing metals such as ore containing gold, silver, iron, copper, zinc, nickel, tin and lead, but also involves using the same techniques for excavating ores of gems such as diamonds or rubies. Soft rock mining refers to excavation of softer minerals such as salt, coal, or oil sands.

Gravel Mix of crumbled stones: grain size range between 2 – 63 mm according to ISO 14688

Gravel is a loose aggregation of rock fragments. Gravel is classified by particle size range and includes size classes from granule- to boulder-sized fragments. In the Udden-Wentworth scale gravel is categorized into granular gravel and pebble gravel. ISO 14688 grades gravels as fine, medium, and coarse with ranges 2 mm to 6.3 mm to 20 mm to 63 mm. One cubic metre of gravel typically weighs about 1,800 kg.

Open-pit mining surface mining technique of extracting rock or minerals from the earth

Open-pit, open-cast or open cut mining is a surface mining technique of extracting rock or minerals from the earth by their removal from an open pit or borrow.

Gravel pit open-pit mine for the extraction of gravel

A gravel pit is an open-pit mine for the extraction of gravel. Gravel pits often lie in river valleys where the water table is high, so they may naturally fill with water to form ponds or lakes. Old, abandoned gravel pits are normally used either as nature reserves, or as amenity areas for water sports, landfills and walking. In addition, many gravel pits in the United Kingdom have been stocked with freshwater fish such as the common carp to create coarse fishing locations. Gravel and sand are mined for concrete, construction aggregate and other industrial mineral uses.

Mining engineering Engineering discipline that involves the practice, the theory, the science, the technology, and applicatIon of extracting and processing minerals from a naturally occurring environment

A mining engineer is somebody who is academically accomplished in the engineering discipline of extraction of minerals from underneath the ground, above the ground or on it. Mining engineering is associated with many other disciplines, such as mineral processing, exploration, excavation, geology, and metallurgy, geotechnical engineering and surveying. A mining engineer may manage any phase of mining operations – from exploration and discovery of the mineral resource, through feasibility study, mine design, development of plans, production and operations to mine closure.

Tunnel boring machine machine used to excavate circular tunnels through a variety of soil and rock strata

A tunnel boring machine (TBM), also known as a "mole", is a machine used to excavate tunnels with a circular cross section through a variety of soil and rock strata. They may also be used for microtunneling. They can be designed to bore through anything from hard rock to sand. Tunnel diameters can range from one metre (3.3 ft) to 17.6 metres (58 ft) to date. Tunnels of less than a metre or so in diameter are typically done using trenchless construction methods or horizontal directional drilling rather than TBMs. TBMs can also be designed to excavate non-circular tunnels, including u-shaped/horseshoe and square or rectangular tunnels.

Drilling rig Integrated system that drills wells

A drilling rig is an integrated system that drills wells, such as oil or water wells, in the earth's subsurface. Drilling rigs can be massive structures housing equipment used to drill water wells, oil wells, or natural gas extraction wells, or they can be small enough to be moved manually by one person and such are called augers. Drilling rigs can sample subsurface mineral deposits, test rock, soil and groundwater physical properties, and also can be used to install sub-surface fabrications, such as underground utilities, instrumentation, tunnels or wells. Drilling rigs can be mobile equipment mounted on trucks, tracks or trailers, or more permanent land or marine-based structures. The term "rig" therefore generally refers to the complex equipment that is used to penetrate the surface of the Earth's crust.

Borehole mining

Borehole Mining (BHM) is a remote operated method of extraction (mining) of mineral resources through boreholes based on in-situ conversion of ores into a mobile form (slurry) by means of high pressure water jets (hydraulicking). This process can be carried-out from land surface, open pit floor, underground mine or floating platform or vessel through pre-drilled boreholes.

Surface mining broad category of mining

Surface mining, including strip mining, open-pit mining and mountaintop removal mining, is a broad category of mining in which soil and rock overlying the mineral deposit are removed, in contrast to underground mining, in which the overlying rock is left in place, and the mineral is removed through shafts or tunnels.

Drilling and blasting

Drilling and blasting is the controlled use of explosives and other methods such as gas pressure blasting pyrotechnics, to break rock for excavation. It is practiced most often in mining, quarrying and civil engineering such as dam, tunnel or road construction. The result of rock blasting is often known as a rock cut.

Drilling fluid Aid for drilling boreholes into the ground

In geotechnical engineering, drilling fluid, also called drilling mud, is used to aid the drilling of boreholes into the earth. Often used while drilling oil and natural gas wells and on exploration drilling rigs, drilling fluids are also used for much simpler boreholes, such as water wells. One of the functions of drilling mud is to carry cuttings out of the hole.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Storm Water Management Model is a dynamic rainfall–runoff–subsurface runoff simulation model used for single-event to long-term (continuous) simulation of the surface/subsurface hydrology quantity and quality from primarily urban/suburban areas. It can simulate the Rainfall- runoff, runoff, evaporation, infiltration and groundwater connection for roots, streets, grassed areas, rain gardens and ditches and pipes, for example. The hydrology component of SWMM operates on a collection of subcatchment areas divided into impervious and pervious areas with and without depression storage to predict runoff and pollutant loads from precipitation, evaporation and infiltration losses from each of the subcatchment. Besides, low impact development (LID) and best management practice areas on the subcatchment can be modeled to reduce the impervious and pervious runoff. The routing or hydraulics section of SWMM transports this water and possible associated water quality constituents through a system of closed pipes, open channels, storage/treatment devices, ponds, storages, pumps, orifices, weirs, outlets, outfalls and other regulators. SWMM tracks the quantity and quality of the flow generated within each subcatchment, and the flow rate, flow depth, and quality of water in each pipe and channel during a simulation period composed of multiple fixed or variable time steps. The water quality constituents such as water quality constituents can be simulated from buildup on the subcatchments through washoff to a hydraulic network with optional first order decay and linked pollutant removal, best management practice and low-impact development removal and treatment can be simulated at selected storage nodes. SWMM is one of the hydrology transport models which the EPA and other agencies have applied widely throughout North America and through consultants and universities throughout the world. The latest update notes and new features can be found on the EPA website in the download section. Recently added in November 2015 were the EPA SWMM 5.1 Hydrology Manual and in 2016 the EPA SWMM 5.1 Hydraulic Manual and EPA SWMM 5.1 Water Quality Volume (III) + Errata

Construction aggregate broad category of coarse particulate material used in construction

Construction aggregate, or simply aggregate, is a broad category of coarse- to medium-grained particulate material used in construction, including sand, gravel, crushed stone, slag, recycled concrete and geosynthetic aggregates. Aggregates are the most mined materials in the world. Aggregates are a component of composite materials such as concrete and asphalt concrete; the aggregate serves as reinforcement to add strength to the overall composite material. Due to the relatively high hydraulic conductivity value as compared to most soils, aggregates are widely used in drainage applications such as foundation and French drains, septic drain fields, retaining wall drains, and roadside edge drains. Aggregates are also used as base material under foundations, roads, and railroads. In other words, aggregates are used as a stable foundation or road/rail base with predictable, uniform properties, or as a low-cost extender that binds with more expensive cement or asphalt to form concrete.

Completion (oil and gas wells) last operation for oil and gas wells

Well completion is the process of making a well ready for production after drilling operations. This principally involves preparing the bottom of the hole to the required specifications, running in the production tubing and its associated down hole tools as well as perforating and stimulating as required. Sometimes, the process of running in and cementing the casing is also included. After a well has been drilled, should the drilling fluids be removed, the well would eventually close in upon itself. Casing ensures that this will not happen while also protecting the wellstream from outside incumbents, like water or sand.

Outline of mining Overview of and topical guide to mining

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to mining:

A down-the-hole drill, usually called DTH by most professionals, is basically a mini jackhammer screwed on the bottom of a drill string. The fast hammer action breaks hard rock into small flakes and dust and is blown clear by the air exhaust from the DTH hammer. The DTH hammer is one of the fastest ways to drill hard rock. Now smaller portable drillcat drilling rigs with DTH hammers can drill as fast as much larger truck rigs with this newer technology. The system is thought to have been invented independently by Stenuick Frères in Belgium and Ingersoll Rand in the USA in the mid-1950s.

Stoping mining process leaving behind an open space known as a stope

Stoping is the process of extracting the desired ore or other mineral from an underground mine, leaving behind an open space known as a stope. Stoping is used when the country rock is sufficiently strong not to collapse into the stope, although in most cases artificial support is also provided.

Digging process of removing material from a solid surface

Digging, also referred to as excavation, is the process of using some implement such as claws, hands, manual tools or heavy equipment, to remove material from a solid surface, usually soil or sand on the surface of the Earth. Digging is actually the combination of two processes, the first being the breaking or cutting of the surface, and the second being the removal and relocation of the material found there. In a simple digging situation, this may be accomplished in a single motion, with the digging implement being used to break the surface and immediately fling the material away from the hole or other structure being dug.


  1. "American Canoe Association explanation of cold shock". Enter.net. Archived from the original on 2012-06-16. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  2. "US Dept. of Labor list of mine related fatalities". Msha.gov. Archived from the original on 2012-03-09. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  3. "on quarry drownings". Geology.com. 2007-11-03. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  4. "Centennial Beach - History". www.centennialbeach.org. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  5. "City of Coral Gables - Venetian Pool". www.coralgables.com. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  6. Sievers, Michael (19 May 2017). "Sand quarry wetlands provide high-quality habitat for native amphibians". Web Ecology. 17 (1): 19–27. doi: 10.5194/we-17-19-2017 .

S.K Duggal "Building Materials" (2003) 3rd revised edition https://www.atlasobscura.com/categories/quarries