Thornton Quarry

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Coordinates: 41°34′16″N87°37′19″W / 41.571°N 87.622°W / 41.571; -87.622

Geographic coordinate system Coordinate system

A geographic coordinate system is a coordinate system that enables every location on Earth to be specified by a set of numbers, letters or symbols. The coordinates are often chosen such that one of the numbers represents a vertical position and two or three of the numbers represent a horizontal position; alternatively, a geographic position may be expressed in a combined three-dimensional Cartesian vector. A common choice of coordinates is latitude, longitude and elevation. To specify a location on a plane requires a map projection.

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Overhead view of the quarry Thornton Quarry.jpg
Overhead view of the quarry

Thornton Quarry is one of the largest aggregate quarries in the world, located in Thornton, Illinois just south of Chicago. The quarry is 1.5 miles (2.5 km) long, 0.5 miles (1 km) wide, and 450 feet (137.16 m) deep at its deepest point. Gallagher Asphalt Corporation has been operating on the grounds of the quarry since 1928. A dryland dike carries Interstate 80/Interstate 294/Tri-State Tollway over the quarry.

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.

Quarry A place from which a geological material has been excavated from the ground

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.

Thornton, Illinois Village in Illinois, United States

Thornton is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The population was 2,338 at the 2010 census. Thornton is home to the Thornton Quarry, one of the largest quarries in the world.

Thornton Quarry with Interstate 80/Interstate 294/Tri-State Tollway above. Thornton Quarry2.jpg
Thornton Quarry with Interstate 80/Interstate 294/Tri-State Tollway above.

As part of the Chicago Deep Tunnel project, both Thornton Quarry and McCook Quarry will serve as reservoirs to reduce the backflow of stormwater and sewage from Chicago area rivers into Lake Michigan. [1] Thornton Transitional Reservoir contributes a 3.1-billion-US-gallon (12,000,000 m3) capacity to the system, and is expected to contribute 7.9 billion US gallons (30,000,000 m3) when the system is completed in 2014.

The Tunnel and Reservoir Plan is a large civil engineering project that aims to reduce flooding in the metropolitan Chicago area, and to reduce the harmful effects of flushing raw sewage into Lake Michigan by diverting storm water and sewage into temporary holding reservoirs. The megaproject is one of the largest civil engineering projects ever undertaken in terms of scope, cost and timeframe. Commissioned in the mid-1970s, the project is managed by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. Completion of the system is not anticipated until 2029, but substantial portions of the system have already opened and are currently operational. Across 30 years of construction, over $3 billion has been spent on the project.

It is estimated that the reservoir will help protect 500,000 people who live in the surrounding 14 suburbs it serves, and will save the city around $40 million worth of damages each year. [2]

The quarry contains Silurian reefs which formed when the Michigan Basin was covered in sea water more than 400 million years ago. [3]

The Silurian is a geologic period and system spanning 24.6 million years from the end of the Ordovician Period, at 443.8 million years ago (Mya), to the beginning of the Devonian Period, 419.2 Mya. The Silurian is the shortest period of the Paleozoic Era. As with other geologic periods, the rock beds that define the period's start and end are well identified, but the exact dates are uncertain by several million years. The base of the Silurian is set at a series of major Ordovician–Silurian extinction events when up to 60% of marine genera were wiped out.

Michigan Basin

The Michigan Basin is a geologic basin centered on the Lower Peninsula of the US state of Michigan. The feature is represented by a nearly circular pattern of geologic sedimentary strata in the area with a nearly uniform structural dip toward the center of the peninsula.

History

The first settlers came to Thornton, Illinois, in 1834. Gurdon Saltonstall Hubbard received 160 acres of land from Shabonna, his Indian wife. In 1836 Hubbard opened the first quarry on Kinzie Street. The site was abandoned because the stone was too deep and of poor quality. Fred Gardner opened a quarry in 1846, and Stephen Crary opened one in 1850. In the early 1900s, Brownell Improvement Company purchased the entire area. Colonel Hodgkins bought the property in 1920. The quarry north of Ridge Road was opened in 1924, and a tunnel connecting the north and south quarries was developed in 1926. Colonel Hodgkins died in 1929, and Brownell repurchased the quarry in 1933. Then in 1938, Material Service Corporation purchased the property and has owned it ever since.

Gurdon Saltonstall Hubbard American businessman

Gurdon Saltonstall Hubbard was an American fur trader, insurance underwriter, and land speculator. Hubbard first arrived in Chicago on October 1, 1818 as a voyageur. He went on to build Chicago's first stockyard and help foment a land boom for Chicago in the East.

Contract with MWRD

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) contracted to use the quarry for stormwater overflow in 1998 as part of the Deep Tunnel or Tunnel and Reclamation Project (TARP) for the metropolitan area. The Thornton Quarry supplies 7.9 billion gal US of stormwater storage, allowing the water to be treated before release into the waterways.

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References

  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2003-08-20. Retrieved 2005-12-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-12-06. Retrieved 2015-09-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. http://www.earthscape.org/t2/scr01/scr01ac.html%5B%5D