A rock quarry is a large, deep pit used to extract target rocks that can be shaped, shipped, and sold for a variety of uses. A common example is limestone. Limestone is needed for a variety of building materials (chief among them as a strengthening ingredient for concrete). Marble, slate, and gypsum are also commonly excavated from rock quarries. A company owns the land, mines it and ships it wherever it’s needed.
A quarry serves as an above ground mine. There are some key differences between its operation and mine though that need to be addressed.
How does it differ from a traditional mine?
With few exceptions (i.e. for Bath stone), a rock quarry is an open pit. Most of the materials you’re looking for in a rock quarry are easily available at the surface, and make up the majority of the ground. Materials like limestone are found in large chunks at the surface level. It’s often found so densely packed at the surface that a mine is (1) unnecessary because you don’t have to dig deep and (2) impossible to upkeep as the rock takes up a majority of the ground. If you were to try to build a network of mines and get all of your target rock out of the area, the ground above you would lose all support, causing it to collapse on top of you.
In contrast, the mines are searching for rocks that don’t make up a majority of the ground. They’re looking for the “exceptions to the rule” and hence have to dig deep for it. They could technically run a quarry, but often the minerals they seek are so sparse and so deep that spending the money to work through all that rock wouldn’t be worth it.
Rock quarries are for sale throughout the states. People are looking to buy and sell their rock quarries because there’s a market for them. They take quite a bit of work to make functional, but once they’re up and running, they can turn good profits.
photo credit: AirmanMagazine