Quarried marble is a popular material choice for kitchen countertops.
Natural quarried stone is any stone which is extracted from non-tunneling underground or surface quarries which gradually causes the pit-shape of the quarry to widen and deepen with each stone resource extraction. Quarries often fill with water, from either rain collection or from the passing of the groundwater table during extraction, which then must be pumped out. The three main types of rocks which are commonly extracted by a quarrying method are igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary types of stone. These stones are quarried for various purposes including to be used as building materials or to gather and separate out any valuable constituent minerals.
The Quarry Industry in the United States
Natural stone quarries can be found throughout the United States, especially in the New England, Midwest, Gulf Coastal South and Far West regions. Limestone gravel and decorative marble for building is extracted from quarries in Northern California, Alabama and Louisiana. Pink granite resources abound in the New England states of Vermont and Maine while gray and blue granite is quarried in the southern states of Georgia and Kentucky. Midwestern states, such as Iowa and Missouri, are known for limestone deposits and Ozark sandstone quarries.
Quarried Sedimentary Rocks
Sedimentary rocks form through Earth’s geological sedimentary processes which layer and compact its surface materials of dead vegetation, mud, sand and decomposed organic organisms into hardened rock form. These rocks include limestone, which is often used for gravel and construction, and the chalk used in classrooms and by athletes. Coal is quarried in open pits instead of traditional tunnel mining in some areas of West Virginia. Sandstone and iron ore are quarried for industrial usage. Sodium chloride, known as rock salt, is extracted from quarries for water softening, aquarium use, and food preservation, while chemically treated rock salt is prepared for winter road treatments.
Quarried Metamorphic Rock
Metamorphic rock varieties providing industrial resources valuable enough to be quarried are sedimentary rocks transformed by extensive depth and heat located further into the Earth’s crust. Newly created minerals are caused by the extra pressure and heat change effect upon sedimentary ingredients. Marble is a metamorphosed limestone commonly quarried for use in construction and home building. Quartzite, a transformed sandstone, is another popular building material for counter tops and for outdoor decorative fixtures because of its ability to weather well. Slate is quarried for road building material and gneiss was a popular quarry stone used by upper Midwestern settlers and ancient Egyptian dynastic builders.
Quarried Igneous Rocks
Igneous rocks extracted through open pit quarries are the oldest and deepest stone resources which erosion and time have uncovered. They form by the fiery volcanic processes of heating and cooling lava or deep magma. Granite is a quarried igneous rock in the United States demanded for its extremely hard and long-lasting building qualities. Many Eastern European castles and large eastern American colonial estate houses were built from quarried basalt. Pegmatite is a valuable igneous rock found in Sierra Mountain areas with a high density of created mineral components, such as mica, silica and rare metals.