20080921

The rock quarry in Gabenchopf


Regular readers will know about the local Holcim cement plant and its rock conveyor belt that crosses Villigen. Yesterday they had an Open House (Tag der offenen Tür) with tours through the factory (Zementfabrik) and to their quarry (Steinbruch) in the hills of Villigen. Limestone and clay, a couple of components of cement, have been extracted from the quarry since 1954.

Explosives are used to break away the stone and there are no more than two controlled explosions per week. They're careful about making sure the vibrations from these don't cause any damage to the houses in the vicinity and they publish weekly reports on their measurements. Link for the curious, in German. The allowed maximum is 6 mm/s for historical buildings while Holcim imposes a stronger restriction of 3 mm/s. According to them, they've never come close to this value. It seems they even have a portable detector available to residents who want to measure the vibrations in their homes.

Here's an aerial view via Google maps (the big splotch on the left half)
Villigen and the Steinbruch

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6 comments:

Abraham Lincoln said...

I found the post interesting because we have what is called a Gravel Pit which is a "deep" and very large in diameter place that mines limestone and I have been there down in the pit (it is miles around in diameter) to pick up a few slabs of limestone. I am always amazed at the amount of limestone they have removed over generations and it about 90 percent is crushed down into various sizes of crushed stone or gravel. Giant trucks haul it out of there every day.

Julie said...

Yee-hah ... the great scar is exposed!

How big do you think an average person would be against those trucks in the pit - 6' tall chap might reach half-way up the tyre do you think?

There was an island in the Pacific - hang on whilst I google it - mmm cannot find it - but there WAS an island in the Pacific that dug so much concret that it dug itself out of existence.

Will you tell us more about the quarry as the week progresses, please?

Z said...

Julie: More than halfway up the tire. Maybe they're 8' tall tires, I suppose I can try to find the measurements. I'll do that if I get the time. And yes, I plan to post a few more photos from the visit, though not necessarily from the quarry. We didn't get to spend too much time in the pit.

Kris said...

It’s interesting that the quarry is so close to houses. It must be fun to live next door when they start blasting!

Rambling Round said...

I imagine that gets loud! But there must be quarries to get all those beautiful stones.

Z said...

Kris: Certainly in Villigen we don't hear or feel anything as far as I've noticed.

RR: I've never been near enough to the place to have ever heard anything. All the output of this quarry goes into making cement which is then used to make concrete: a very popular building material here.