Some common questions about quarrying are below. If you
have a question that we haven’t answered, email it to us
A quarry is a place where stone is dug from the ground. There
are two types of quarries: those that produce sand and gravel;
and those that produce harder rock. Rock quarries are deeper and
use explosives to blast the material from the ground. Shallower
deposits of sand and gravel are dug with a mechanical shovel.
We can also quarry gravel from the seabed. Explore the Virtual
Quarry to find out more.
Without quarrying, life as we know it could not exist. The products
from quarrying give us our homes, roads, hospitals... even our
schools! A typical family creates a need for about a lorry load
of stone every year.
Watch our video clip to see how quarries are a big part of a
child’s everyday life.
Modern houses are built almost entirely from materials made
- The bricks and roof tiles are made from clay
- The mortar that bonds the bricks is made from sand, lime and
- The foundations and blocks are made of concrete, - a mixture
of cement, aggregates and water
- The plaster is made from gypsum
- The glass in the windows is made using sand.
Limestone is one of the most useful of all rocks. It can be
used as a building or ornamental stone or crushed to make concrete
or roads. Finely ground limestone makes cement and iron, adds
calcium to animal feeds, lime for a variety of industrial and
agricultural processes... and much more.
Limestone is even used as an abrasive in your toothpaste! You
might be surprised at these other unusual uses for rocks:
- Ground chalk is added to bread to give us calcium
- Pills often contain white clay
- Salt is added to our food during cooking
- Clay is used in face creams.
Quarrying is a temporary rather than permanent use of the land.
Sand and gravel quarries are often restored in stages, perhaps
to farm land. Some quarries become nature reserves or sports pitches.
Visit the Virtual
Quarry website to restore your own quarry or watch a film
about amazing uses for old quarries.
Quarries are fascinating places to visit, but only if you’re
with people who are trained to keep you safe. Never go to a quarry
on your own. Many of the quarries across the UK host school visits
- ask your teacher to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
to find out more.