What is a gravel pit?
A gravel pit is a type of mine found within the earth. Gravel pits can contain any type of stone found within the earth’s surface. Often this aggregate is used for paving or to produce concrete. You can also find more decorative materials that can be used around your home. Gravel pits product a smaller sized stone, such as a ¾" or a 1-2".
Most of this material comes from an “open pit” mine or a quarry. An open pit mine refers to a site in which there is already a pit in the ground. This means you will not have to dig tunnels to reach material. When working with an open pit mine, you will find the mining process to be easier, more selective, and less expensive. For the sake of this article, we will be focusing on open pit mines because of how often they are used in obtaining stone material.
How do you get the material out?
To get the materials, you must mine the gravel pit. By utilizing heavy machinery such as front-end loaders, excavators and shovels, miners can dig away dirt and materials to reveal the pit. Miners will start to see layers of rock at this step. From here loaders can dig out the stone from the surface. It is most ideal to work in damp conditions to help alleviate dust and sand from the job site.
Cleaning the material
Next you must clean the materials. This is done by screening and washing the rock. You can learn more about this process in our previous blog post here.
When screening the material you are separating the stone by size. Our team typically separates the bigger stone from the smaller stone to create ideal blends perfect for any project. From here we then are able to wash the stone.
What happens if it runs out?
Eventually, the mining process will end, and it is time to clean up the site. Mining takes a large toll on the environment and it will need to be rehabilitated. The earth will be flattened out and vegetation will be planted in most cases. The area is typically fenced off and if the area is still deep, it will fill with water as the years go by. That's why "quarries" are popular spots across the US. Keep in mind, quarries are very dangerous places to swim and we would not recommend you doing so.
Gravel pits are found all over the country, each producing a different product. If you are interested in seeing a gravel pit yourself, click the following links to see a full list of quarries in NY and CT.