What is a gravel pit?

Gravel pits are also known as quarries.

A gravel pit is a type of mine that is exposed to the surface of the earth. Although much of the mining is done deep in the ground, a gravel pit is used to extract materials located close to the surface of the earth. These mines start out as relatively small holes, or voids, and get bigger and bigger as more mining is completed. Gravel pits may also be called quarries or open pit mines in some parts of the world.

Mining a gravel pit presents several challenges for miners.

Gravel consists of small rocks that are used as aggregates in concrete or paving. This material is also used to create a structural foundation for a roadway or to aid in soil drainage. Different types of gravel are also placed around the beds to serve as decoration and as a form of weed control. A gravel pit that provides this type of small stone usually does not include any type of slab or larger stones. Some gravel pits, however, may naturally include metals or minerals that can be mined along with the gravel.

The gravel is washed and processed before being sent to manufacturing companies.

To build a gravel pit, miners start by removing the topsoil and subsurface layers of earth using large removal machines. This reveals the layers of rock and gravel below the surface so these materials can be easily extracted using front loaders and other large machines. Then the gravel is subjected to washing and processing before being sent to asphalt plants or other manufacturing facilities.

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Quarries often produce crushed stone for use in gravel.

While a gravel trench serves as a simple and effective method of extracting gravel from the ground, it also poses a number of challenges for miners. As workers dig below the local water table, these wells gradually fill with water, which can make mining difficult. In this type of situation, workers can dredge the gravel underneath and simply let the water fill the pit. Other times, miners rely on large pumps to temporarily remove water to allow the extraction process to continue.

Gravel is often used as an aggregate in concrete or paving.

After all the gravel has been removed, these pits are often abandoned by workers. Many communities have tried to rehabilitate these wells using them as artificial lakes. The water-filled gravel pits often serve as nature reserves or recreation areas, allowing users to take advantage of opportunities for swimming and boating. Many communities introduce freshwater fish to these abandoned gravel pits so the area can serve local fishing enthusiasts. If the gravel pit is located at a high altitude and does not fill with water, mining companies or communities can establish grass and trees on the site to help rehabilitate the land.

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