Issue #30: The Stone Circle - Limestone Cavern & Quarries

December 30, 2005

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In This Stone Circle Issue:
  • What's New at Natural Stone Interiors?
  • Idea this month: Limestone Cavern
  • Hints and Tips From the Fabricator: Reclaimed Quarries.
  • Recap of the months "Question of the Week"

What's new this month at Natural Stone Interiors?

Happy New Year!!!

It's that time once again... time to dream, to plan, and to set new goals for the coming year. I love this time of year! For me, the New Year is like a new beginning. Reevaluating the past and planning and dreaming about the future. At Natural Stone Interiors, we plan to keep on providing quality content, locating more resources, more references, and a contest or two is in the works. We want to thank you for joining us in 2005 and we hope to see you throughout 2006! May all of your hopes and dreams come true.

The theme of November focused mainly on the care and repair of natural stone. Check out our new articles:

  • All about scratches and repairing granite. Can you do it yourself or should you hire it out?
  • Information on etching & efflorescence.
  • Additional links and Resources can be found here. We will continue to update and add to this page.

Idea this Month

We wanted to share a few pictures of a limestone cavern we ventured into located near Cancun, Mexico last year.

This first picture is of the entrance into the cavern. The hole was tiny and intimidating. It was really dark but we all managed to get up the courage to enter it. We had to go in backwards!

Limestone Cave Entrance

Upon entering the cavern, we had to navigate down a ton of steps. (Our pictures of the steps are too dark to see well.) Parts of the cavern were lit up with artificial lighting. Otherwise, it would have been pitch black inside!

StalactiteAfter we got down the first flight of stairs, we looked up to see all of these beautiful stalactites above. This is a close up picture of part of the ceiling.

What are stalactites?

As the water moves through the rock, it dissolves small amounts of limestone or calcium carbonate.

When the water drips from the cave ceiling, small amounts of this limestone are left behind, eventually leaving an icicle shaped stalactite.

Swimming HoleThen we headed down the next flight of stairs and came to the "swimming hole". The water was icy cold, clear, and crystal blue! We actually wore life jackets because some areas of the swimming hole were really deep.

This is a picture of my nephew, Jake, jumping off a ledge into the water. If you ever have an opportunity to tour a limestone cavern, do it! This is such a unique and unforgettable experience.

Hints and Tips: From the Fabricator

A popular misconception is that the quarrying process destroys the land use after mining. So what happens to the quarry after it is no longer useful for extracting natural stone? Are you imagining a big hole in the earth or a dusty plain void of life? A huge wasteland?

Not so. Many of these quarries are reclaimed. The land is put to a productive use after mining has ceased and reclamation has been completed. Many times, after years of useful service, the quarry is given back to the environment for fauna, flora, and human use.

These reclaimed quarries are turned into state parks for our use and enjoyment, recreational lakes, wild life sanctuaries, or even golf courses. Homes and schools are built on them and even farms. These reclaimed quarries are often more attractive to wild life and human use than before the mining started. Here are a few examples of reclaimed quarries:

  • Bornoseen State Park is located in central Vermont. This old quarry now provides recreational activities for visitors and a sanctuary for numerous species of wild life.
  • Halibut Point State Park, located in Rockport, MA, is now a place to fish, hike, picnic, or bird watch.
  • Natural Bridge State Park in North Adams, MA used to be a major marble quarry. It is now a picturesque state park used for hiking and fishing.
  • Oak Quarry Golf Club used to be a limestone and marble quarry. This beautiful golf coarse is located in Southern California.
  • Quarry Golf Club located in San Antonio is a unique 9 hole golf coarse nestled throughout an hundred year old limestone quarry.
  • Queen Elizabeth Park, located in Vancouver, is the site of two reclaimed quarries. This 53 acre park boasts 20 tennis courts, mini golf, a restaurant, and a conservatory with more than 500 species of exotic plants from jungle to desert environments.
  • The Royal Botanical Gardens is located in Ontario. This rehabilitated sand and gravel pit has been converted into an expansive display of horticultural plants, rock gardens, and water features.

RECAP of this months "Question of the Week"

What special care does stone require?

Apply a sealer if needed and clean your stone regularly. Don't use acidic or abrasive cleaners on your stone. These cleaners can dull and/or etch the finish over time. You can find products made specifically for stone care here.

What's the difference between marble and granite?

The main difference between marble and granite is how they are formed. Granite (siliceous stone) is a highly dense material formed within the earth while marble (calcareous stone) is formed from sediments under the seabed. Because of their different formation, the mineral composition of these two natural stones makes them react differently to various chemicals and household cleaners.

Does all marble and granite come from Italy?

No. Natural Stone, including marble and granite, is quarried from all over the world. Natural Stone deposits are found in Canada, China, Brazil, South Africa, and the USA to name a few.

How are granite, marble or natural stone countertops attached to my cabinets?


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