Fates of Abandoned Quarries

What is the fate of a rock quarry? A quarry is a type of shallow open pit mining used in extracting some minerals and dimension stone such as granite, limtestone, and gypsum to name a few. Like most mines, quarries are eventually abandoned, leaving landscapes potmarked with quarry holes. What happens to a quarry after it has been abandoned?


Ohio is the site of many quarries for limestone, gravel, quartz and sand which have been abandoned since operation in the 50s and 60s. Today these quarries have since filled with groundwater and are undergoing natural ecological succession as ponds, creating habitat for many amphibious creatures. However, not all quarries are simply turned back to the wild. Quarries in Ohio have served as geology classrooms, and are a major nature attraction, and also face the fate of landfills. Quarry reclamation is now a public works, turning quarries into parks and fishing ponds. A SCUBA diving culture has evolved in the midwest due to the management and reclamation of abandoned quarries, complete with artificial reefs, fish stock, sunken helicopters, semis, mailboxes and schoolbuses. The deepest diving quarry in the midwest is Gilboa Quarry in Ottowa, at 137 feet it exceeds the depth limit of basic certified divers. Many quarries are home to the endangered and rare paddlefish and freshwater jellyfish.


Some basic questions I hope to investigate:


What are the main types of quarries in Ohio, what were they used for, why were they abandoned, and what happened to them now? How much responsibility does a company take for an abandoned quarry? What type of succession happens in a quarry? What are people now doing with abandoned quarries?


I. Quarries

A. What is a quarry? What do they do the the environment?

B. Why are quarries abandoned?

C. What happens to quarries from a natural standpoint

1.Water and ecological succession

D. The quarry habitat

1. Benefits for endangered species and wildlife

2. Ecological problems

II. Revived human interest in old quarries

A. Who is in charge of quarries?

B. Recreation

1. SCUBA diving

2. Boating

3. Fishing

C. Community Reclamation

1. Parks





Mance, Grover C. Power economy and the utilization of waste in the quarry industry of southern Indiana Imprint Bloomington, Ind., 1917

Sustainable land use in deserts / Siegmar-W. Breckle, Maik Veste, Walter Wucherer, edsBerlin ; New York : Springer, c2001

Introduction to mineral exploration / edited by Antony M. Evans ; with contributions from William L. Barrett … [et al.] Oxford ; Cambridge, MA : Blackwell Science, 1995



Vascular Flora and Plant Habitats of an Abandoned Limestone Quarry at Center Hill Dam, DeKalb County, Tennessee
Reclamation Planning in Hard Rock Quarries: A Guide to Good Practice (UK)
Revegetation Dynamics of Cliff Faces in Abandoned Limestone Quarries
Ecological Effects of Mineral Exploitataion in the United Kingdom and their Significance to Nature Conservation


Frodl Diver Blog
Nelson Ledges Quarry Park
Portage Quarry



4 Responses to Fates of Abandoned Quarries

  1. John Krygier says:

    Ok, a good start. Please generate a one or so page outline of key sections and subsections of the presentation.

    You should set this in a broader context of resource extraction and what to do with the left overs. In many ways, it seems there are many benefits of abandoned quarries, but there are also problems (like pollutants more easily getting into ground water, etc.).

    Expand your sources: 10 scholarly, 10 digital, and 5 other. Ponder interviews as sources and certainly try to visit and document some of the local examples (Blue Limestone Park!). Add annotations to each of the sources – what it is about and why important.

  2. tejal badade says:

    I am doing my research in postuses of the quarry and in my opinion the next best thing to actively restotre the natural ecosystem wo any interfrence, is to develop it into a scoial recreational parks / golf courses. this not only provides a mean of entertainment to the citizens but also is helpful to certain extent to restore the ecosystem and has a commercial significance also.

  3. Doug says:

    Are there any abandoned granite or marble quarries in New Jersey near wall,NJ i want to visit one please leave me the adress in a comment if you know of any!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE

  4. Natalie says:

    The northern half of NJ has marble and gneiss / granite bedrock. Morris county looks like a good bet.
    I don’t know of any quarries in the area, I’ve never been to NJ.

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