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Totally Blowin Shit Up Tuesday: Ahoy, Limey

August 11, 2009

Where I grew up was basically a lot of dark, rich topsoil spread over an ancient, enormous coral reef. You call it Indiana.

The thing about ancient coral reefs is that they make damned fine limestone. In fact, large stretches of southern Indiana--especially around Bloomington--are famous for the high quality of the limestone that is quarried there. There, the limestone that is quarried is used for more decorative pieces because it gives a lovely smooth surface when it is finished. The reason for this is the millions of tiny shells that comprise the stone. In fact, as a part of my geology minor, I spent several hours with a ground up vial of limestone, a fine paint brush, and a microscope trying to pull out the various tiny remains of creatures and then identify them. Was it tedious? You betcha. But I also enjoyed the hell out of it because I'm just that effing weird.

The limestone from where I grew up was more coarse and was used primarily for construction work, driveways, and for support on the sides of levees and dams. The fossils that popped up in those were a lot easier to spy, and I had a rather fine fossil collection from my driveway and the surrounding area when I was a kid.

There were several abandoned quarries in my town. One of them, someone bought, trucked in a bunch of sand, strung a volleyball net across, and put a water slide on. This was the "world famous" Markle Pool. At one point, this was operated by a family who went to my church, and their daughter, Melanie--whom I had a bit of a crush on--had an impressive set of deep water buoys, if you know what I'm saying. There was another quarry pit not far from the Markle Pool, but it was owned by the Boy Scouts. We used to hike around it during our camping trips. To the south of town there was an even bigger operation, but it had closed up by the time I was a kid. Still, you weren't allowed to go there looking for fossils, which kind of sucked since there was still a ton of material laying around.

I bring all this up because I happened upon this footage of a limestone quarry being blown up for mining purposes. You'll see the wall of rock detonating and blowing up from a few different angles. The big pay off is in the end. Oh, and there's a special guest voice cameo.



That was a pretty fortuitous result there, chief. I like how he claimed to have been inspired by Dirty Jobs to get the camera angle. I guess they're just a lot more lucky on Dirty Jobs in that they haven't destroyed a camera in all their trick shot photography--at least not that we've seen.

So, there you have it. Nothing too sciency today. And, not a lot of stories of me fighting the plumbing in my house, rife with references to my asscrack sticking out.

17 comments:

Scope said...

The ending is perfect.

otherworldlyone said...

"I spent several hours with a ground up vial of limestone, a fine paint brush, and a microscope trying to pull out the various tiny remains of creatures and then identify them"

Actually, I don't think that's weird. Sounds interesting. And better than plumbing.

Sassy Britches said...

We went on vacation every summer over by Bloomington, so I hear you on the abundance of quarries there. I think it would be super cool to see the creatures of which you speak; I wonder if the folks at the Nature Center at this particular state park have caught on to that.

Jules said...

That ending WAS great!!!

LiLu said...

Every story needs a little crack.

What?

Eric said...

Nice, do you have marble quarries around Indiana? I'm looking for a few blocks roughly head sized for carving.

They have some good stuff in Colorado and Georgia from what I've seen. Not much to speak of here in Texas.

Jidai said...

Man, we never had quarries where I grew up. All we had were these 10,000 lakes. DAMNIT!

Some Guy said...

HAHA! Perfect!

Bev said...

I love a happy ending!

Wow, Geology, huh? I took Geology to fulfill a science criteria in college. It was not for me. I have vivid memories of standing hip-deep in Lake Champlain, measuring the ripple marks on the bottom. Good times, I tell ya.

mylittlebecky said...

well, you were right! i'm all, "oh noes! something is coming to hit the- ooooh!"

in other news, i like fossils.

Nej said...

A small group of us (three, to be exact) used to sit around digging for fossils during recess in elementary school. Found quite a few, but we never went as far as identifying them. It was just cool to find them...and then move on. :-)

Whiskey Girl said...

I got your happy ending Bev!!!

JennyMac said...

Great ending...

and the only Geology course offered during college was also poetically coined "Rocks for Jocks"...
and to think we missed out on your knowledge.

I havent seen a quarry since I stepped foot in Atlanta

Cowguy said...

Gah! I almost missed blowed up Tuesday!! Loved the vid! Here in NE MO we've got the limestone shelf sticking outta the ground here and there and I always liked looking for fossils when I was kid. If there was anything else there besides sea shells, I never found it... but I always had hopes of finding a sea monster skull or something.

:-)

Whiskey Girl said...

Arrrrrrr Matey!!!!

Gauche said...

looks like fun. I used to go on trips with my class when I was younger and we went to some old quarry to go dig for rocks and fossils. Best moment of my childhood was finding a rock piece that looked like it had a fossilized feather pattern on it. I still have the rock. So I totally understand where you're coming from on this.

Lana said...

i live a mile from a quarry, i've always wondered what kinds of things they were digging up in there. if i had lived here as a kid i would have been fossil hunting for sure.

also, geology sidenote, i once made diamond chips from coal in a big pressure machine thing.