Salem Limestone - Quarrying (DS-05)
The Salem Limestone was first quarried for building stone in southern Indiana in 1827. Although the basic principles of quarrying have changed little since the late 1800's, when the building limestone industry came into prominence in Lawrence and Monroe Counties, tools and equipment have improved, and fewer men are now needed to quarry the same amount of stone.

Unwanted surface material - soil and rock - must first be removed from the stone that is to be quarried. Next, channeling machines, wire saws, or chain saws, are used to make vertical separations that free a huge "cut", about 4 feet by 10 feet by 40 feet or more, and weighing more than 100 tons, from the working ledge. The cut is then split loose at the base by wedges driven into shallow horizontal drill holes, turned down on its side, and separated, again by wedges, into mill blocks of about 10 tons.

Our Hoosier State Beneath Us: Dimension Stone


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