The James River Park System - Richmond, VA

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North Geology Tour

Stop 10b: History of The Belle Isle Quarry

Digging Deeper

This pit was created by cutting out blocks of granite. The pit is now filled with water because the quarry workers exposed two cracks at the northwest corner that connect to the river. Water seeped into the quarry, requiring pumping to keep it dry enough for continuous use.

quarry lane

The quarry is now 19 feet deep near the center and stair-steps upward toward shallow edges. As rock was cut from quarry, it was pulled up via a derrick that was located near the entrance to the quarry.

quarry wall

The stones were placed on a flatcar powered by gravity. The flatcar rolled on narrow rails down the gravel trail you just walked. The granite stones were moved from the flatcar to a standard railroad car where they were shipped throughout the region.

This quarry was abandoned in the early 1900’s when concrete began to dominate construction. The granite walls here are now used for rock climbing and rappelling, and the pond has been stocked with fish.

You have reached the end of the North Geology Tour! Turn around and retrace your steps back to the Tredegar parking lot, or continue to explore, using your GEOLOGY knowledge to identify more geological formations within the park …

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