Stone Processing Today
Most architectural stone today is quarried from mountainsides or hillsides, open pit mines, or from "galleries" - great caverns within the heart of mountains. The methods used are typically the same for each quarrying condition. The object is to ascertain the best material (judged in purity and fracture) and to remove it in blocks large enough to yield slabs of a functional size for commercial use, or for cut-to-size tile lines. The demand for the latter differs from market to market, but the North American consumer requires predominantly square units in 12, 16, 18, or 24 inch material. Typically they are 20mm (3/4 inch) in thickness, and 4-7ft tall by 8-11ft in length.