Valuable building stone and aggregate materials are abundant in the mountains and along the Bow River valley, reducing the need for lengthy transport. Did you know that the Calgary Tower and the Banff Springs Hotel were built with materials from our own backyard?
Rundle Rock was used to build the Banff Springs Hotel (Photo: B. Groulx)
Rundle Rock is a blocky brown sandstone with flat, smooth surfaces. This popular decorative stone was first described by geologist R.G. McConnell in 1887. It was named by stonemasons quarrying the rock from the base of Mount Rundle near the town of Banff. Today this sandstone is quarried just east of Canmore. It originated as sand deposited on Early Mesozoic seafloors about 245 million years ago.
Rundle Rock on the Banff Springs Hotel (Photo: B. Groulx)
Limestone quarry on Grotto Mountain (Photo: D. Edwards)
Sandstone and shale, trucked from quarries at Seebe near Mount Yamnuska, are combined with limestone at Exshaw, to produce cement. The process involves grinding and blending the rocks, and burning the mix in kilns.
Gravel extraction near Calgary (Photo: T. Poulton)
Gravel is excavated from many pits around Calgary. It is combined with cement to form concrete, or with oil to form asphalt for building roads, bridges, sidewalks, and buildings.
The Calgary Tower (Photo: B. Groulx)
The Calgary Tower is a highly visible example of the use of concrete.
Limestone, trucked from the Grotto Mountain quarry, is crushed, screened, and burned in kilns at about 1450°C to produce lime (calcium oxide). Lime is used in agriculture, in water treatment, in sugar refining, and in the manufacture of steel and paper.