Thornton Quarry

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Coordinates: 41°34′16″N 87°37′19″W / 41.571°N 87.622°W / 41.571; -87.622

Overhead view of the quarry

Thornton Quarry is one of the largest aggregate quarries in the world, located in Thornton, Illinois just south of Chicago. Work at the quarry began in 1924 by Colonel Hodgkins, and since 1938 has been operated by the Material Service Corporation. The quarry is 1.5 miles (2.5 km) long, 0.5 miles (1 km) wide, and 400 feet (125 m) deep. Gallagher Asphalt Corporation has been operating on the grounds of the quarry since 1928. A dryland dike carries Interstate 80/Interstate 294/Tri-State Tollway over the quarry.

Thornton Quarry with Interstate 80/Interstate 294/Tri-State Tollway above.

As part of the Chicago Deep Tunnel project, both Thornton Quarry and McCook Quarry will serve as reservoirs to reduce the backflow of stormwater and sewage from Chicago area rivers into Lake Michigan.[1] Thornton Transitional Reservoir contributes a 3.1-billion-US-gallon (12,000,000 m3) capacity to the system, and is expected to contribute 7.9 billion US gallons (30,000,000 m3) when the system is completed in 2014.

The quarry contains Silurian reefs which formed when the Michigan Basin was covered in sea water more than 400 million years ago. [2]


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