Flatwillow Moss Rock comes from a specific 4- to 10-thick sandstone layer that is exposed at the surface on the ranches where we quarry this stone. Because it is exposed at the surface, it is weathered and partly covered with lichens. Flatwillow is quarried as natural shape moss rock, as larger mantles and hearths, and as landscape boulders. We also chop Flatwillow slabs into a variety of other products.
Starting in the late 1800s, homesteaders in this part of central Montana have cleared stone from their fields. They often used this same sandstone to build their houses, barns, and root cellars, but most of the stone ended up in piles around the edges of their fields and pastures. These piles are where we get Homestead Fieldstone.
Buffalo Jump Moss Rock is collected from the same sandstone layer and few miles from the First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park near Great Falls, Montana. The stone has a lot of straight edges and a deep weathered color and a lot of lichens.
The city of Carrara, Italy has been a marble quarrying and carving center since antiquity. The marble quarried in the Apuan Alps near Cararra was used for Michaelagelos David and countless statues and structures dating to Roman times. Carrara marble is actively quarried and shipped around the world. The images show active and ancient quarries that can be visited today.
To the consternation of geologists, the stone industry groups all crystalline igneous and metamorphic rocks under the heading granite. This isnt a too bad because the most of these crystalline rocks have similar mechanical properties as building and paving stones. Granites are often quarried in large rectangular blocks that are then sawn down into everything from building stones to countertops.
Basalt is a rock formed when a lava flow hardens on the surface of the earth. When the basalt cools and solidifies it often forms the polygonal columns shown in these images. Basalt is quarried in many parts of the world, including the western U.S.
Limestone, and the related rocks dolomite and travertine, have been quarried for millenia in Europe and the Middle East. Limestone and dolomite mostly formed in shallow, warm marine environments on the continents. Travertine is deposited from hot springs that are rich in calcium carbonate. Modern limestone quarries commonly extract large rectangular quarry blocks or slabs which are then sawn and/or broken down into products.
Sandstoneis the result of the erosion of ancient mountain ranges over billions of years of earth history. As shown in these images, sandstone quarries in the western US typically remove flat slabs and rectangular blocks that are then broken down into products. Sandstone varies tremendously in color, texture and durability. It is perhaps the most difficult stone to evaluate confidently.
The name Chief Cliff is loosely applied to a thick section of geologically related stones quarried in northwestern Montana. Although they vary in color range and shape between the different quarries, all of the Chief Cliff stones are very hard quartzites and argillites from a nearly 1.5-billion-year-old sedimentary deposit known as the Belt Supergroup.