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Lhoist, Velkolom Certovy schody, European Minerals Day 2017 Open door days in the quarry and the Museum of the Czech karst
September 22 @ 8:00 am - September 23 @ 4:00 pm
The lime plant (Vapenka Certovy schody), the limestone quarry (Velkolom Certovy schody) and the Museum of the Czech Karst (Muzeum Ceskeho krasu), in Beroun, prepared an interesting program for the public in the frame of European Minerals Day 2017 on September 22-23, 2017. A two-day event, while Friday was reserved for high schools’ students and teachers, Saturday was dedicated for the general public. After successful course of minerals days of 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015 and persistent interest from both schools and public, the entire program was taken over and was almost identical.
For transportation and touring capacity as well as safety reasons there were three groups limited to 50 people per group per day.
The program for each group took about 5 hours and was divided into two parts with the bus transfer between parts.
Participants started the program at the Czech Karst Museum. The first part was a commented tour of Geopark Barrandien in the courtyard of the museum, where participants directly with the exhibits could discover ancient environments, recognizing not only the diversity of local stones but also the dramatic geological development of the Bohemian Karst and Barrandien. The second part was followed by a commented tour of the permanent geological and palaeontological exposition located in the main building of the museum. The tour was focused on the summary of the life development during the geological past and on the introduction of interesting fossils from the collections of the museum. Participants of EMD were given the advantage that tours of the expositions were accompanied by professional comments of the museum’s geological and paleontological experts. They could directly discuss and ask questions concerning the expositions and the geological past which made the whole tour much more interesting and instructive than usual. Even children did not come in short, they were actively involved in discovering the ancient past or could enjoy the tasks of a museum box – such as coloring books or puzzles of ancient organisms. As in 2015, some of participants brought their fossils, rocks and minerals and the staff of the Czech Karst Museum tried to identify all of them and even find out the collectible value of their findings or their potential scientific significance.
After visiting the exhibitions the participants boarded a bus to cover the 15 km distance to the Certovy schody Quarry.
The first stop was at the East quarry. Participants got out and gathered directly at the active quarry upper edge to see the overall view of the quarry and the lime plant behind it. Lhoist experts explained to them the process of stone drilling, blasting and loading as well as the further treatment of the stone required for all the high quality end-products. The history of lime manufacturing and environment protection were also explained and discussed here.
Then, after a short walk the participants found themselves in a completely different location full of vegetation with a small lake and chirping birds all around. It is a small quarry after reclamation. The visitors could marvel at nature’s success in taking back what was temporarily borrowed by humans in order to extract valuable mineral deposits. People could observe and easily imagine here the active quarry and its eventual final image and features after its closure and reclamation. Land reclamation processes and the beneficial quarry’s co-operation with the Landscape protected area authorities were explained and discussed during this stay.
The next stop was to the upper edge of the West quarry, which enabled the visitors to watch real stone handling – loading and hauling with huge equipment, the dumpers and loaders. The four hundred and ten million year history of the stone deposit and also the final purpose of the land after reclamation were described to visitors here by the quarry manager. It usually initiated living discussion about the land brought back to the nature and possible public use.
By a short walking tour around a big limestone sorting machine participants achieved the quarry main “square” in the middle of the technical facilities like workshops and mining realization office. It was prepared an exposition and discussion with representatives of the Pyrotechnical service of the Czech Police here newly this year. It was possible to see real ammunition findings as well as to try the pyrotechnical protective field suit. Each session was always concluded by the small pyrotechnical show in form of colourful smoke cartridges performance. After that visitors were invited to snacks and small refreshments. Here, they could explore hands-on the giant mining machinery – dumper and loader – feeling the comfort of the cabin, taking pictures inside the loader shovel and understanding so better the relative size and operation of these huge vehicles.
Finally, circled by the limestone surroundings, close to the tremendous machinery, people enjoyed lunch and the overall atmosphere. Full of positive impressions and new actual information about the quarry, its purpose and the future, people left having lost any former trepidation about the “terrible hole” in the Czech Karst area and thanking the Lhoist guides for a great experience. They only regret that this event is only biennial. The basic idea of the European Minerals Day was successfully fulfilled again.