STONE QUARRYING AND STONE WORKING ARE DEEPLY ROOTED IN THE HISTORY OF THE GEOPARK, AS WITNESSED BY THE MANY : disused former mines and pits ; abandoned depressions and quarries, often overgrown ; blast furnace spoil and slag heaps ; lime kilns ; old rural and urban buildings and local monuments.
Different materials were exploited at different times and for different needs : grey-blue limestone, clearly visible in the local architectural heritage ; Saint-Remy marbles, first quarried around the end of the 15th and up until 1970 or thereabouts ; sandstone and puddingstone ; iron deposits, particularly in Durbuy which, from 1530 to 1970, supplied the Liège region with half of its iron needs ; veins of barite, fluorite, marcasite and galena, mined from the 19th century until 1949.
Nowadays, there are only five major Devonian limestone quarries, producing aggregates or high-purity lime.
In geological terms, MARBLE is a metamorphic rock derived from limestone. In architecture, sculpture and marble work, the term refers to a stone capable of taking on a high polish. All Walloon marbles are limestone.
FIG 1 Simplified map showing locations of working or abandoned mines and quarries.
FIG 2 Wéris puddingstone quarry operated from 1866 to 1914 : this Eifelian rock is extremely heat-resistant and was used in blast furnaces (© S. Delaby, Geopark).
FIG 3 barite mine in Givetian limestone, Le Roptai (© S. Delaby).
FIG 4 underground Eifelian sandstone quarry (© G. Rochez).
FIG 5 Working limestone quarry.
FIG 6 Former lime kiln in Wellin.