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Rockology - How Aggregates Impact Your Life

How Aggregates Impact Your Life

Most people do not realize just how much sand, gravel or crushed stone goes into the construction of an average home.  15,000 tons of aggregates are required for the construction of an average size school or hospital. It is estimated that 85,000 tons of aggregates are necessary to construct one mile of a four-lane interstate highway. In the United States, the construction of a new home uses an average of 120 tons of aggregates. Sidewalks, driveways, roofs, foundations, floors, fences, and walls all contain aggregates in one form or another.  Aggregates will always play an important role in building America's houses.

Commercial Structures

The skyline of any city is an impressive site to visitors and residents. Concrete is commonly used in the construction of all large buildings. Crushed stone, sand and gravel are used to make concrete. Buildings like the Denver National Airport located in Denver, Colorado required 5 million tons of crushed stone, sand and gravel. The Sears tower in Chicago, Illinois has enough concrete, crushed stone, sand and gravel in it to pave 8 one-mile lanes of interstate highway.


Modern road paving brought us asphalt pavements. The basic paving materials, concrete and asphalt, are composed primarily of crushed stone, sand and gravel. Sub-bases, upon which roads, pavements, many landscaping and drainage installations are constructed, require thousands of tons of aggregates.

Special Uses

Aggregates play vital roles in providing food, water, electricity, recreation, and other basic of our modern society. The dams that store our water supplies and create our fishing and boating opportunities are constructed with concrete, crushed stone and gravel. Our sewer and waste water treatment facilities could not be built without available aggregates and concrete. Concrete-lined canals are built to conserve agricultural water to ensure productive farming. Crushed stone, ground into a powder, is used as an important mineral supplement in our agriculture industry. Large material, called "rip rap", is used to prevent erosion along rivers and shorelines.

Source: The National Energy Foundation, from the Out of The Rock program.  If you would like additional educational information and materials, stop by and see them at or call them at 801-539-1406