Gravel (largest fragment in this photo is about 4 cm)
Gravel (largest fragment in this photo is about 4 cm)
A gravel road (technically crushed stone) in Indiana
A gravel road (technically crushed stone) in Indiana
Gravel being unloaded from a barge
Gravel being unloaded from a barge
Sand and gravel separator in a gravel pit in Germany
Sand and gravel separator in a gravel pit in Germany

Gravel /ˈɡrævəl/ is a loose aggregation of rock fragments. Gravel is classified by particle size range and includes size classes from granule- to boulder-sized fragments. In the Udden-Wentworth scale gravel is categorized into granular gravel (2 to 4 mm or 0.079 to 0.157 in) and pebble gravel (4 to 64 mm or 0.2 to 2.5 in). ISO 14688 grades gravels as fine, medium, and coarse with ranges 2 mm to 6.3 mm to 20 mm to 63 mm. One cubic metre of gravel typically weighs about 1,800 kg (or a cubic yard weighs about 3,000 pounds).

Gravel is an important commercial product, with a number of applications. Many roadways are surfaced with gravel, especially in rural areas where there is little traffic. Globally, far more roads are surfaced with gravel than with concrete or asphalt; Russia alone has over 400,000 km (250,000 mi) of gravel roads.[1] Both sand and small gravel are also important for the manufacture of concrete. Natural gravel has a high hydraulic conductivity, sometimes reaching above 1 cm/s.[2]

Geological formation

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Large gravel deposits are a common geological feature, being formed as a result of the weathering and erosion of rocks. The action of rivers and waves tends to pile up gravel in large accumulations. This can sometimes result in gravel becoming compacted and lithified into the sedimentary rock called conglomerate. Where natural gravel deposits are insufficient for human purposes, gravel is often produced by quarrying and crushing hard-wearing rocks, such as sandstone, limestone, or basalt. Quarries where gravel is extracted are known as gravel pits. Southern England possesses particularly large concentrations of them due to the widespread deposition of gravel in the region during the Ice Ages.[citation needed]

Modern production

As of 2006, the United States is the world's leading producer and consumer of gravel.[3][4]

Etymology

The word gravel comes from the Old French gravele[5] or gravelle.[6]

Gravel often has the meaning a mixture of different size pieces of stone mixed with sand and possibly some clay. In American English, rocks broken into small pieces by a crusher are known as crushed stone.[7][8]

Types

Varieties of Gravel in different shapes and sizes.
Varieties of Gravel in different shapes and sizes.
Gravel with stones sized roughly between 5 and 15 mm
Gravel with stones sized roughly between 5 and 15 mm

Types of gravel include:

Relationship to plant life

In locales where gravelly soil is predominant, plant life is generally more sparse.[10] This outcome derives from the inferior ability of gravels to retain moisture, as well as the corresponding paucity of mineral nutrients, since finer soils that contain such minerals are present in smaller amounts.

See also

References

  1. ^ "1 Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology" (PDF). 1 Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
  2. ^ Freeze, R. Allan (1979). Groundwater. Cherry, John A. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0-13-365312-9. OCLC 4493153.
  3. ^ Mineral Commodity Summaries 2006 2009
  4. ^ Industrial Sand And Gravel (Silica): World Production, By Country 2009
  5. ^ Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 11th Edition. Retrieved 30 August 2012 from CollinsDictionary.com website:http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/gravel
  6. ^ Gravel, n., Oxford English Dictionary Second Edition on CD-ROM (v. 4.0) © Oxford University Press 2009
  7. ^ "gravel." Noah Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language. 2015. http://1828.mshaffer.com/d/word/gravel (8 January 2015)
  8. ^ "Gravel, n." def. 1. Whitney, William Dwight. The Century Dictionary; an Encyclopedic Lexicon of the English Language,. Vol. 3. New York: Century, 1889. 2607. Print.
  9. ^ "Quarry Process - QP, DGA - NJ, NY, NYC, PA". www.braenstone.com.
  10. ^ C.Michael Hogan. 2010. Abiotic factor. Encyclopedia of Earth. eds Emily Monosson and C. Cleveland. National Council for Science and the Environment Archived 8 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Washington DC

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