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For other uses, see Gravel (disambiguation).
Gravel (largest fragment in this photo is about 4 cm)
Gravel being unloaded from a barge

Gravel /ˈɡrævəl/ is composed of unconsolidated rock fragments that have a general particle size range and include size classes from granule- to boulder-sized fragments. Gravel is sub-categorized by the Udden-Wentworth scale 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). One cubic yard of gravel typically weighs about 3000 pounds (or a cubic metre is about 1,800 kilograms).

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 tarmac; Russia alone has over 400,000 km (250,000 mi) of gravel roads.[citation needed] Both sand and small gravel are also important for the manufacture of concrete.

Geological formation[edit]

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 concreted 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.

Modern production[edit]

As of 2006, the United States is the world's leading producer and consumer of gravel.[1][2]


The word gravel comes from the Old French word gravele.[3]


Gravel with stones sized roughly between 5 and 15 millimeter.
Disused gravel pit in Lower Saxony, Germany

Multiple types of gravel have been recognized,[by whom?] including:

  • Bank gravel: naturally deposited gravel intermixed with sand or clay found in and next to rivers and streams. Also known as "Bank run" and "River run".
  • Bench gravel: a bed of gravel located on the side of a valley above the present stream bottom, indicating the former location of the stream bed when it was at a higher level.
  • Creek rock: this is generally rounded, semi-polished stones, potentially of a wide range of types, that are dredged or scooped from river beds and creek beds. It is also often used as concrete aggregate and less often as a paving surface.
  • Crushed stone: is rock crushed and graded by screens then mixed to a blend of stones and fines. It is widely used in as a surfacing for roads and driveways, sometimes with tar applied over it. Crushed stone may be made from granite, limestone, dolomite, and other rocks. Also known as "crusher run", DGA (Dense Grade Aggregate) QP (Quarry Process), and shoulder stone.[4]
  • Fine gravel: gravel consisting of particles with a diameter of 2 to 4 mm.
  • Lag gravel: a surface accumulation of coarse gravel produced by the removal of finer particles.
  • Pay gravel: also known as "pay dirt"; a nickname for gravel with a high concentration of gold and other precious metals. The metals are recovered through gold panning.
  • Pea gravel: gravel that consists of small, rounded stones used in concrete surfaces. Also used for walkways, driveways and as a substrate in home aquariums.
  • Piedmont gravel: a coarse gravel carried down from high places by mountain streams and deposited on relatively flat ground, where the water runs more slowly.
  • Plateau gravel: a layer of gravel on a plateau or other region above the height at which stream-terrace gravel is usually found.

Relationship to plantlife[edit]

In locales where gravelly soil is predominant, plant life is generally more sparse.[5] 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[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravel — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
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22261 news items


Mon, 01 Sep 2014 08:00:00 -0700

The FIA has defended the decision to lay down a large asphalt run-off area at Monza's Parabolica corner ahead of this weekend's Italian Formula 1 Grand Prix. The change, which has meant the reduction in size of a long-standing gravel trap (pictured ...


Tue, 02 Sep 2014 07:03:45 -0700

Chandigarh: Facing criticism over "spiraling" prices of sand and gravel, SAD-BJP led Punjab government on Tuesday decided to excavate and sell minor minerals through the state-owned departments by eliminating the role of private mining contractors in a ...
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 02:45:00 -0700

The FIA has defended the decision to lay down a large asphalt run-off area at Monza's Parabolica corner ahead of this weekend's Italian Formula 1 Grand Prix. The change, which has meant the reduction in size of a long-standing gravel trap (pictured ...
Brainerd Daily Dispatch
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 18:18:45 -0700

A Milaca man was injured when the motorcycle he was driving hit loose gravel in the roadway. Paul H. Moore, 39, was traveling south on Highway 169 near Milaca in Mille Lacs County when he lost control of the Victory motorcycle, went into the center ...
Fri, 29 Aug 2014 07:48:45 -0700

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A truck carrying a trailer full of gravel overturned Friday after on I-295 by Thompson's Point. The truck was trying to merge onto the road when it was forced to swerve and then it tipped, spilling gravel all over the road.
Port Huron Times Herald
Mon, 25 Aug 2014 19:41:01 -0700

But not too far off. The trees schooled me Saturday. Mountain bike racing on a technical single track exactly once a year can be painful. Trees kept jumping out in front of me and knocking me down. Whose idea was it to put all those trees out in the ...
Twin Falls Times-News
Fri, 29 Aug 2014 00:30:00 -0700

SUN VALLEY • The 2nd annual Rebecca's Private Idaho, a gravel road ride, takes place Sunday in Sun Valley, organized by champion cyclist Rebecca Rusch. Rebecca's Private Idaho not only brings gravel road riding to the masses, but also raises money for ...

Dallas Morning News

Dallas Morning News
Sun, 24 Aug 2014 19:48:45 -0700

Wayne McEwen's 138-acre farm in southern Ellis County produces hay, cattle and — from the gravel pit on his property — the occasional arrowhead or shark tooth. His son and grandson were gathering road bedding material from the pit in May when ...

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