The largest travertine mines on the territory of the former Soviet Union (Commonwealth of Independent States) are located in Ararat region in Armenia. The Ararat travertine reserves are among the largest in the world. As far as their origin is concerned, they date back to 1 000 000 years. In 1978 fragments of a mammoth's tusk were found in the open quarry of Goravan district in Armenia.
Travertine is calcium-carbonate sedimentary rock. Due to high crystallization Ararat travertine is durable, an important qualitative characteristic. During the processing of the stone, it is possible to cut it 8mm wide and even less. This also indicates that Ararat travertine is of high quality.
Armenian Travertine Mining Company runs two travertine quarries in the Ararat region in Armenia. The Qarqarot district of Goravan covers 5 ha, whereas the Urtsadzor quarry in Urtsadzor covers an area of 10 ha. These quarries are situated on the altitude of 1010-1062m above the sea level. The climate in the region is dry and continental. The temperature reaches 400C above zero in summer and 100C below zero in winter.
Travertine rock mined here is mainly solid, monolithic, small and medium-grained, porous and hollow. Sizes of pores reach 2,5mm, and the hollows are up to 5cm. Sometimes hollows are filled with golden-yellow crystals of calcite and aragonite.
Urtsadzor travertine rock is less porous, and unlike rocky quarries where monolithic solid slabs are available, in Urtsadzor mono-rocks are available and the open-cast pit mining is carried out by using boring and wedging method. Travertine rocks mined here are called God Send. The average block output in the rocky quarry is 52,19%, whereas in Urtsadzor it is 40%. It has been estimated that travertine layer in the quarry is up to 22,6m thick and 2,5m deep in the average.
Estimation of travertine reserves has been carried out by the method of geological blocks. Available reserves are classified into A and B. In Qarqarot quarry a total of 7257000m3, and in Urtsadzor a total of 4167000 m3 has been estimated.
In Qarqarot quarry the façade is 150m and in Urtsadzor 147m long.
According to the radiometric measuring data, the summary of specific radioactivity of travertine in the rocky district fluctuates at about 10,8mcr/h, whereas in Urtsadzor it is 11,2mcr/h. This means that with their radial-hygienic properties travertine mined is meets the requirements of НРБ – 96 normative document and international standards. This is a perfect index and it certifies that travertine can be used in construction works - both interior and exterior – of dwelling houses and public buildings without any restriction.
Composition and qualitative characteristics of travertine from out of the two quarries are provided according to their chemical analyses, physical and mechanical assays, spectrographic research and studies of solidity. Travertine here comes in milky, yellow-grey, brown-chestnut, beige and reddish colours. Travertine is much homogeneous, as far as their chemical composition is concerned.
Chemical Composition of Travertine in Qarqarot and Urtsadzor Quarries
See the table
Physical-mechanical indices of travertine in Qarqarot and Urtsadzor Quarries
See the table
The given data indicate that, in terms of quality, these types of travertine comply with the requirements of ISO 9479-98 “Blocks from rocks for production of tiles, architectural and construction, memorial and other products” Standard.
Quarry waste can be used for production of gravel and sand in accordance with the technical terms of ISO 22856-89 “Decorative crushed stone and sand from natural stone” Standard. Travertine waste is also utilized for cement production.
We started developin the Urtsadzor quarry in 2006, and the Qarqarot quarry in 2007. Extraction of rock is carried out with machinery of the Russian production, “NPO” Experimental Factory” LLC. The bar machine sleeve is 2,5m and 3,20m long. Rope machines are being used too.