Saturday, June 19, 2010


Thanks to the Split Mountain Anticline just a few miles to the east, the Carnegie Quarry is ideally situated for a permanent public display. Dipping 70 degrees to the south, the surface of the sandstone body and its bones are oriented such that it is almost perfect for viewing. So when the Quarry Visitor Center was designed, the nearly 50 foot high quarry sandstone became the north wall of the building.

Because of its height, viewing from the ground floor presented serious problems of foreshortening, making it difficult to see bones on the upper half of the wall. A second floor gallery along the south wall brought the visitors to level about mid-height with the sandstone wall and gave a spectacular panoramic view of the 1500 exposed fossils. The rehabilitated Quarry Visitor Center will include a totally new and redesigned mezzanine to keep that spectacular vista. However, the new mezzanine requires the total removal of the old one.

The old mezzanine sloped strongly downwards to the north and noticeably sagged for its entire length. Photos showing this condition were posted in an earlier blog. Engineers and architects who came to examine the Visitor Center usually just stared and shook their head when taken up to the second floor.

Removal required jackhammering the 2 inch thick concrete floor of the mezzanine and then cutting along the margin of each section and letting it drop to the first floor. This ended up more complicated than anticipated because of extra thick rebar in the concrete and old pipes in the concrete for a long-forgotten radiant heating system. The contractors persevered and eventually the floors came tumbling down, although some pieces remained attached to the hanging rebar. All this soon be hauled out of the building once the outer walls are removed.

Photos courtesy of Dinosaur National Monument.

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