Monday, June 28, 2010


The curious reader might well ponder “Why DID Dinosaur National Monument have a crane weighing 28,000 pounds and capable of lifting 8,000 pounds INSIDE the Quarry Visitor Center? The reason is quite logical, if not obvious.

Remember, dear reader, that when the Quarry Visitor Center opened, very few of the bones now seen in the quarry were visible. Most were still entombed a meter or more deep in the dense and heavy sandstone. As excavations started large blocks of overburden were removed but they couldn’t simply be tumbled down from the top of the cliff face and into the visitors and exhibits. The crane, with its large working platform, served as an area to operate air hammers from. Blocks of overburden were rolled onto the platform, lowered to the ground, and then hauled away.

As time went on, the crane also served as a save way to getting researchers to specimens located in the more inaccessible parts of the cliff. Some readers may remember a trip on the crane to study the magnificent Camarasaurus skull on the top center of the quarry. The platform also served as a work area for curatorial work on the cliff.

However, the crane was getting on in years. It met no OSHA safety standards for carrying and transporting people and some damage had made its future use unlikely. Better ways are available to get scientists to specimens and with no additional excavations planned in the quarry, there was little need for something to move overburden. As they say in the Mob "Nothing personal. Just business." So the crane was quietly retired and will not be part of the new building.

Photos courtesy of Dinosaur National Monument.

1 comment:

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