Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM
LEMPTÉGY VOLCANO: HOW A HILL TOP REMOVAL BECAME A MAJOR GEO-EDUCATIONAL FACILITY
Quarrying and mining can be be disastrous for local scenery and geological heritage, but if done with care and consideration, can enhance the value of a site. Here I show the history of the Lemptégy volcano, which has become a major geological treasure, for education, tourism and research, through intelligent quarrying. The first mention of Lemptégy volcano, a 32,000 year old small scoria cone in the Chaîne des Puys (Auvergne, France), comes from an 1815 when de Raymond used a small roadside excavation to prove that it's trachyte breccia covering was just a layer above a scoria core. Quarrying was a local affair until 1948, when a major extraction phase began to help in post war reconstruction. Local owners employed local labor, who had a close, traditional relationship with the land. In the 1980's increased mechanisation lead to greater extraction, and attracted the attention of local geologists, who found superb cross-sections of the tephra chronology of the Chaîne des Puys, and who began to realise that the geological details being uncovered were of exceptional value. Starting with university excursions, then school visits, the quarry began to accept the passage of the public, until in 1993 when it opened as a tourist and educational attraction with specialist guides and a dedicated exhibition. This has continually expanded, and has become the main activity at the volcano, since extraction ceased in 2007. Over the last 30 years the extraction has been done with the aim of enhancing the value of the site as a geological feature, so that features such as dykes, vents, conduits, lava flows, faults, alteration, bombs and stratigraphy were preserved, or preferentially excavated. This could only have been done by a close collaboration and understanding between the operators and scientists. Lemptégy is now a major educational and tourist attraction, with over 100,000 visitors a year. It forms part of the recommended national curriculum in France, still attracts cutting edge research. All this would not have been possible without the sense of place, the pride and understanding of the local owners and their close relationship with the scientists. This has served as an example for other local quarries, where similar relationships are developing, and can serve as an example worldwide of responsible intelligent mining.