Sand and Gravel (Aggregate):
A Legacy of the Ice Age

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The sand and gravel deltas now lie high above modern sea level because the land rose after the weight of the glacier ice was removed. Ice Age sands and gravels are mined in pits and used to produce concrete and asphalt, and as fill for road construction.

Sand and gravel deposited in the valleys and at the mouths of glacial meltwater streams form most of today’s sources of aggregate in the Nanaimo area.  Sand and gravel are the principle ingredients used in concrete, asphalt, and road construction and as such form an important resource.  For example, the segment of the new Island Highway 19 between Ladysmith to opposite Denman Island used 5,680,000 tonnes of aggregate in its construction.  As sand and gravel is not economical to transport great distances there can be many pits in a local or regional area, particularly near urban areas.  Gravel pits are associated with noise, dust, vibration from passing trucks, and sometimes with stream sedimentation.  Consequently, in spite of their economical importance, they are not always a welcomed industry near urban areas where they conflict with residential land use.


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