GETMAPPING PLC / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GETMAPPING PLC / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Open cast mine. Aerial photograph of Gunheath china clay pit. Kaolin (china clay) is a clay material used in a wide variety of ceramic applications. It is produced by refining kaolinite Open cast mining is a method of mineral extraction used when commercially useful mineral deposits are found near the surface. The mine is dug on benches (horizontal levels) which are clearly visible (left). The circular shapes seen at top-right are storage tanks which hold a suspension of the extracted kaolinite. The kaolinite settles in the tanks and is then pumped away for blending. The kaolinite deposits of southwest England were formed by geothermal granites almost 300 million years ago. It is formed by the chemical weathering of feldspar. Photographed in Cornwall, UK.
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