I got to visit Thornton Quarry in Chicago, IL this Saturday, as a part of an excursion organized by my school's Geology department. While the purpose of our visit was to study the Earth, I mostly paid attention all the cool stuff operating at the quarry.

The first thing that caught my eye was the fleet of dump trucks running around the place, most of which were Caterpillar 777s.

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Even though it's payload capacity is rated at 100 tons, the 777 is relatively small compared to other haul/mining trucks. The largest is the Caterpillar 797, which is able to carry four times the payload of the 777.

Here's a shock absorber from one of the trucks. It's huge!

Some more suspension bits.

According to one of the site foremen, the tires are worth $10,000 each. No tire codes were listed. I checked.

They had some other various equipment lying around.

We also witnessed an industrial grade rock crusher in action. In retrospect, holding my phone this close to the edge was probably a bad idea...

This is what it looks like when it's finished crushing boulders into oblivion.

Finally, here's a couple of arial shots I took of the quarry. The second photo shows Interstate 80 in the distance, and gives an incredible sense of scale.


Photo credit: Leadbull