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The Flooded & Abandoned Marble Quarry

Petar Djajkovski

This quarry was built in the 1930s with a purpose of open mining limestone and Vaselemma marble, a specific kind of limestone very much resembling marble.

Due to the geography of the area, groundwater gathers and forms a small lake within the quarry. Construction and function of the quarry required water pumping equipment in order for mining to progress successfully.

Rummu quarry in October 2013 as seen from the spoil tip. Author: Rita Helisma CC BY-SA 3.0

Rummu quarry in October 2013 as seen from the spoil tip. Author: Rita Helisma CC BY-SA 3.0

 

Derelict Rummu quarry utility buildings in the water at night, September 2014. Author: Janno Kusman CC BY-SA 2.0

Derelict Rummu quarry utility buildings in the water at night, September 2014. Author: Janno Kusman CC BY-SA 2.0

Remains in the water. Author: wwikgren CC BY 2.0

Remains in the water. Author: wwikgren CC BY 2.0

Free labor

The labor in the mine was free, as two nearby prisons provided workers for the quarry. The Rummu open-air prison and Murru prison eventually merged into one and was closed on new years eve of 2012. Excavation of limestone in the early 20th century was hard labor.

To make it even more difficult, the water pumps would sometimes malfunction, leaving the prisoners to continue digging and moving rocks in waist-deep water. In the 1990s, the pumps completely stopped working and the quarry quickly sunk into the lake again, flooding the building with water and irreversibly damaging the machinery.

Rummu and Murru Prisons. Author: wwikgren CC BY 2.0

Rummu and Murru Prisons. Author: wwikgren CC BY 2.0

 

Prison buildings. Author: wwikgren CC BY 2.0

Prison buildings. Author: wwikgren CC BY 2.0

 

Rusty prison door. Author: wwikgren CC BY 2.0

Rusty prison door. Author: wwikgren CC BY 2.0

Popular summer spot

There is a ground spoil tip mostly formed from Vasalemma marble slip next to the lake that accumulated over the years. Due to the color and texture of this marble-like rock, the “hill” has an unusual appearance.

The combination of the three together: the quarry, the lake, and the spoil tip, make a striking scene. The aesthetic is so unique that the site has become a popular site for photographers, hikers, scuba divers, film-maker, and other tourists. The place is also popular as a summer spot, venue for music concerts, and site for sports events due to its unique layout.

Rummu quarry and the mountainesque Vasalemma spoil tip. Author: wwikgren CC BY 2.0

Rummu quarry and the mountainesque Vasalemma spoil tip. Author: wwikgren CC BY 2.0

 

Graffiti on the abandoned quarry building. Author: wwikgren CC BY 2.0

Graffiti on the abandoned quarry building. Author: wwikgren CC BY 2.0

Closed for visitors

Around 2016, due to increased popularity, the place was closed off to visitors. Several serious incidents precipitated this decision. In 2014, a 17-year-old girl injured her back jumping from a quarry wall into the lake. In 2016, a 35-year-old man was found drowned in the quarry waters.

Professional divers made public recommendations against the diving practice because the lake bed contains scattered pieces of metal spikes, broken blocks of concrete, and barbed wire, all of which pose a possibly fatal danger to visitors.