Modelling Scoria Operations

Scoria loading in Antonito, CO in 1998.  Photo by Roland Levin.

Scoria loading in Antonito, CO in 1998. Photo by Roland Levin. See his great site on scoria and perlite operations in CO here.

Scoria is a volcanic rock containing many holes or vesicles. It is generally dark in color–generally dark brown, black or red. The holes or vesicles form when gases that were dissolved in the magma come out of solution as it erupts, creating bubbles in the molten rock, some of which are frozen in place as the rock cools and solidifies.  An old name for scoria is cinder.

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Scoria differs from pumice, another vesicular volcanic rock, in having larger vesicles and thicker vesicle walls, and hence is denser. Scoria has several useful characteristics that influence how it is used. It is somewhat porous, has high surface area and strength for its weight, and often has striking colors.

It has several uses:

– landscaping and drainage works.
– high-temperature insulation.
– at oil well locations to limit mud issues with heavy truck traffic.
– traction aid on ice and snow covered roads.

Iron Horse Scoria in North Dakota.  --photo courtesy of Iron Horse  Scoria.

Iron Horse Scoria in North Dakota. –photo courtesy of Iron Horse Scoria.

It is often trucked from the location and shipped by rail.

Scoria loading in North Dakota.

Scoria loading in North Dakota.  –photo courtesy of Iron Horse Scoria.

A recent post covered rail operations related to scoria in Colorado.

Now, for modelling scoria operations.

Scoria loader in Santa Fe NM, 1984.  --©photo by  B. Smith

Scoria loader in Santa Fe NM, 1984. –©photo by B. Smith

B. Smith came upon this structure in Santa Fe, NM in 1984.  After some investigation, he learned that the facility was used to ship scoria from nearby deposits.  He went on to model a similar operation on his LCN.

Model of the stucture.

Sanderson Scoria on the LCN. –photo by B. Smith

Close up showing grill for unloading tracks.

Close up showing grill for unloading tracks. –photo by B. Smith

Load ready for pick up.

Load ready for pick up. –photo by B. Smith

Empties track to the left.  --photo by B. Smith

Empties track to the left. –photo by B. Smith

I have acquired a few DRGW and MP Exactrail hoppers to supply cars for a proposed scoria operation on my layout.  Exactrail recently issued a second release of DRGW hoppers that are perfect.  The model is outstanding in its level of detail.  The included black coal loads could be used to replicate black scoria as is.

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Tangent also makes a fine product to support operations of this type.

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