Touristic Fruition of the Disused Quarry of Busca Onyx: Problematics and Strategies


The paper presents the geotouristic project carried out on Busca Onyx quarry (Piedmont, Italy). Busca Onyx (also called Busca Alabaster) is an ornamental stone quarried from the seventeenth century until the early years of 1900, when the quarry was closed. This stone was greatly appreciated by the architects working for the House of Savoy who used this material in the decorative apparatus of many churches and civil buildings mainly in Turin, the ancient seat of the House. The quarry site is very interesting from both geological and historical point of views. The area is characterized by paleokarst formations and the deposits developed in an ancient cave system. Despite its name, Busca Onyx is a speleothem-derived rock (calcite-alabaster). The peculiarity of the quarry lies in its morphology; in fact, it is composed of four artificial canyons exploited in the side of the hill. The canyons are around 100 m long, 2–3 m wide, and up to 40 m deep, determining a landscape, which is very suggestive for tourists and excursionists. Nowadays, the quarry is abandoned and the site can be used for didactic and geotouristic purposes; in fact, a characterization project recently started. Busca Onyx and its quarry were characterized using a multidisciplinary approach, linking data obtained from geoscience studies (such as mineralogy, petrography, geochemistry, and geomorphology) to local history. All the information obtained through the characterization project describes a complex geological and environmental system, which is also a precious site for local cultural enhancement.

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    Originally existed other caves in the area, completely destroyed by the quarry expliotation.


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The authors wish to thank the Municipal Administration of the City of Busca for the support to the project.

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Correspondence to Emanuele Costa.

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Marengo, A., Borghi, A., Bittarello, E. et al. Touristic Fruition of the Disused Quarry of Busca Onyx: Problematics and Strategies. Geoheritage 11, 47–54 (2019).

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  • Quarry
  • Ornamental stone
  • Geotourism
  • Piedmont
  • Calcite-alabaster