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A hypnotic maze of subdivisions stretches along Anderson Mill Road as you drive north out of Austin. Then, just before you reach downtown Cedar Park, towering mounds of loose rock rise like ashes from a giant cigarette. Throughout the Texas Hill Country, this sort of pitted, alien topography is increasingly common. The massive craters result from the mining of what’s known as aggregate—sand, gravel, crushed stone, and many other particulates that are used to make building materials such as glass, asphalt, and concrete.Limestone quarries such as the one that straddles Anderson Mill, which is known as the Lime Creek Quarry, now cover tens of thousands of acres of Central Texas, accounting for 80 percent of all the limestone quarried statewide. The hunger for the stuff—in…
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