Rocks & soils

The rocks and soils are an important commodity group for Switzerland. This includes raw materials for the brick-and-tile industry, lime and marl for the binder material industry, gravels and sands as well as dimension stone and rock for construction purposes.

Crushed stone
Crushed stone is an important raw material in Switzerland.

Summary

Rocks and soils are designated as bulk raw materials of the construction industry; in a geological sense they occur as rock (hard or unconsolidated rock) and as mineral mixtures. Examples are:

  • dimension stone
  • imestone and marl
  • sand and gravel
  • clay
  • crushed stone
  • hard ashlar


Rocks and soils belong, together with the industrial minerals, to the non-metallic natural resources. Their application in the tile-and-brick, binder material or construction industry is diverse. At the same time, the requirements for the exploration of deposits, processing, refining and market research are particularly high. Unlike with ores, the utilization potential of a deposit can often only be evaluated by means of a feasibility study including industrial-scale production trials. The majority of the locally needed rock and soil is mined and processed inside Switzerland.

Map showing the rock and soil deposits of central Switzerland utilized in 1995
Map showing the rock and soil deposits of Central Switzerland utilized in 1995: sandstone (orange), limestone (blue), marlstone and claystone (gray)
© Atlas der Schweiz 2013

Who is who

The Swiss Geotechnical Commission (SGTK) is the official contact with respect to rocks and soils in Switzerland. It undertakes investigations of the usable raw materials of our country on behalf of the federal government. In addition, there are various professional associations and societies in this field.

Data

The SGTK, since its establishment in 1899, has been publishing documentation, reports, databases and maps on rocks and soils in Switzerland. Professional associations and societies issue additional publications.

Publications


Geodata

The Geological Data Viewer and Atlas of Switzerland provide map-based representations on deposits of “rocks and soils” in Switzerland.


Collections

Several extensive collections in the field of Swiss rocks and soils (hand specimens and rock thin sections) are maintained by the SGTK and can be viewed by prior appointment.


Mineral Resources

ETH Zurich Department of Earth Sciences
Georesources Switzerland Group
NO F35
Sonneggstrasse 5
CH-8092 Zurich
Tel.
+41 44 632 37 28

E-Mail


Print contact

Rocks & soils

Cement mineral resources