These studies aim to relate the substantial influence that the extraction of aggregates exerts upon environment. I had lived in rural Virginia. The mainstay of local commerce has, and continues to be, the extraction and distribution of coal. This industry’s revolution from underground to surface mining continues to fuel manifest industrial purposes. The specific extraction process utilized to service this demand operates as the object of these studies. As a process, Mountain-Top removal requires an overwhelming industrial effort, which results in the natural environments complete subordination and reorganization to those forces.
The German theorist, Walter Benjamin, has written about the remorseless effects of technology’s vaunted progress. Writing about a drawing of Paul Klee’s, Angelus Novus, 1920,
“…shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. This storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.” 1
I commit these modest studies to this storm.