The White Water Quarry
Place of origin of all LASA® varieties for over 90 years
It is South Tyrol's most powerful marble quarry and one of the world's largest deposits of white marble in a mountain massif: the White Water Quarry (Weißwasserbruch). At an altitude of 1,526 m, the quarry, located at the orographic right entrance to the Lasa Valley (Laaser Tal), leads several kilometres deep into the interior of the LASA marble mountain via a widely entwined network of labyrinthine tunnels and excavation halls. With lengths totalling 4 kilometres, a width of 20 and a height of 30 to 40 metres, the tunnels are as large as cathedrals. The marble quarry takes its name from the small waterfall called "White Water" nearby, whose water is enriched by the minerals and substances contained in the marble.
The year was 1883, when the quarry was first leased and cultivated by the Laas (Lasa) mason and marble pioneer Josef Lechner. LASA marble was initially extracted by open-cast mining. From 1896, Lechner drove an adit (gallery) into the mountain and from then on operated the quarry in an underground mining format. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, "Marmor-Lechner", as the marble entrepreneur was also commonly called, employed up to 100 men in the White Water Quarry. From 1921, the Munich sculptor and "Lasa Marmo" founder Mathias Gasteiger took over the quarry on a lease. Lasa Marmo has been using the White Water Quarry since its existence in 1925. To this day, it is the most important marble quarry for the LASA marble industry.
In the White Water Quarry, Lasa Marmo extracts marble of the highest quality. This is high-quality, white and highly crystalline marble. With a value of 97.04 percent, a sample from the White Water Quarry has the highest white-metric characteristic value of all marble quarries in the region. Depending on the quality and especially the colour, the marble extracted from the White Water Quarry is processed in the "Lasa Marmo" factory. While in Lechner's time the white statuary marble extracted from the White Water Quarry was still used by numerous well-known sculptors for monuments and memorials all over the world - for example for the Queen Victoria Memorial in London - today the White Water Quarry marble is mainly used for wall claddings, floor tiles, tiles, floors, stairs, window sills and skirting boards.
For example, all the wall and floor claddings of the new New York City railway station, the WTC Transportation Hub, are made of marble that originated in the Lasa (Laas) White Water Quarry.
The quarries in the Lasa Valley (Laaser Tal)
The areas where Lasa Marmo Ltd. quarries marble are located in the autonomous province of Bolzano-South Tyrol (Italian name: Bolzano-Alto Adige; German name: Bozen-Südtirol), which belongs to Italy, and are situated in the Venosta Valley (German name: Vinschgau), more specifically in the Lasa Valley (German name: Laaser Tal), and belong to the municipal area of Lasa (German name: Laas), which is located between Merano (Meran) and Malles Venosta (Mals).
All of the Lasa (Laas) quarries belong to the Jenn Cliff Massif, precisely that mountain ridge with the largest natural bed of marble. The marble deposits in the Jenn Cliff Massif are estimated at approximately 30 million cubic meters. It is therefore among the largest white marble deposits worldwide. The White Water Quarry at an altitude of 1567 meters above sea level, which is today managed by Lasa Marmo, is the most operated marble quarry in the Venosta Valley (Laaser Tal).
In addition, there are the Lechner Quarries, comprising the Jenn Cliff Quarry, Zirm Cliff Quarry, and the Mahd Cliff Quarry. Historic discoveries and quarries: Located on a level with the White Water Quarry is the Quarry Tarnell. The Mahd Cliff discovery is however located behind the Jenn Rift at 1780 m, and a bit further into the Lasa Valley (Laaser Tal), the Valtin Ground discovery is located at 1914 m. The discovery place in the Lasa Valley (Laaser Tal), where marble was first exploited was the 'Jenn Cliff Ries'. Between 2150 m and 2200 m behind and above the Zirmkopf the historic Jenn Cliff Quarries can be found: New Quarry, Middle Quarry and Back Quarry. At the Zirmkopf (1914 m) the Zirm Cliff Quarry was formerly exploited, as well as the Upper Nessel Cliff (1635 m) and Lower Nessel Cliff (1610 m) in the Jenn Rift.
Experience the White Water Quarry virtually
Like all other quarries, the White Water Quarry lies in the Stelvio (Stilfser Joch) National Park and therefore cannot be reached by public roads. Due to the mining activity, the White Water Quarry is not accessible to visitors. However, in order to convey the special fascination of an underground visit to the Lasa (Laas) marble quarries, we offer you a virtual visit to the quarry.
Thanks to modern 360° film technology and drone flight, you can get an impression in Virtual Reality 3D of the place of origin of the Lasa marble - equipped with commercially available VR glasses or VR glasses suitable for smartphones - and, among other things, be there when a 30-tonne block is broken from the marble warehouse and is removed ready for transport to the plant. The 360° view without VR effect also works on mobile phones and desktops.