This is what 8,000 cubic yards of rock being blasted looks likeS

This once-in-a-lifetime photo captures a blast that tears through 8,000 cubic yards of rock in an old phosphate mine. It's just one of the marvels captured in the best engineering photos of 2009.

This photo is by Dan White, the project engineer at Conestoga-Rovers & Associates Inc. of Kalamazoo, MI. The firm's subcontractor, Superior Blasting Inc., was blowing up the rock to "generate more cost-effective riprap to cover site waste and structures." This is just one of the "Images of the Year" from Engineering News-Record. Check out a few of our other favorites below, and the rest over at the link. [ENR.com]

This is what 8,000 cubic yards of rock being blasted looks likeS

A system of pneumatic tubes being installed in St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction, CO. These tubes will deliver items to 25 different stations in the hospital. Probably with a whoo-chunk noise. Photo by Julie Radziwon, MEP Project Engineer, McCarthy Building Cos. Inc.

This is what 8,000 cubic yards of rock being blasted looks likeS

An excavator "flying" out of 120-foot-diameter shaft on the South Cobb Tunnel Project in Austell, GA. The machine was being used to muck out the bottom of the shaft, which is about 120 feet deep in this image but eventually went 200 foot down, thanks to "drill and shoot" methods. Even as just a 120-by-120 tunnel, it's pretty insane. Photo by Dwayne Easterling, Chief Tunnel Inspector, Jacobs Associates, San Francisco.

This is what 8,000 cubic yards of rock being blasted looks likeS

A tunnel-boring machine breaks through the rock at the junction of three tunnel sections, each of them 14.5 feet wide. This is under New York City's Bronx borough, and the machine is digging a tunnel that will carry raw water to the city's new filtration plant. Photo by Karen Martin, Island Wide Photo, Inwood, N.Y.

This is what 8,000 cubic yards of rock being blasted looks likeS

A worker "seemingly afloat" as he works among solar panels on a Zachry Holdings project. Photo by Dan Payton, San Antonio, Texas.