October 2011 Road Trip Day 4 El Malpais National Monument and the New Mexico Mining Museum

Posted on October 6th, 2011

We spent day 4 of our road trip in the Grants, NM area. We visited the El Malpais National Monument and then went to the New Mexico Mining Museum.
El Malpais is Spanish for badlands. It is an area of volcanic activity as recently as 3000 years ago. The evidence of this activity is the presence of jagged splatter cones, a lava tube system and ice caves. We visited two of the many features of the monument, La Ventana Natural Arch and the Sandstone Bluffs. Our photos are seen below.
Uranium was discovered near Grants in 1950. In a very short time uranium mining became the economic base of the area. There was an overall drop in demand for uranium in part due to the 3 Mile Island incident which resulted in the shutting down of all uranium mining in the Grants area in 1982. Some of the miners and local folks decided to construct a mock mine and museum in Grants. From left to right, the following photos show the underground mine, a drill that was used to make a hole to place blasting materials, uranium ore and yellowcake uranium.

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