New Mexico Mining Museum


In 1950, Navajo rancher Paddy Martinez found uranium in this area of New Mexico. His discovery came at a time when the U.S. was building its nuclear weapon arsenal, and within months, mining companies rushed into the Grants/Cibola area with contracts from the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission for all the uranium they could produce. Mining engineers soon discovered that the area contained one of the largest uranium reserves in the world. A self-guided tour of the "Only Uranium Mining Museum in the World" takes visitors underground into a replica of a mine, complete with drilling and blasting equipment.

Activity Details

Activity Type:Trips and Destinations
Discipline:Civil, Environmental
Topic(s):Structures
Grade:K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Time:Full day

Fun Fact:Before the discovery of nuclear fission in 1939, the principal use of uranium (chiefly as oxides) was in pigments, ceramic glazes, and a yellow-green fluorescent glass. However, because of its high chemical and radiological toxicity, as well as its importance in nuclear fuel, those early uses of uranium and its compounds have largely ceased.