My trusty assistant, Maizie, was on the job as we hiked around and above the Henderson Molybdenum Mine near Empire, Colorado.
The mine is surrounded by U.S Forest land of the Arapahoe National Forest.
Yes. It is a tough job. And yes, we were happy to do it.
Molybdenum, known informally as Moly or Molly, is a chemical element with the symbol Mo and atomic number 42. The atomic number alone is enough to endear this shiny silvery-gray (OK, it's not really brown, like Molly Brown of Titanic fame) metal to the Douglas Adams' fans of the Universe.
The name molybdenum is derived from Neo-Latin molybdaenum, from Ancient Greek Μόλυβδος or molybdos, meaning lead. Molybdenum, the element, was discovered in 1778 by Carl Scheele.
Molybdenum does not occur naturally as a free metal on earth, but rather in various oxidation states in minerals. The free element has the 6th-highest melting point of any element and readily forms hard, stable carbides in alloys. Because of this high melting point, most of the production of molybdenum is in making steel alloys, including high strength alloys and superalloys.
The red arrow below marks the location of the Henderson Mine buildings; the conical orangeish peak to the right is the "glory hole" which is the result of collapsing of the peak during underground mining:
We saw moly slag ponds, super-secret buildings,
a boreal toad-crossing sign,
and lots of waterbars* (though our thirst was never quenched).
*a ridge made across a hill road to divert rain water to one side.
And sadly, we also saw the rocks we had to leave behind. . .
Here's a one-minute video from our Tuesday in the mountains, mounts, and peaks:
Field "Work" above Timberline
Looking for your best moly, waterbar, or glory hole stories. I heard wonderful moly, angelite (anhydrite), nephrite (jade), and other stories from rockhound Jack Sleimers of Moss Rock Shop in Chief Hosa, CO, today (Sunday, 9/13).
A man and his moly:
A man and his moly:
All in the name of science,