Friday, June 22, 2012

Kennecott Copper Mine

Despite the fact that my house is a raging pig sty of half packed boxes and family debris (hopefully moving next Tuesday--more on that later), I am trying to keep this month as "fun" and "summery" as possible since I need the diversion as much as anyone. We've biked to Snoasis several times after a full day of de-junking and packing, we've gone swimming a couple of times after a morning of the same, the kids have had several play dates with friends (the older two abhor that term of course--they just get together with friends), Kate spent a week at Girl's Camp with our church, Will has been on a couple of weekend campouts with the scouts already, Elizabeth did a day camp where she was thrilled to be able to do archery and canoeing, we took our little trip to the candy factory a few weeks back, and yesterday we met up with the Loosli's again to tour the Kennecott Copper Mine about 40 minutes away. (And then spent the evening . . . packing. WHY DO WE HAVE SO MUCH STUFF??? And what do you get rid of? Toys? Camping gear? Holiday decorations? Small kitchen appliances? Books? Clothes? Childhood memorabilia? Yes, a little bit of all the above has gone to a galaxy far, far away called Deseret Industries. Then there's the trash: I unearthed and threw away a 10-year-old bottle of Debrox among other things.)

The mine was pretty amazing, actually. All you really need to know is that it's the largest man made hole in the world, can be seen from space, and produces about 25% of the U.S. copper supplies. But the most interesting? Saren's great-great-grandfather discovered it! I didn't know this juicy little factoid until we were there together looking at a plaque that recognized him, but she told me she grew up hearing about her ancestor, Erastus Bingham (the mine is otherwise known as Bingham Canyon Mine) by the story her father titled, "The Reason We Aren't Billionaires." 

The story goes that Brigham Young asked Erastus to settle and farm the area, during which time he discovered the area was full of ore. He showed it to Brigham who told him to put it back into the ground--what they needed was food, not copper. Ack! As it turns out, the ore is only about 1% copper to begin with, and the time and effort to turn it into 100% copper would have been cost and time prohibitive in those days. I seriously couldn't believe the technology they use to turn that stuff into slabs of 100% copper. My little pea brain can't even begin to imagine how people figured out all those steps to begin with. 

So if you're in the area, you might want to drive over there and check it out. Especially if you have little boys who are into trucks. Holy cowzer. I really think they need to retire one of them and put it in front of the visitors center for kids to explore rather than just the big wheel that's out there. (The trucks can hold up to 325 tons of ore. They are MASSIVE!)

So without further ado, here are the few pics I took, and without my wide angle lens. (What was I THINKING not bringing my wide angle lens to photograph the largest man made hole in the WORLD??)

 See the dinky little regular sized car in between all those behemoths?
Yes, Wachael?

Three thumbs up!
There were quite a few cool exhibits in the visitors center along with an 18 minute movie about the mine (that didn't even mention poor Saren's great-great-grandpa!), but one of the only pictures I took inside was of this arial photograph of the mine to give a better scope of it's size:
Back outside:
Here's that wheel I was talking about:

Just because we're moving doesn't mean I'm not going to keep checking things off my summer bucket list!!

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