Our guide described ore cars to us. We had
seen these in the
coal mine and drew them for our site, but we
had no idea there was a reason for their shape. In the
picture on the right, you can see that it is triangular in
shape. Ore cars haul the coal or mineral ore out of the mine. It
can hold up to two tons of ore! It is made in that shape
so that when the ore fills it up, it becomes heavier at
the top. This makes it easier to dump the ore because
most of the weight is at the top. We thought that was
These ore cars sit in the passageway. Ore is chipped
off of the walls and roof areas and put in a chute.
The rock or mineral travels down the chute using gravity and
then falls into the ore car. It is taken out of the mine
and a new one replaces it. In the old days, donkeys were
used to pull the cars out of the mine. The
on the left shows the ore coming down the chute and falling into
the ore car.
This mine puts mannequins [dummies] into the places where
miners used to be. There were engineer ones, miner
ones, and even office ones. Even though they didn't look
real, it made the tour more realistic for us.
In the middle of the mine, the lights were turned off and
only an ultraviolet light was turned on. This made the
fluorescent rocks shine! We were able to take a couple of
chunks home with us.
The last room on the tour was the "Rainbow Room." This
room was filled with
fluorescent rocks. They glowed in
beautiful colors. Sphalerite glows orange. Fluorite glows
purple, green, or beige. Willemite glows green.
Calcite glows in lots of different colors. The picture to
the right shows how they looked under ultraviolet light!
minerals are taken out of the mine on conveyors,
they travel through a long tube-like building to a place
where they are stored until they can be loaded into trucks.
This mine was different from the coal mine because this
one stressed the minerals that were found there. In the
museum there were lots of minerals from all over the world.
It was great! Our guide didn't hide the fact that mining
was hard. We didn't see one job that looked easy.
In our reading, we learned that children used to work in the
mines and still do in some places. We felt very lucky that
we weren't working there. It is hard, dirty, and very
dangerous work. The miners are courageous to do the job
each and every day.