Hénán molybdenum project - Hénán fieldwork photos

Kurt Friehauf - 2008

Friehauf - China 2008 photosXiao Ping, Lauren, and Anthony investigate a small molybdenum deposit mined by locals many years ago. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosXiao bóshì (Dr. Xiao) - our hosting professor at the China University of Geosciences.  He and I don't work together anymore because we have very different goals in the field - he's primarily focused on basic grass-roots exploration and consulting, whereas I'm only focused in trying to carefully document the geology of ore deposits and deduce the processes that form them so we can better explore for new deposits - but he's still a good guy.  

Friehauf - China 2008 photosWaste rock pile at one of the mines we visited with typical onlookers

Friehauf - China 2008 photosMolybdenum country in Hénán Province

Friehauf - China 2008 photosLow-temperature magnesian skarn veins in dolomitic marble

Friehauf - China 2008 photosOnlookers observing Americans - probably the first they've ever seen in their entire lives.

Friehauf - China 2008 photosA small headframe for a shaft into one of the mines. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosOne of the larger mines that we visited.  Molybdenum mining in Hénán is done on a different scale than I'm used to here in the U.S., but they get the job done!

Friehauf - China 2008 photosAnother observing onlooker. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosOld, abandoned barracks at one of the mines. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosDecent porphyry!  I was worried we wouldn't find any as we were whisked from place to place, but I found this in outcrop along one of our marches.  The holes are where hydrothermally-altered feldspars have been weathered out.  The gray blobs are quartz phenocrysts.  That's Lauren's finger for scale. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosOne finds cute dogs all over the world and Hénán was no exception!

Friehauf - China 2008 photosMiarolitic cavity in one of the granites we visited.  Miarolitic cavities are holes that form during the very last stages of crystallization of a magma.  As minerals crystallize from a magma, there is excess water and CO2 - collectively called "volatiles" - that become concentrated in the residual liquid magma.  Those volatiles can form pockets of liquid within the main body of crystals plus magma.  After the igneous rock is completely hardened, the pockets of volatiles remain as little caves that can be exposed by weathering or mining. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosUnderground at one of the small molybdenum mines.
It was strange wearing shorts underground, but going underground wasn't in the original plan that day.  When working in China, one must be extremely flexible because the plan rarely coincides with what one will actually get to do. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosLauren and Anthony underground at one of the molybdenum mines. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosOre carts in the mine were pushed by hand - just like mining in the old days!

Friehauf - China 2008 photosAfter blasting, molybdenite ore was loaded by hand into the ore carts using a scoop like this one.  Loading a few hundred scoops of rock every day would sure build muscle!

Friehauf - China 2008 photosChinese miners wisely "barring down."
Barring down is a procedure practiced by miners everywhere in the world.  Miners poke at the rock with the long pole and listen to the sound.  Tight "tinking" sounds indicate solid, secure rock.  Hollower "thock" sounds indicate a fracture in the rock that could potentially result in a rock fall.  Barring down is the practice of testing the rock, then prying down any loose, fracture rock so it does not fall on you while you're working. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosLauren and Anthony working underground

Friehauf - China 2008 photosAt the portal to one of the mines - Anthony, Lauren, Xiao Ping, and another Chinese student

Friehauf - China 2008 photosAnother cute puppy at one of the mines.

Friehauf - China 2008 photosThese sticks have nothing to do with mining, but we encountered them while visiting one of the sites.  The sticks have been drilled out with rows of holes in which ear fungus is cultivated for food. 

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