Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Better travelling through chemistry: Radon mines

Greetings from Billings, Montana! It is day four of our great honeymoon road trip, and I've found a way to enjoy chemistry on the road. We visited the Merry Widow Health Mine yesterday in Basin, Montana. It was...interesting. When we first pulled into town, it felt a little creepy. We drove through the town and down to another health mine and we didn't see a soul. Not a person, not a dog, not a breeze. We decided to check out the other health mine - the Merry Widow!

Radon mines are purported to have health benefits and can possibly cure all ailments if you sit in them long enough (here's a link...) Radon gas is a colorless, tasteless, inert element formed by the aging or disintegration of radium, and these mines can contain up to 175 times the legal limit allowed in houses. We paid our $5.00 and wandered through the cold, damp mines, reading all the graffiti on the walls from other travellers. We enjoyed the "Doggie Den" because we had a chance to pet some cutie pie Bichon Frises that reminded us of our lovely Blondie dog (sniff sniff...we miss her so much!) but we chose not to soak our feet as it was about 50F inside, which is cold even for a toaster like me!

We were only there about 45 minutes...about 29 hours, 15 minutes shorter than they suggest for a complete healing of all ailments.

Montana is filled with chemistry references - Carbon County, Phosphorous, White Sulphur, and so on. It's a chemist's dream! (And a geologist's dream - the landscapes are incredible!)

We're off today to Mount Rushmore!

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