Welcome to the Museum of Moab

We offer fascinating exhibits on:

Geology -
the story of the earth’s evolution, culminating in the wonders of the Moab landscape visible today

Paleontology -
the remnants of the massive dinosaurs who once roamed the area of Moab

Archaeology -
the lives and crafts of the early inhabitants of the Moab and Four Corners region

Pioneer History -
the saga of the settlers who came to the Moab Valley in the late 19th century

Mining -
the tale of the search for riches and the legendary “Uranium Boom” of the mid-twentieth century

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Mi Vida Mine Tour


October 18, 2014

9:00am – 1:00pm

$55 Member/$65 non-Members


Come see the site of the original uranium discovery that set off the mining rush not just for the Moab area, but for the entire Colorado Plateau.


Before July 6, 1952, when geologist Charlie Steen drilled into the first pitchblende (uraninite) deposit found in North America, uranium exploration in the region was relatively small-scale and targeted at carnotite, a less pure variety of ore. As the exploration for and mining of uranium deposits increased after 1947, when the Atomic Energy Commission issued a request for the ore, a trickle of prospectors began steadily moving into the region. That trickle became a flood after Steen discovered what became his Mi Vida Mine, down near Lisbon Valley south of Moab. The deposit was so large, and of such better quality than what had been found previously, that it set off a rush that over the next thirty years transformed the Colorado Plateau region and its communities.


We will visit the site of the first Mi Vida Mine entrance and see the original discovery site (where Steen’s borrowed drill rig broke and he thought he was out of business until finding only later that he had already drilled through the pitchblende). We will also see the Big Buck Mine area and hear the history of the Mi Vida Mine as it developed over the years, also seeing foundations of some of the old buildings and what remains of the entrances in this reclaimed area.


Our guide for the day will be Charlie’s son, Mark Steen, who spent much of his childhood visiting this mine area and is now a businessman based in Colorado.


To register for this joint Museum of Moab/Canyonlands Field Institute half-day tour, stop in at the Museum of Moab front desk between 10am and 6pm, Mon–Sat, and fill out a registration form and pay by check, cash, or credit card. Or you may email director@moabmuseum.org for the form and bring it and payment in to the Museum as noted above. Registration is first come, first serve.



118 E. Center Street Moab, UT 84532 | (435) 259–7985
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