Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sanford Underground Research Facility

Last month on our trip to the Midwest, we came across the Sanford Underground Research Facility http://www.sanfordlab.org/in Lead, SD. There was a visitor’s center and we were able to take a tour. Since we had never heard of this place before, I thought it would be a fun thing to share with others.

This facility is located at the former Homestake Gold Mine. It was supported through state funds until 2015 and now is funded by the Department of Energy. It cover 188 acres on the surface but goes so far underground that it covers 370 miles underground.

The main level for science research is at the 4850 level. Sanford lab maintains about 12 miles of area for science activities.

According to the website:

“The Yates Shaft, which was raised in 1939 and descends 5,000 feet, is the primary access point for scientists and others who work underground at Sanford Lab. The hoists convey equipment and materials used to build and maintain experiments, enhance infrastructure and excavate caverns.”


“In 2014, the Department of Energy's High Energy Physics committee prioritized physics experiments, giving neutrino and dark matter projects high-priority. Sanford Lab houses two experiments named in the P-5 report: LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) and LBNF/DUNE. 
LZ, a second-generation dark matter experiment, will continue the search for weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs), while LBNF/DUNE, the largest mega-science project ever on U.S. soil, will study the properties of neutrinos.”                     

On our tour, we were unable to go underground but we learned about the history of the Homestake Mine and we were able to see the elevator that takes the scientists down below the earth.

It was a fascinating tour and if you ever get to go on it, you will find it very interesting.

Have you ever been to this location? If so, please share your thoughts.

No comments: