Thursday, January 15, 2009

In Plain Sight | Soudan Mine

It's unexpected, but in the tiny northern-Minnesota town of Soudan, the weather is 50 degrees all day, every day. It never snows, it never rains, and there’s no such thing as a wind chill advisory. All you have to do is watch out for the bats.

Located ½ mile beneath the shores of Lake Vermillion, the Soudan Underground Mine State Park is an extremely consistent place that also suffers from an extreme case of split-personality.

One minute, visitors can ride in an ore car (yes, while dodging bats) and learn about the “ancient” days when hematite was mined by hand in candlelight. The next, you can walk into a futuristic physics lab and stand in the line of fire as trillions of neutrinos are beamed at you—450 miles through the earth’s crust—from Fermilab. You know, regular science fair stuff.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this place is that nearly $200 million worth of construction equipment, scientific instruments, and supplies have been transported down a mine shaft that measures only 4’x6’.

Also remarkable? The average temperature for the week in Minneapolis is -7 degrees.

1 comment:

Gregory said...

Nice comments on the MINOS Hall at the Soudan Laboratory. A couple notes: the laboratory is operated by the University of Minnesota; experiments conducted include research on: Proton Decay, Neutrino Mass Properties and Dark Matter; funding comes from the UofM, Fermi Lab, Dept. of Energy and National Science Foundation. The Civil Engineer firm CNA Engineers and Miller Dunwiddie Architecture designed the laboratory.