Courtesy Soudan Underground Mine State Park
Visitors can delve into both the heart of America’s mining history and America’s technological future at the Soudan Underground Mine State Park. A historic Minnesota iron mine preserved beneath the earth now shelters a high-energy physics lab called the Soudan Underground Laboratory.
Scientists chose this location to look for dark matter, proof of the big bang and answer other questions about how the universe works. The half-mile underground depth filters out cosmic rays so scientists can conduct experiments that would be impossible above ground.
Lab builders used modern underground mining methods to construct the lab inside the former mine. Groups can travel underground to visit the lab and learn about the discoveries being made 2,341 feet below the earth’s surface.
The park can also be explored above at locations including the 1882 mine’s dry house, drill shop, crusher house and engine house. The park also features hiking trails, northern hardwood conifer forests and the Soudan Iron Formation.
One hike takes visitors along a boardwalk past one of the deepest open mine pits in the country, so guests can look down into the darkness that they just finished touring.
For more information, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/soudan_underground_mine.
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