Sanford Underground Laboratory
|Parts of this article (those related to the current status of DUSEL and the development of the "Sanford Underground Laboratory") are outdated. (November 2013)|
The Sanford Underground Laboratory at Homestake (or short Sanford lab) is an underground laboratory housing multiple physics experiments, in areas such as dark matter and neutrino research. It was initially planned to be part of the DUSEL project (Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory).
History of the Homestake mine
The Homestake mine in South Dakota was a deep underground gold mine located in Lead, South Dakota, and until its closure in 2002 it was the largest and deepest gold mine in North America.
Scientific experiments came to the mine in the late 1960s, when the Homestake experiment (also known as Davis experiment) was used by Raymond Davis, Jr. to observe solar neutrinos – this allowed him to discover the solar neutrino problem.
The Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory, or DUSEL was a major project under consideration by the research wings of the United States Department of Energy. DUSEL was planed to be a series of large laboratories, caverns, and cleanrooms serving the field of underground science. The main impetus for DUSEL was the study of extremely rare nuclear physics processes, like neutrino scattering, dark matter interactions, and neutrinoless double beta decay, which can only be studied in the absence of cosmic rays. (Cosmic ray muons on the Earth's surface cause backgrounds in these types of detectors, but the particles cannot penetrate great depths in rock.) Easy access to these great depths will open new frontiers in geomicrobiology, geosciences, and mining engineering, making DUSEL a multidisciplinary facility.
Various proposals for an American underground science facility have existed for at least a decade. Eight teams submitted proposals in 2005, including both existing mines (which need only be retrofitted and enlarged) and "green sites" from which a new facility could be excavated. Of these eight, via various downselections, the NSF gave R&D grants to two proposals, Homestake Mine (South Dakota) and the Henderson molybdenum mine in Colorado. In July 2007 the NSF gave its approval to Homestake.
If completed as initially planned, Homestake would have been the deepest underground science facility in the world, 8,000 feet (2,400 m) below ground (7200 meters of water equivalent, for cosmic-ray shielding purposes), deeper than the current record holder, SNOLAB in Sudbury, Ontario at 6,800 feet (2,100 m) below (6000 mwe). The next-deepest US facilities are the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant at 2300 mwe and Soudan mine at 2200 mwe.
Gaining access to that depth took some time, since as of 10 August 2009[ref] the mine was flooded to the 4,992-foot (1,522 m) depth and needed to be pumped dry and rusted equipment repaired. Plans were to construct an interim laboratory, at the 4,850-foot (1,480 m) level. This "Sanford Underground Laboratory at Homestake", currently funded by T. Denny Sanford ($70 million) and the state of South Dakota ($35 million) was to support a National Science Foundation grant application for the full DUSEL (est. $550 million) in 2011.
In 2008, the Rapid City Public Library created a DUSEL wiki that collects news articles, photos, and information pertaining to the experiments that will take place in Homestake Mine. It also includes a list of other underground science facilities and a forum for community discussion.
In late 2010, the oversight board of the National Science Foundation dropped out of the project leaving the future of DUSEL in doubt. The National Science Board rejected requests from DUSEL’s designers for more money after spending the $19 million allocated. Additionally, the board did not like its proposed role in DUSEL that would have made the foundation part of a stewardship program to run it.
|This section requires expansion. (November 2013)|
Experiments that at one time were part of the Sanford lab, or were planed to be part, include:
- Large Underground Xenon Detector (LUX): Located on the Davis campus, initial run completed in 2013
- "07-075: Team Selected for the Proposed Design of the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory" (Press release). NSF. 2007-07-10. Retrieved 2007-08-28.
- Weekly Water-Level Reports. South Dakota Science and Technology Authority. 2009-02-02. Retrieved 2009-02-06
- Bill Harlan (2006-11-28). "Mine Water Rises". Rapid City Journal. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-08-28.
- Welcome to deep science. South Dakota Science and Technology Authority. Retrieved 2008-04-13
- "Welcome to Rapid City Public Library's Sanford Lab Wiki!". Retrieved 2011-10-11.
- "U.S. Science Community Suffers Setbacks Despite Obama's Push for More Investing". Fox News. 2011-07-16.
- Sanford Underground Laboratory at Homestake home page.
- Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso
- Kamioka Observatory
- DUSEL wiki hosted by Rapid City Public Library