Work Begins on World’s Deepest Underground Lab

DUSEL at Homestake, SD.  Image Credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation

DUSEL at Homestake, SD. Image Credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation

Below the Black Hills in South Dakota the world’s deepest underground lab is being built with two even deeper labs in the planning stages.  On Monday, June 22nd, construction began 4,850 feet below the Earth’s surface under the abandoned Homestake Gold Mine that was once the home of Nobel Prize-winning research in the 1960s.  The location is extremely desirable because it is thought to be too deep for interference from cosmic rays that would interfere with research on dark matter, although a number of scientific disciplines will use the labs.

The Large Underground Xenon Detector experiment, or LUX is scheduled to be the first dark matter experiment. It is a project to capture signals from WIMPs (weakly interactive massive particles), the substance of dark matter.  Detecting these particles could provide greater insight into the Big Bang.

For more information on this lab, see the Homestake DUSEL website and the Sanford Underground Laboratory at Homestake website.

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