Boulby is home to the second deepest mine in Europe – its 1,400m (4,600ft) depths being a mere 40-odd metres short of those of the Pyhäsalmi Mine in Finland. Construction began there in 1969, and it began giving up its treasure – potash – in 1973. It supplies more than half of the
of the stuff (which is used in agricultural fertiliser), with rock salt being
harvested, too, as a by-product. UK
The mine is, however, perhaps more famously known for its underground laboratory. Due entirely to the depth of its workings, boffins run two very expensive-sounding items of equipment near the foot of the mine, namely, the ZEPLIN-
III and DRIFT-II dark matter detectors.
If you’re expecting a layman’s explanation of the nature and importance
of this strange-sounding and invisible material, then I’m sorry to disappoint. Try Wikipedia or the BBCwebsite instead – where, at the latter, you will find a TV report from Boulby.
But it’s clearly important work. And this remote outpost on the
coast is pretty privileged to be host to such a barrage of
expensive equipment – for the DRIFT-II is one of only two such gadgets in
operation worldwide. And why a mine
shaft, you may wonder? Well, at more
than a kilometre below ground and surrounded by solid rock, the delicate
equipment is safely shielded from interfering radiation from outer space. Cleveland
It’s all been running for several years now, though I don’t think they’ve found much.
More information here.