What is a Salt Mine?
A salt mine is an excavated area on or beneath the earth’s surface created for the purpose of extracting this sought-after mineral. This widely used crystalline mineral varies in color, and may be found in seawater or on land. It is necessary to mine salt to get to underground deposits. A salt mine has shafts for entry and exit and is typically comprised of rooms created in a checkerboard pattern. Extraction and processing includes blasting the crystals free, then crushing them several times before sending them to the surface for further processing.
Also referred to as sodium chloride, salt is a mineral with a cubic, crystalline formation. Its color ranges from grayish to transparent or frosty white to pink, depending on its purity and mineral composition of the parent rock. It is widely used for industrial applications as well as in food.
Salt is a very abundant mineral, and is most commonly found in seawater, making up 77 percent of dissolved solids there. Deposits on the earth’s surface are a result of the past evaporation of bodies of water. Salt deposits can also be found underground, in domes or veins among layers of sedimentary rock. In the latter cases, extraction requires the creation of a salt mine.