Have you ever wondered where salt comes from? I mean, salt is in everything from fertilizers (potassium chloride) to the dinner table (sodium chloride), but where does it actually come from? Why, salt mines, of course! They’re not just for horrible industrial accidents or mad scientist lairs anymore. English Russia has a great look inside the workings of an actual salt mine.
For example, I had no idea that salt was mined from the length of the tunnel (or longwall in mining parlance), rather than at the end of the tunnel like how I assume everything else is mined. Each pass of that harvester up there eats up 10-20 inches of mine wall! I guess that’s why salt mining operations expand outward, moreso than sinking deeper into earth. Miners use giant hydraulic supports to hold up the roof; when it’s time to mine a different area, those supports are removed and (eventually) the mine collapses in on itself, sealing the hole.
Safe, huh? You could not pay me enough to be a miner! Working in a pit in the dark, below ground, constantly risking being buried alive? No thanks. Fortunately, we’ll soon be able to get all the salt we need from Mars.