When I was in Lead, South Dakota yesterday I saw several signs for the above-mentioned facility. When I got home last night I Googled it and was so intrigued I thought I’d better come back on my way out of Rapid City to get more information.
What you are looking at is the Visitor Center for the lab. The lab itself is underground in the former Homestake Mine and is not open to the public. Homestake was the largest and deepest gold mine in North America before closing in 2002. Parts of the mine are up to 8,000 feet underground.
This facility is where up to 1,000 people per day, mostly scientists and technicians, work doing scientific research (duh). They mainly study dark matter (although I’d think just about anything 8,000 feet underground would be pretty dark) and neutrino (which I’m not even going to attempt to explain. Just Google it.). Way over MY head!! There are no tours of the facility itself but the Visitor Center did have lots of photos and graphics which attempted to explain exactly what it is they do, as well as giving information on the history and workings of the gold mine which preceded it.
After leaving the Center I drove through Deadwood (the next town over from Lead) again and discovered that I had only walked through the historic Main Street area yesterday, and there was quite a bit more of the town to see. Then I headed out to the interstate and starting working my way towards Bozeman.