From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “East Drift ground support project completed”

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From Sanford Underground Research Facility

October 22, 2018

Constance Walter

More than 6,500 rock bolts, 1,100 pounds of wire mesh went into rehab project on 4850 Level.

The East Drift of the 4850 Level. Matthew Kapust

The numbers tell the story.

For more than two years, Fritz Reller, a member of the Underground Maintenance Crew (UMC), focused on installing ground support in the East Drift of the 4850 Level. He removed thousands of rocks, drilled more than 6,500 holes for rock bolts and secured over 1,100 panels of welded wire mesh through an area that covers approximately 1,850 feet between the Yates Shaft and Four Winze Wye.

“It was a challenging job, but we couldn’t be happier with the outcome,” said Bryce Pietzyk, underground access director. “The quality Fritz puts into the project is obvious. He is very dedicated and got the project done safely.”

The drift is used to convey scientists, crews, contractors and equipment via locomotive between the Davis and Ross Campuses.

“The completion of the project ensures the ground will be stable and safe for all of our stakeholders,” said Mike Headley, executive director for Sanford Lab. “Fritz has been doing this kind of work for years. He is meticulous, and the work is of the highest quality.”

Luke Scott, UMC lead, knows first-hand what goes into ground support. He worked for nearly 14 years at Homestake and 10 years at Sanford Lab.

His team, which included infrastructure technicians Reller, Mike Oates and Bill Geffre, excavated the Davis Campus and helped prepare the space for outfitting. They also put in ground support for CASPAR (Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research) and the Black Hills State University Underground Campus, both existing spaces once used as shops and maintenance areas by Homestake.

The work is physically challenging. Crews must first bar down the drift to remove any loose rock. They use jackleg drills that weigh more than 100 pounds to drill thousands of holes in hard rock then drive the rock bolts. All to make the space safe for stakeholders.

“We have to make sure we do an excellent job preparing every area and making sure we stay safe,” Scott said. “It all comes with experience and Fritz has got a lot of that.”

For more than two years, Reller barred, meshed and bolted along an 1,850-foot drift on the 4850 Level of Sanford Lab. He did it meticulously and without a single safety incident.

“That says a lot for the kind of work Fritz does,” Pietzyk added. “I’m really proud of him and the rest of the team, too. They all take their work seriously and do a great job.”

See the full article here .

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About us.
The Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, South Dakota, advances our understanding of the universe by providing laboratory space deep underground, where sensitive physics experiments can be shielded from cosmic radiation. Researchers at the Sanford Lab explore some of the most challenging questions facing 21st century physics, such as the origin of matter, the nature of dark matter and the properties of neutrinos. The facility also hosts experiments in other disciplines—including geology, biology and engineering.

The Sanford Lab is located at the former Homestake gold mine, which was a physics landmark long before being converted into a dedicated science facility. Nuclear chemist Ray Davis earned a share of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2002 for a solar neutrino experiment he installed 4,850 feet underground in the mine.

Homestake closed in 2003, but the company donated the property to South Dakota in 2006 for use as an underground laboratory. That same year, philanthropist T. Denny Sanford donated $70 million to the project. The South Dakota Legislature also created the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority to operate the lab. The state Legislature has committed more than $40 million in state funds to the project, and South Dakota also obtained a $10 million Community Development Block Grant to help rehabilitate the facility.

In 2007, after the National Science Foundation named Homestake as the preferred site for a proposed national Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL), the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) began reopening the former gold mine.

In December 2010, the National Science Board decided not to fund further design of DUSEL. However, in 2011 the Department of Energy, through the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, agreed to support ongoing science operations at Sanford Lab, while investigating how to use the underground research facility for other longer-term experiments. The SDSTA, which owns Sanford Lab, continues to operate the facility under that agreement with Berkeley Lab.

The first two major physics experiments at the Sanford Lab are 4,850 feet underground in an area called the Davis Campus, named for the late Ray Davis. The Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment is housed in the same cavern excavated for Ray Davis’s experiment in the 1960s.
LUX/Dark matter experiment at SURFLUX/Dark matter experiment at SURF

In October 2013, after an initial run of 80 days, LUX was determined to be the most sensitive detector yet to search for dark matter—a mysterious, yet-to-be-detected substance thought to be the most prevalent matter in the universe. The Majorana Demonstrator experiment, also on the 4850 Level, is searching for a rare phenomenon called “neutrinoless double-beta decay” that could reveal whether subatomic particles called neutrinos can be their own antiparticle. Detection of neutrinoless double-beta decay could help determine why matter prevailed over antimatter. The Majorana Demonstrator experiment is adjacent to the original Davis cavern.

Another major experiment, the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE)—a collaboration with Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) and Sanford Lab, is in the preliminary design stages. The project got a major boost last year when Congress approved and the president signed an Omnibus Appropriations bill that will fund LBNE operations through FY 2014. Called the “next frontier of particle physics,” LBNE will follow neutrinos as they travel 800 miles through the earth, from FermiLab in Batavia, Ill., to Sanford Lab.

Fermilab LBNE

U Washington Majorana Demonstrator Experiment at SURF

The MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR will contain 40 kg of germanium; up to 30 kg will be enriched to 86% in 76Ge. The DEMONSTRATOR will be deployed deep underground in an ultra-low-background shielded environment in the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead, SD. The goal of the DEMONSTRATOR is to determine whether a future 1-tonne experiment can achieve a background goal of one count per tonne-year in a 4-keV region of interest around the 76Ge 0νββ Q-value at 2039 keV. MAJORANA plans to collaborate with GERDA for a future tonne-scale 76Ge 0νββ search.