Much of the salt is brought to the surface by miners who spend their workdays chipping, drilling, and dynamiting salt in caverns more than 600 feet underground. Most salt from underground mining is used in industry or to melt ice from roads in winter. Table salt, also mined in the area, is brought to the surface by drilling a hole deep in the ground and forcing water down it, dissolving the salt. The salt solution is then forced up to the surface where the water is evaporated, leaving the salt behind.
Because the salt contains no moisture, some of the caverns that are no longer mined are now used for storing things such as government papers and old Hollywood films. Underground salt is also dissolved to form caverns for storage of natural gas and similar products. Limestone and shale beds above and below the salt keep water out of the cavern.
Kansas Geological Survey
Updated March 14, 1997
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