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Sanford Underground Research Facility Overview

The dedicated underground scientific research facility is located in Lead, South Dakota at the former site of the Homestake Gold Mine.
The Ross and Yates shafts headframes dot the landscape in Lead, South Dakota.

Generous donations

Sanford Lab exists because of a property donation from Barrick Gold Corp., $46 million in funding from the State of South Dakota and a donation of $70 million from T. Denny Sanford.

Supported by

Supported by $46 million in state funds through 2015. Operations are funded by U.S. Department of Energy though a subcontract between Fermilab and SDSTA.
Aerial view of lead with the Sanford Lab property boundary highlightled.

Sanford Lab surface property

The area outlined in orange marks the surface boundary. The area includes, the Ross Complex—marked in light green, and the Yates Complex—marked in dark green. The Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center is marked by the purple overlay. 

Number of acres on the surface

Number of acres underground

A graphic showing a cross section of all the shafts, tunnels, drifts, and ramps underground.

Underground at Sanford Lab

The main level for science is the 4850 Level, which can be accessed by the Yates and Ross Shafts. But Homestake carved out over 370 miles of shafts, drifts, and ramps. Sanford Lab maintains about 12 miles for science activities.

Current science facilities at the 4850 Level

Current science facilities at the 4850 Level

There are two main science areas currently on the 4850 Level. Existing facilities are colored blue. 

The Davis Campus near the Yates Shaft houses laboratories for:
  • The Majorana Demonstrator—neutrinoless double-beta decay.
  • The Large Underground Xenon first generation dark matter experiment. 
The Ross campus near the Ross Shaft has facilities for:
  • Low Background Counting at BHSU Underground Campus.
  • CASPAR (Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research.
  • The Majorana Demonstrator electroforming laboratory. 
Current and future science facilities at the 4850 Level

Future science facilities at the 4850 Level

Future laboratories are colored green.

At the Davis Campus:
  • LZ, a second generation dark matter experiment will replace LUX.

At the Ross Campus:
  • The Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment or DUNE will be four 10kT liquid argon detectors. DUNE is part of the Long Baseline Neutrino Facility.
  • A proposed experiment hall to that could house a third generation 1 Ton neutrinoless double-beta decay experiment and a third generation dark matter experiment.