Skip to main content
Bill Harlan

University of Wisconsin geologist Herb Wang began a videoconference presentation Thursday with a tongue-in-cheek greeting: "Welcome to Studio 4100L in the Sanford Underground Research Facility."

Wang was speaking from the GEOXTM experiment site on the 4100 Level. He was addressing the Deep Underground Research Association (DURA), which was meeting at Fermilab in Batavia, Ill. Multimedia Specialist Matt Kapust and Systems Software Specialist Leif Hage worked with technical staff at Fermilab to set up the videoconference.

The GEOXTM team took time out of a full day of experimentation to address DURA. Their goal was to perform a series of "loading cycles", using a hydraulic jack to exert 100 tons of pressure on rock at the 4100 Level. "The rest of the day was fantastic," University of Wisconsin doctoral student JoAnn Gage reported. "I did seven loading cycles of up to 100 tons at two different locations. We got very good data."

Gage's data was recorded by 34 sensors, including meter-long fiber-optic sensors and stainless steel "strain strips". The sensors measured changes in stress, strain and temperature of rock as force was applied by the hydraulic jack, through a custom-built cylinder. (Photo at upper right.)

The purpose of GEOXTM , which includes tiltmeters on the 2000 Level and the 4850 Level, is to measure the mechanical properties of rock at Homestake. The experiment is a collaboration of the University of Wisconsin, Montana State University, the University of South Carolina and South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. International partners include the University of Tokyo and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency. Private companies are involved, too. Participants Thursday included Alan Turner from Micron Optics, which made the fiber-optic sensors at the 4100 Level, Kevin Hachmeister from Golder Associates and Rich Barry, an engineer blasting the carving at Crazy Horse Memorial near Custer, S.D.

The Sanford Laboratory team included Science Operations Project Engineer Wendy Zawada, Site Safety Specialist Pat Kinghorn and Infrastructure Technician Luke Scott.