Who knew that below the streets of Detroit there is an enormous 1,500 acre salt mine with over 100 miles of road!
From the 1920s to 1983, salt mines were a booming business. Unfortunately, salt prices fell and this huge salt mine in Detroit was closed and left as a ghost mine.
About 400 million years ago, the Michigan Basin was separated from the ocean and sank lower and lower into the Earth. As a result, ocean water poured into it. When it evaporated, the massive salt deposits remained. That’s how this mine started, by getting buried over the years and preserved 1,200 feet below Earth.
All that salt (it’s estimated that there 71 trillion tons of salt here) was discovered in 1895, but it took 20 years to built the shafts for mining. The mine was owned by The International Salt Company, who bought it from Watkins Salt Company.
There were many accidents in Detroit’s salt mines because mining underground was such a challenge. In 1983, the mine was shut down because salt became unprofitable. It remained closed until 1997 when The Detroit Salt Company LLC decided to purchase it and produce salt again. Today, part of the mine is active once again and what’s mined is used as road salt.
Next time you’re in Detroit, maybe you can request a tour of this gigantic mine underground.