2006 Mineralogy Field Trip
Avery Island Salt Mine, LA
A monomineralic field trip!
Photos (c) B. Dutrow

Avery Island, LA; view to the south. On cloudy days,  its "high" elevation causes  it to appear above the clouds as an island.
The first salt mine; and continuously operating since 1791.

Geol. 2081, TAs and Rick, with Guide Rod Etie
on site at the Cargille Facility
Through the trussels is the site of the first commericial salt mine on this site in 1791.

Touring the facilities
Entering the Steam Room

Steam room. The original steam engine, purchased and used in 1898, is still in use today and runs the hoist. Mining occurs down to the 1,300-1,600' levels. (Although the dome extends to 40,000' in depth).
Overlooking the miles of conveyor belts, with shaft for mineral extraction.

Conveyor belt for packaging the salt.
Sacks of Salt "Trace Mineral"

Tour Guide, Rod Etie, with the hoist signals. There is no direct visibility from steamroom to hoist - requiring signals!
All things enter the mine through the hoist, including machines and people.

Ode to Santa Barbara, Patron Saint of Mining
Halite specimens from the mine, in the front office.

Waterway allows barges to dock directly on site.
Barge being filled with salt. Note waterline.

The Blue Lagoon, a famous sinkhole.
Rod explaining the water monitoring system, i.e. if there are water leaks into the mine, water levels will drop at the surface.

Manometers for measurement. Behind right, water level is at the surface, to the left, water level is  27' below the surface reflecting the subsurface geology.
Avery Island has no caprock and weathers away at the surface due to water infiltration. Sinkholes abound.

Cargille Deicing Technology has operated the mine since 1997.
This  mine was important during the Civil War.