Kansas, Where We've Been

Strataca Salt Mine

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Strataca Salt Mine

Who knew that there was a salt mine in the middle of Kansas? 

Well, if you look at maps from the time of the dinosaurs, you would see that there was an inland ocean that once ran through the middle of the North America, submerging much of the plains and depositing layers of oceanic salt in the strata.

In order to mine this salt, a hole had to be dug through the layers of rock, through a fresh water aquifer, and finally through the upper salt layers, until they reached the thick bands of ancient ocean salt.

You heard me mention fresh water aquifer, right?

My first question was how could they have drilled through the aquifer and not flooded the salt layers below? Wouldn’t that have flooded the mine shaft below and dissolved the salt? 

If they would have drilled straight down into the salt layer, yes, it would have. However, they took special precautions to first freeze the layer of fresh aquifer where the shaft was being drilled. Once it was frozen, they continued their drilled and poured in place a layer on concrete to hold back the water from the shaft. Once it was constructed, the aquifer around the shaft was allowed to melt and the newly constructed shaft worked to hold back the water. 

I couldn’t help but think of all that water making its way down into the mine somehow, but apparently the layers above were enough to hold it from seeping through like a pool in your backyard. 

The only way in and out of the mine was by an elevator that runs inside this sealed shaft. It is not only the singular way in and out for the miners, but every piece of equipment they want to bring down there, like mining equipment, cars, small trains, food, etc. If it wouldn’t fit, they would have to break it up and bring it down in pieces and reassemble it. Sometimes in the case of the mining equipment, that would require it to be rewelded. 

They also had to be careful with exhaust fumes as air also had to be circulated from the shaft. 

Multiple layers of salt exist in abundance 650 feet below the surface of the Kansas plateau. The walls glimmer and sparkle in salt crystals, but you wouldn’t want to eat it. 

The salt is mined with explosives with several new “rooms” being created each day. The waste from the explosives would end up in the salt that is blown from the walls and would wind up in your body. This salt isn’t used for human consumption, but it’s used for industrial uses. Can you think of any?

One would be salting the roads during a winter storm to keep the ice from freezing on the road.

This was one of the mining carts that the miners would use to haul the salt back up the shaft. 

Designed to be short, this machine scooped the salt into piles, making it easier to load onto the belts.

The belts were used after the rail cars as an easier method for hauling the salt.

They had several train rides we could take through the salt “rooms.” It would be pitch black without the light from the train’s engine lighting the way.

How did they use the bathroom down in the mine? Well, sometimes they used this makeshift port-o-potty… and sometimes, they just used a wall. Another reason why this salt was not fit for consumption. Ick!

So what are they going to do with all the empty rooms that have been cleared out? Use them for storage! In fact, many Hollywood films and other records are kept down in the mines. If you have medical records in Kansas, this is where they would be kept. Old parking ticket? Here too! 

Very old computer storage systems are kept here too. Why not? There’s plenty of space being made every day.




Krueger FamCamp

The Krueger FamCamp is located on McConnell Air Force Base. We made a reservation in advance and when we arrived, we checked in at Outdoor Rec, and then proceeded to our site.

We had full hookups, and had no problem with the utilities. There are a couple tornado shelters for use by RVers at the FamCamp should the need arise. 

The site was fairly level and easy in, easy out pull thrus. It was quiet and the lake was peaceful.

Starlink worked fine due to the clear skies though we failed to write down our speed numbers. Nice FamCamp, would stay again.