|The South Dakota house with motorhome and dumpster|
We had continued to drive through smoke all the way across Montana but when we got to the Black Hills a couple of things happened. After a couple of windy days and a thunder storm, the smoke and haze mostly cleared out, and in the last 50 miles or so we apparently drove out of the rain shadow of the Rocky Mountains and the landscape turned green and beautiful. This encouraged us to take a few days off from our labors to enjoy the Hills.
Stan is one of the best known T. Rex specimens ever collected. He comes from the Hell's Creek formation in South Dakota (the same deposits where "Sue" was found) and was originally excavated by the Black Hills Institute
|A bevy of T. Rexes|
|Fat and happy fish fossil|
|Vicki and Big Al the Allosaurus|
|They could use a little more space|
|Where the buffalo roam and the antelope play|
|Donkey begging for handouts|
The Homestake Mine in Lead, SD has been called the richest 100 sq miles on earth. It was actively mined for gold and silver for 126
|Homestake Mine pit, just out the back door of the museum|
had learned how to mine and process quartz veins in California.
|The result of processing one ton of gold ore.|
In the 1960s an abandoned part of the mine was used by Raymond Davis Jr. to build a laboratory for studying neutrinos emitted from the sun. The 8000 feet of rock covering were needed to filter out cosmic rays that contaminated such experiments. He found solar neutrinos but not enough of them, leading to major rethinking of solar physics and elementary particles. The problem was finally solved in the 1990s. The site has more recently been taken over by Sanford Labs. as a research center for detecting dark matter and ongoing study of neutrinos. They built administrative offices and a small museum in town at the edge of the old mine pit. These weren't there when we came last year. We visited the museum but a tour down the mine shaft wasn't in our schedule and will have to be put off until another visit. That's OK. Well need to keep coming back anyway to check on our minuscule real estate holdings.