March is National Engineering month in Canada and marks the start of the cavern excavation for the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) that began 28 years ago at Creighton Mine.
The design and development of SNO proved to be an exciting engineering challenge. The cavity that was created to house the large neutrino detector rings in at 34m high and 22m across at a depth of 2000m and sits in an active nickel mine. The excavation began in March of 1990 and saw roughly 100,000 tonnes of rock removed by its completion in May of 1993. Once the cavern was created, all components had to be transported underground in the Creighton Mine No. 9 shaft elevator and and assembled in the SNO cavern- much like building a ship in a bottle!
By 2006 an additional 46,600m3 of space had been excavated for the lab expansion project and in 2012 SNOLAB officially opened its doors to the research community. The engineering and building of SNO and SNOLAB required personnel and supply companies working on the project to push existing technologies, pioneer new materials and to develop new instrumentation.
This March take some time to explore the SNOLAB facility with the Nobel 360° lab tour. Hear from Dr. Art McDonald, Research Scientists, SNOLAB staff and students as you discover the embedded video and audio links that are found throughout the tour.
The project Nobel Labs 360° is an outreach initiative of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings along with German photographer Volker Steger. The tours allow Nobel Laureates to make their workplaces accessible virtually to anyone interested in looking behind the scenes. Come and explore SNOLAB; stay as long as you like!