I decided to write about a place that I visited in 2005 and that totally changed my sight of geology. It suddenly got a whole lot more interesting. We went on a week school trip through Poland and Germany to visit the concentration camps, and we also decided to visit the amazing salt mine in Wieliczka, Poland.
The mine is 327 meters deep and over 300 km long, but the touring route is only 3, 5 km, which is less than 1 % of the length of the mine itself. There is so much to see in the salt mine and it is really an interesting tour. When we talked about Halite in class, my mind went back to when I was in that salt mine. I licked one of the walls and it tasted just like regular table salt, or sodium chloride (NaCl). There was also some water running through the mine and it was very salty, a really strange taste.
The thing that is really impressive is that everything in the mine is rock salt, and that a lot of them are also created by miners. Even the crystals of the chandeliers is made of rock salt that is dissolved and reconstituted to get a more clear and glass-like appearance. The salt mine is also known as “The Underground Cathedral of Poland” and that is shown in the picture on top. In the salt mine, there is several small churches and other places to pray, that the miners built for themselves, but you will also find a huge cathedral that is just beautiful. It is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen and you can actually rent the place for weddings or other occasions.
Former US President Bill Clinton and a lot of other famous people has also visited the salt mine, which was used by Germans during World War 2, for war-related industries. The salt mine actually produced table salt from the 13th century and until 2007, but it stopped with commercial mining in 1996 because of low salt prices and mine flooding.