Thursday, April 12, 2012

SNO LAB tips

Having done it, I now know what happens. I finally have the answers to the remaining unknown questions. I resolved, on the trip back, to document them for future visitors. Just some handy logistics items.

Now that the SNO LAB is organising its Grand Opening, more people may be visiting. Hopefully people will find these notes helpful...

tour overview

This is a high-level outline of what happens during a tour of the SNO LAB.
  1. preamble
    1. arrive mine
    2. check in at SNO LAB admin building
  2. prepare to enter mine
    1. sign waivers
    2. receive mine clothing
    3. change into mine clothing
    4. receive ID tag
    5. provide emergency contact info
    6. safety briefing
  3. enter mine
    1. enter headframe
    2. receive chewing gum
    3. take cage to 6800 foot level
    4. walk to safe haven, pit stop
    5. review emergency evacuation procedures
    6. hike rest of way to lab
  4. tour lab
    1. go through clean procedure
    2. receive cleaned camera equipment
    3. coffee break
    4. lab tour part 1
    5. lunch
    6. lab tour part 2
    7. reconvene in lounge
  5. exit mine
    1. exit clean area
    2. change back into mining gear
    3. hike directly to shaft
    4. return to surface
    5. sign out from mine
  6. leaving the site
    1. return to admin building
    2. wash boots
    3. dress
    4. return mine clothing
    5. return ID tag
    6. sign out
    7. leave site
Hopefully that gives a good sense of what happens in the day. And shows why everything starts pretty early. It takes a couple of hours just to get to the clean lab.

what to bring / not bring

It was a little unclear, in advance, what items were OK to bring; and what was restricted.
  • Eye glasses. If you wear corrective lenses, switch from your contact lenses to your eyeglasses. Contact lenses are not permitted in the mine. This is due to rock dust. This is a safety issue. No contacts allowed. Make that switch the day before.
  • Socks. You'll be wearing heavy rubber boots in the mine and walking two km from the shaft to the lab. And walking back in those same boots. Do the double-sock trick to avoid blisters. So bring socks. The lab provides t-shirts to where under the Tyvek suit as they do not breathe.
  • Money. Optional. There is a "store" or "shop" at the SNO LAB where you can buy some touristy things. Of course, they are outrageously priced. But if you want a token, you'll need some money. So, bring cash. You don't need and can't use the money below surface. Plan to make the purchase during the exit process as the store will not be open when signing in.
  • Lock. Optional. Bring a lock, ideally a combination lock. When you switch to the mine clothing, you will leave your clothing and belongings in the surface-level locker room. If you have anything valuable at this stage, then you'll want to protect it. If you brought money for the shop or your car keys, you may want to secure these items.
  • Small knapsack. Optional. You might bring a small knapsack so to carry your lunch, fresh t-shirt, camera. But you'll need to leave this at the lower locker room before entering the clean lab.
  • Cameras. Optional. Point-and-shoot, video, SLR, and DSLR cameras are permissible in the lab but must be certified. They will be inspected on entrance to the lab. If permitted, they will be cleaned. It is possible they may not pass.
  • Camera cases. The case for a camera will also be inspected. It is less likely that fabric cases will pass inspection and be certified to enter the lab as they can trap and hold dust and debris. Consider not bringing cases or covers at all to avoid problems and speed the inspection process.
  • Leave everything else behind. Everything. Bring nothing valuable. Leave everything in your vehicle. Don't bring anything you don't need or can't take in the lab. If you're not driving directly to the lab but are taking a bus tour, leave all your personal items in your vehicle at your hotel. Or the hotel safe. If you're driving straight to the mine, leave everything in your vehicle at the site. That includes jewelery, watch, wallet, mobile phone, purse, earrings, etc. Remember, mobile phones are not allowed in the lab.
Hopefully these notes will emphasise what you truly need. Stuff you can't take into the lab? Why even bring it to Sudbury.

Again... Mobile phones are not allowed in the lab.

Let's be clear about this. In the SNO LAB proper, all that you're allowed is your own skin, underwears, possibly a camera, a lunch (which will stay in the lounge), and your eyeglasses. Got it? You can't bring anything else in.

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