Article I wrote for Dec. 2014 WCGMC News
The Salt of the Earth
This month we will talk about a local mineral location, but not a collector site. It is in our backyard. Well perhaps more appropriately, it is in our cellar. The rocks and the minerals it contains do not crop out, but they are everywhere. And none of us could live without them.
OK, admit it, you have not heard of the Hampton Corners Mine? But maybe you know where the largest salt mine in the United States is located? Yes, it is the Hampton Corners Mine, and it is near that blue dot on the map of New York. You drive by it just outside Mt. Morris if you are headed to, or from, Rochester on 390. For a moment when you drive past you may even wonder what they do in that strange looking building just east of the highway.
The Hampton Corners salt mine was opened by American Rock Salt in 1998 to replace the flooded Retsof Mine of Livingston County just 6 miles north. After over 100 years of continuous mining, the catastrophic 1994 flooding event in the Retsof Mine left the region with a demand for low cost road salt, but no local source. American Rock Salt stepped into that void as local businessmen purchased the property near Mt. Morris and established a new mine. In fact they established the only new salt mine in the United States in the last 40 years.