“The tunnel entrance to the North American Air Defense (NORAD) Space Command Cheyenne Mountain Complex.” Utah Mining, the company that excavated Cheyenne Mountain, also built a civilian tunnel going from Denver to Idaho Springs. The dimensions of that tunnel entrance are similar to the dimensions of this tunnel entrance. (credit: Department of Defense)
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO—Across the highway from the US Air Force Academy is a tiny cluster of buildings that represents one of Colorado Springs’ earliest claims to fame: mining.
The Western Museum of Mining and Industry (WMMI) looks out onto a glorious expanse of the Rocky Mountains and is home to all manner of antique equipment that extracted minerals from those mountains.
But on a balmy April night, as a spring snowstorm rolled in from the west, Ars attended a lecture at the museum about a nearby mining marvel that was not intended to extract riches, but to bury something more valuable beneath the unyielding rock—knowledge.