Underground Science & Engineering

Strategic Research Area: Underground Science and Engineering

Underground science and engineering research covers all current or future work related to underground research and technology. This includes research that can answer fundamental questions in physics, geology, geological engineering, and biology and that can be addressed best in an underground environment. This research area also involves research in the fields critical to working and living underground, such as civil and mining engineering, as well as other supporting engineering and technology disciplines.

Underground Science ResearchUnderground Science and Engineering: Research Themes


Fundamental Nature of Matter Theme
This theme is related to fundamental questions about neutrinos, dark matter and subatomic particles that are unanswered today. This area is underdeveloped at the School, but has the potential for major development through projected growth of the Physics Department.

Critical Strategic Minerals Theme
Many key minerals are essential to the function of emerging technologies and other consumer products and some of these are in high demand and short supply in this country. Such minerals are both functionally “critical” and politically “strategic.” Decision makers in both the public and the private sectors need continuous, unbiased, and thorough mineral information. Areas of emphasis include: 

  • Economic Analysis of Minerals
  • Life Cycle, Detection and Location of Minerals
  • Growing High Purity Minerals
  • Critical Materials in South Dakota

Subterranean Systems Theme
This theme explores the unknowns of subterranean engineering and geological processes, including seismic wave propagation in wet vs. dry crust; research into ground motion; underground fluid flow systems and the role of fractures; and many other topics. Appropriate areas of emphasis include: 

  • Rock Mechanics and Fracture
  • Underground Water Systems
  • CO2 Sequestration

Mining Theme
The Mining Theme is concerned with all aspects of mining, from extraction to safety. Potential areas of emphasis include:

  • Mining Technology
  • Health and Safety
  • Environmental Protection
  • Metals and Strategic Minerals
  • Fuel Minerals
  • Industrial Minerals 

Research Inquiries

For inquiries related to SDSM&T Research, contact:

Research Affairs

S.D. School of Mines & Technology
501 E. St. Joseph Street
Suite 102, O'Harra Building
Rapid City, SD  57701

(605) 394-2493