Best Salt Mine - 2011
Morton Salt's Glendale plant
Admit it. You've said it; we've all said it: "Well, time to go back to the salt mines." But did you know there is an actual working salt mine here in metropolitan Phoenix? It's true: An enormous salt deposit — we're talking 15 to 30 cubic miles of salt — makes up the Luke Salt Body, which runs under the facility. Hundreds of years' worth of salt! Salt production began at the facility in 1969 by the Southwest Salt Company, but the joint has been owned and operated by Morton Salt since 1985. There is no blasting here; the facility produces solar salt using a solution mining method, in which salt is pumped out of the ground by injecting water through a series of pipes that dissolves the salt (creating brine) and brings it up to the surface and into a solar pond. Arizona's intense sun evaporates water from the brine, causing salt crystals to form. The almost-pure salt is stockpiled in impressive tall white peaks. But don't expect it to end up on your lunch. This is not your average "when it rains it pours" table salt — about two-thirds of the salt produced at the Glendale plant is used for water-softening products, distributed throughout Arizona and Southern California.