GE Engine No. 2 Has Arrived in Front of the New Visitors Center!
GE Engine No. 2, one of only three such engines ever built, is now on display outside the Kansas Underground Salt Museum. Built in 1919, the antique train ran along a short railway line from 1928 – 1963 that provided switching services for the Carey Evaporation Plant and Salt Mine.
The rail line was less than 6 miles, but was vital to the success of the Carey Salt Mine. In addition to providing switching services between the salt mine and the evaporation plant, it was also used by Champlin Oil Refinery, Detroiter Mobile Homes and the Kelly Mills companies.
Weighing 60,000 pounds, the locomotive was powered by a 260 horsepower overhead electric line. The engine was repaired several times during its operating years, as it sustained a few crashes. The Kansas Underground Salt Museum has plans to add new windows and doors to the engine and then will began restoring it to its original state. The area around the train will be landscaped and will include exhibit information for visitors to read and learn about the history of GE Engine No. 2.
Organism older than dinosaurs alive and now living in Salt Museum
Scientists applaud new exhibit
The world’s oldest living organism, estimated to be about 250 million years old, is now living at the Kansas Underground Salt Museum as part of its newest exhibit featuring the unprecedented discovery of living bacteria found trapped inside a salt crystal.
The scientists credited with reawakening bacteria from spores inside an ancient salt crystal -- Dr. Russell Vreeland, Dr. William Rosenzweig, and Dr. Dennis Powers -- were at the Museum for the exhibit opening. Their research has indicated the cells from which those spores presumably formed were alive and active before the time of dinosaurs.
"We were thrilled with the exhibit and even more excited by the enthusiasm and interest the public showed," said Dr. Vreeland. "The Salt Museum has created a showcase that gives visitors the opportunity to learn about our discovery within an environment that mirrors the very place we conducted our research."
While in Hutchinson, Drs. Powers, Rosenzweig, and Vreeland provided local Boy Scouts the chance to collect their own salt samples from within the mine.
"One of the highlights of our weekend was seeing the enthusiasm on the faces of the Boy Scouts as they intertwined geology and microbiology to perform their own scientific research," said Linda Schmitt, executive director of the Reno County Historical Society. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them to work with highly acclaimed scientists and they enjoyed every minute, as did the scientists."
The three scientists are continuing their research on the subject of living organisms in non-living components like salt crystals. In fact, the men collected salt samples from the Hutchinson mine for further research. If more bacteria are found in these samples, it’s likely older than the bacteria previously found, as the salt deposits in Hutchinson are estimated to have formed 275 million years ago.
For more information about the fluid inclusion exhibit or to schedule a tour, visit http://www.undergroundmuseum.org/ or call 620-662-1425. The Salt Museum is open to the public for tours Tuesday – Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. - 6 p.m.
You may also visit:
Dr. Russell Vreeland
Ancient Biomaterials Institute
and Department of Biology
West Chester University
West Chester PA, 19383-2112
"When man goes to the stars our microbes will be waiting for us"