Deep underground laboratories are established for interdisciplinary research to address scientific, engineering, and technologic challenges. In this paper, we summarize the status and the program of two examples:

  1. the Laboratoire Souterrain à Bas Bruit (LSBB) or Low Noise Underground Laboratory http://lsbb.unice.fr at Rustrel-Pays-d'Apt, Vaucluse, France; and

  2. the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL) Homestake http://www.lbl.gov/nsd/homestake/ at Lead, South Dakota, U.S.A.

The experience and findings over the development of LSBB for interdisciplinary Underground Science and Technology (i-DUST) is relevant to the Homestake DUSEL as a successful case study in making direct and smooth transition into a user facility. Furthermore, the "Extended Uses and Research Opportunities Support" theme in Homestake DUSEL can be further developed realistically by inviting investigators in LSBB i-DUST and worldwide to collaborate in the development of the suite of experiments, to conduct research and development on sensitive equipments, to adopt state-of-the-art approaches, and to develop international and inter-disciplinary collaborations.


Deep underground laboratories are ideal for developing interdisciplinary research to address scientific, engineering, and technologic challenges. Many underground experiments are being conducted or being established especially in 1990s and through 2000s. On April 2–4, 2008, The 2International Conference on Underground Science was held in Apt city and in Rustrel village, next to the Laboratoire Souterrain à Bas Bruit (LSBB, Low Noise Underground Laboratory). The main theme was on interdisciplinary Deep Underground Science and Technology (i-DUST). Progresses on developing experiments in underground laboratories were further discussed at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) fall meeting on December 15–19, 2008 at San Francisco, California, United States: in session NS51 on Monitoring Techniques and Interpretation Methods for Coupled Thermo-Hydro-Mechanical Processes in the Earth Crust, in session H53 on Underground Research Laboratories: Windows Into Crustal Processes, and in two seismology sessions. Results in these and other meetings and anticipated updates are summarized in this paper.


The main characteristics of LSBB is first summarized for i-DUST activities, to be followed by introduction to themes of interests for underground laboratories and to the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL) effort in the United States.

2.1 Laboratoire Souterrain à Bas Bruit (LSBB)

The LSBB is located at Rustrel-Pays-d'Apt, Vaucluse, France. LSBB was converted from a hardened land-based missile-launch control center into a laboratory dedicated to i-DUST. LSBB is a horizontal tunnel complex, owning a unique large shielded area at -500m, combined with an altitude site (1000m) located exactly at the vertical of the deepest zone, as illustrated in Figure 1. It also appeared that the LSBB is nested in a carbonate reservoir which is a perfect analogue of the Middle-East oil reservoirs which allows fruitfull multi-disciplinary researches on carbonate porous reservoirs. Since its inception in 1997, LSBB has developed and established international participations with its focus on deploying small and intermediate size academicals and industrials experiments for both basic scientific investigations and practical technology testing in low noise background environment (Waysand 2006; Gaffet 2008).

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