Thursday, March 22, 2018

Sverdlovsk photographer documents Yekaterinburg's psychedelic salt mines

Photographer Mikhail Mishainik recently began shooting a photo series featuring the mesmerizing colors and patterns found in Yekaterinburg's salt mines.

The intensely colorful mines are buried 650 feet beneath the earth's crust and expand for miles in every direction. Their psychedelic colors and patterns are formed by layers of carnalite, which forms naturally over the years, The Weather Channel reports.

"It is hard to describe how it feels being so far down," Mishainik said, according to The Weather Channel. "You lose all track of time, and the air is very dry. You always feel thirsty."

Mishainik, a 29-year-old Sverdlovsk native, has spent more than 20 hours exploring and documenting the mines with a team of friends. The crew spent the night underground, risking becoming lost or dehydrated in order to produce their photographs.

"We take our safety very seriously, but of course, there are always dangers," Misainik said, The Weather Channel reports. "There is the possibility of a gas leak from chemicals such as methane, hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, as well the risk of a landslide."

Though a small portion of Yekaterinburg's salt mines are still in use, many of the tunnels Misainik and his team photographed have been closed and are only accessible by obtaining a government permit.

"It's a special feeling being somewhere very few people have seen," Misainik said, according to The Weather Channel.