Crystal City Underground Kayak Tour 

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Less than an hour south of St. Louis, retired military man Don Marsan conducts kayak tours of the 150-acre submerged lake that is part of an abandoned Pittsburgh Plate Glass silica mine that's now the Crystal City Underground subterranean entertainment and sports complex. Read Danny Wicentowski's profile of Marsan here. Photos by Tom Carlson.
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Don Marsan.
Don Marsan conducts kayak tours of the 150-acre underground lake that is part of the Crystal City Underground complex.
A participant in an underground kayak tour examines what was once a car wash inside the abandoned and flooded PPG silica mine.
The remains of a car wash inside the abandoned PPG silica mine.
A hole was drilled in one of the underground pillars that support the mountain above the mine. Wiring and pipes were routed through the hole when the mine was operational.
Many remnants of PPG's mining operation remain submerged in the flooded areas of the Crystal City Underground complex.
Tour guide Don Marsan over what was once the supervisor's shed.
Crystal City Underground, a subterranean sports and entertainment complex, lost a portion of its Frisbee golf course to rising waters inside the abandoned mine.
Don Marsan approaches Crystal City Underground's tour barge dock.
This opening once vented diesel fumes and rock dust from the silica mining operation.
A miner spraypainted "What the hell am I doing down here" on the mine's wall. His grafitti is now under water.
The Crystal City Underground's tour barge making its rounds.
The abandoned mine is full of all kinds of weird detritus. Here is a spray paint can that has adhered itself to the mine's ceiling.
Don Marsan lays down in his kayak to navigate the "Squeeze Tube," a portion of the mine where there is just enough room between the water and the roof for a kayak to slip through.
The remains of one of the pumps that kept water out of the mine. When the mine was decommissioned, the pumps were turned off, flooding the mine with the water from an underground spring.
Don Marsan examines spray paint on the mine's roof.
In a section that Marsan deems too hazardous to include on his tour, rusted chains, pipes and wires rust away above the water's surface.
Marsan examines decaying pipes in a section that he doesn't take the public because he believes it's too dangerous.
The miners marked the escape route to be used in case of an emergency with three triangles pointing toward an exit.
The view from the air shaft toward the emergency escape exit.
"Gillian's Island" is one of the few places within the mine system where explorers can get out of their kayaks.
The remains of the mining operation's vibrating rock crusher.
The remains of the mining operation's vibrating rock crusher.
The view from the car wash to Don's Landing, where the kayak tours both start and end.
Don Marsan.
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Don Marsan.