Apr 17-06

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2006: April: Apr 17-06
After the fall    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Tom Cook
A wider angle    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Rebecca Frederick
Original castle turrets    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Darrell Winkler

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 05:03 am:

Last Thursday morning at approximately 10:30 a.m., Miners Castle, part of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, morphed into a different shape when the right section of the landmark fell 90 feet into Lake Superior. Thanks to two of our Pasty Cammists, Tom Cook and Rebecca Frederick, respectively, we have "almost live" shots of what the Castle looks like now. The third shot was taken during the summer of 2004, by Darrell Winkler and shows what the formation looked like before Thursday's crumbling change. According to the Mining Journal, there were a handful of witnesses to the sudden drop and they described it as "loud". The water below was so stirred up by the collapse, that later in the afternoon it remained cloudy with sediment and was said to be still churning. It's a sad turn of events, but an inevitable one with the forces of nature constantly changing Superior's shorelines.

By Smfwixom (Trollperson) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 05:31 am:

Oh my gosh - what a shock to see this!

By Ray (Yoopergonnabe) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 05:48 am:

Miners Castle becomes Miners Tower?

By WishingIWasInDaUP (Sur5er) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 06:15 am:

Wow, simply amazing that this change in Miners Castle occured during our life times...and what a drastic and sad change, it is. It's still hard to believe that the next time we visit Pictured Rocks, it will be so drastically different than before. :(

By Jeff Kalember (Jeffkal) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 06:15 am:

I KNEW this picture would be here today. Read the story in the Mining Journal the other day too. Wouldnt it have been cool to be there when it happened !!??

By Joe (Jhurl) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 06:18 am:

Wow ! Mother nature is changing everywhere it seems.

By kosk in Toronto (Koskintoronto) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 06:54 am:

Good grief! I knew we should have taken that
boat trip out to Pictured Rocks last summer.
Instead we went to the Apostle Islands--well
worth visiting too. Better try to get there this
summer before the castle that morphed into a
tower changes into a butte.

By jeffryeleconte (Upwannabee) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 07:27 am:


By Nate (Nalwine) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 07:31 am:

how sad. Miner's Castle seemed so timeless. I meant to get out there last week but just couldn't get the time off work. Now I wish I'd made the time

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 07:35 am:

WOW!!! What a sad state of affairs. It will never be the same there. We were supposed to go there in 2004 and then again in 2005 and never made it. I am so sad now because my husband will never see them as they were. That is so totally not nearly as attractive as they were before. Unreal! This year it was either Pictured Rocks or the Apostle Islands. I think I'll choose the Apostles. I'm depressed!

By Eddyfitz (Eddyfitz) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 07:48 am:

Thanks for the great pictures of this historic event. About 4 years ago we took our kids and grandkids on a U.P. Tour to Mackinac Island, the Soo Locks, Picture Rocks, Mqt's Presque Isle, Copper Harbor and all points in between..We have many memories and pictures(and I bet even a few Refrigerator Magnets)of that trip as now the little ones head off to college and their own family building.

By Robert Goniea (Rjgoniea) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 07:48 am:

On the plus side, it's a good thing no one got hurt. I know the Journal article mentioned that the park service has been keeping people off the turrets, but here's something else to think about: Two summers ago my wife and I were on a snorkeling charter out of Munising and one spot we were in the water was DIRECTLY UNDER Miner's Castle! I'd hate to think what would have happened if someone were boating/swimming down there when the rock gave way. Thankfully most of the collapses happen early in the year when it's way too cold for people to think about snorkeling Lake Superior.

ps, I've got pics of Miner's castle from that trip to Munising in my photo gallery in the guest archives. Check out the photos if you want to see more of the way it used to be.

By David Hiltunen (Davidcorrytontn) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 07:52 am:

I'am glad i got to see this the way it was! Now will have to see it the way it is.It will serve some purpose resting at the bottom of the Big Lake Superior.

By Glad to be in the U.P. (Lahelo) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 08:04 am:

The Pictured Rocks is still a beautiful site to see. If not the Miner's Castle itself, the beautiful shores of Lake Superior itself is a joy to see.

By JOHN AND ANNE KENTUCKY (Username) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 08:15 am:

Good thing nobody was hurt.I can say that I dont feel depressed,I feel lucky that we were able to see it before.Just think of all the people in the future who will never get the chance to view it as we did.

By Nate (Nalwine) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 08:20 am:

Miners Castle is still beautiful. Look at this picture, its still gorgeous: https://pasty.com/pcam/tomcook/castle_018

Its simply changed a bit. What I wouldn't give to be at Miners Beach today. Ironically last week I was tempted to head out there, put on my drysuit and swim out to the caves at the base of the castle. It would have been quite a shock if I was swimming there about 10:30!

By Mary Lou Curtin (Marylou) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 08:28 am:

Wonder why the rock is so different on the Munising shore of Lake Superior compared to the rock of Marquette shore?

By Jeff Kalember (Jeffkal) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 09:38 am:

Mary Lou ... its all geology. Pictured Rock is sandstone deposited as a part of the erosion process. Marquette's rock is granite from prehistoric lava flows. Go a little further west and you get the limestone deposits from prehistoric oceans near Cedarville. Who says geology is boring??

By JoAnne, Washington State (Davejostef) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 09:46 am:

If you look closely at that third picture, you can see the actual crack, where it eventually split. Wow. Must have been quite the noise!

By Bob Gilreath (Bobg) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 09:48 am:

If you look at the last two pictures you can see the cracck in the bottom Photo where the seperation took place. Those two photos
are perfect to see where the fault was.

almost like they were taken just hours apart.

and Jeff you have to go a lot further west
then a little, to get to Cedarville from marquette or munising. ;-)

By Justin Johnson (Tinksno) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 09:52 am:

Sand stone

By YooperGal (Daryl) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 10:11 am:

Here's a link to more photos
Slideshow Pictured Rocks

By Erica - Florida Keys (Erica) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 10:22 am:

Nate,thank you for the view of the new Miner's Castle. You are right. It is still beautiful. Will be happy to see the UP again this summer.

By Mary Lou Curtin (Marylou) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 10:29 am:

...Jeff...Do we know how much of todays land was under the prehistoric oceans?.....did volcanic action in the Marquette area happen at the same time as the Keweenaw? (was it in the Huron Mountains) ....why is sandstone in the Keweenaw red???..Thank you

By Nate (Nalwine) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 11:06 am:

yoopergal--what a gorgeous slideshow! Thank you

By Jeff Kalember (Jeffkal) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 11:33 am:

I believe the tectonic activity that caused the lava flows were not really volcanic in origin ... more of an "oozing out" onto the surface over many years and many different flows. but, yes all the granite in the UP from marquette up to the keewenaw was about the same time. reddish sandstone = iron deposits in it. Not sure on the % of michigan covered with prehistoric oceans... Some of the brine wells in Michigan are actually trapped ocean water from the period too... and Yes, i know Cedarville is EAST of munising... oops.

By Katie Budde (Katieann75) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 12:10 pm:

My husband and I were sad to hear about Castle Rock, he remembers as a small boy sitting on top of the Castle for a family shot. (I'll have to get my mother-in-law to find the pic) On our way up this summer we'll have to make a stop to see the change.

By FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 02:59 pm:

Justin Johnson (Tinksno):
"Sand stone"

Was that supposed to be a spelling correction?
For purposes of clarification,
see: OneLook dictionary search: "sand stone"

Then click on the search result to see related entries in 33 dictionaries.

By Terry Hamka (Copperlady53) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 05:27 pm:

The activity in the Western U.P was a combination of the "oozing " out of lava as Jeff described that produced the dark colored basalt rocks, along with some highly explosive activity that produced some more reddish colored rhyolite rocks (visible at lighthouse point in Marquette). The Marquette area has a complex and very interesting geologic history

By Capt. Paul & Dr. Nat in Texas (Eclogite) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 05:38 pm:

Good day all,

I had heard that Miner's Castle is now Miner's Tower. It is very sad to see it gone, but eventually it had to happen; it's all part of the geologic forces that shape our ole planet. Good eye BobG, but I doubt it was a fault, rather a joint in the rock probably developed from the many freeze/thaw cycles it has endured. It was only a matter of time before it slid off into the Lake.

It really depends on what time period we are looking at as far as tectonic activity is concerned. The granites around Marquette range in age from 3.2 GA to about 1.75 GA, depending on which event you look at. The Portage Lake Volcanics came in about 1.1 GA and was most definitely related to volcanism, just a little different kind. The lava flows of the Keweenaw were deposited at first on relatively flat land, then later developed into a rift valley, or a spreading of the Earth's crust, most likely due to a mantle plume. The magma generated from this would have came up and flowed over the land much like a flood, which is the name given to such deposits; flood basalts. Some other famous flood basalt deposits are the Columbia River Basalts in Washington state, the Deccan Traps in India, and the Siberian Traps in Russia.

The sandstone (yes, it is one word in geology) is red because of iron oxides that have "rusted" over time. All of Michigan, and most of the continent for that matter, was covered by a shallow sea in the Paleozoic Era. The reason why we don't see much limestone in the western UP is because of the glaciers which scraped most of it away. The only remnant remaining is Limestone Mountain near Pelkie.

By shawn (Twoyoopers) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 06:26 pm:

we have snorkeled out at Miners Castle too. Good thing about the freeze and thaw sandstone cycle occuring when water is too cold for this.

I will be getting out in a kayak or boat this week for lake level photos of the Miners collapse.

for more on the Miner's collapse and the Grand Portal collapse in 2000, I have some images posted here:


By WishingIWasInDaUP (Sur5er) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 07:22 pm:

Yoopergal and Twoyoopers, Thank you for the wonderful pics of Miner's Castle :)

By Mary Lou Curtin (Marylou) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 07:41 pm:

Jeff, Paul & Nat.....I appreciate the information...It is all so interesting and "mind boggling".....hope there are some young Yoopers out in Pastyland who will be inspired to learn more about local geology......it isn't just a rock we can touch...but a real part of our pre-historic past!!....Thank you....

By Capt. Paul & Dr. Nat in Texas (Eclogite) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 08:08 pm:

No problem Marylou!! I love talking and answering questions about Lake Superior geology, just because it is such a fascinating part of the world to study and research. Unfortunitely, there's not enough interest among our younger generation to study geology, which is sad.....

By Jeff Kalember (Jeffkal) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 08:19 pm:

Personally, i think this is the BEST slideshow of the complete lakeshore around Pictured Rocks. At the bottom of page one is the "next" button to go to the next page of pics. http://www.fishweb.com/maps/alger/pictured_rocks/miners_castle/index.html

try it, its worth the time to view all pics.

By P&G,TN (Gormfrog) on Monday, April 17, 2006 - 09:32 pm:

Not quite the same for the tourist with cameras, but for native mankind in his relationship with the land, the thought of what was once and is gone forever would not leave them as long as they lived. It was as though they walked knee-deep in its absence.
Memorable localities...they were all storied. Miners Castle would be in this class.

By Terrence E. Parks (Tparks) on Tuesday, April 18, 2006 - 01:14 am:

Last summer, October 2005, my wife (Lynda) and I were in the U.P. to play golf at Greywalls in Marquette and, as usual we made a swing by Miners Castle. The day we were there, three young men somehow made their way on a path of some sort on the Eastern side of the Castle, just below the part that fell in, to the West side where they proceeded to jump in. Several times. When we went down to the viewing area, I pointed out the difference in the types of rock and said that, eventually, that was going to fall in. I majored in geology in the late 50's at Michigan, so I thought I was safe in saying that it probably wouldn't happen for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. Makes me shudder to think of what would have happened if it had cut loose when those boys were there.

By Jeremy Little (Jmanlit) on Tuesday, April 18, 2006 - 10:34 am:

I mourn at this great loss of natural architechture. I am glad that my boys were able to see this before it fell.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Tuesday, April 18, 2006 - 09:16 pm:

One can never be sure when geologic processes are involved. What's here today may be gone tomorrow, as in the case of Miner's Castle. It was beautiful when it was there, but eventually gravity and erosion will always win.

By Barbara Whiteside (Barbara) on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 - 09:23 pm:

We are just devastated to see only half of such a magnificent place now gone into Lake Superior....Mother Nature sure has a way of humbling us. We took our two grandsons there over the past few years.....then last Aug, we took our good friends..their first view of the big lake was at Miners Castle...and Jerry is still convinced we are lying and that was the ocean. I have yet to show them the pictures and the article online at the Mining Journal...that comes later. We will still visit a favorite hiking spot, but it will sure be different now.
Thank goodness no one was hurt by the fall.....

By Terri Lee (Mezalildevil) on Friday, June 9, 2006 - 03:01 am:

I am heart broken!
I never thought I would live to see the day when such an occurrence would happen!
I grew up in Munising- on Hilltop Road - not far from the lake shore and used every opportunity I could to escape to the comfort and calming environment every chance I got.

When my mother died, I rushed out of the Hospital and cried under the falls.
For days I walked the beach and sat on the ledges trying to make sense out of the universe.

I often went to the “Castle” to day dream and would sit for hours looking over the lake.
In the summer, I worked for the DNR and spent even more time along the lake shore.
It’s been years since I have been home. However I still enjoy looking at the pictures and reflecting on the lake.

The “Castle” still lives on… through pictures and our dreams!

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