Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2007: February: Feb 19-07: Monday-What'sUP
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Dean Woodbeck (Dwoodbeck) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 07:10 am:

Eight years ago, the Pasty Cam caught this shot of a snowmobiler balancing two machines in the bed of his pickup. Things are looking similar this week -- the motel parking lots were overflowing with snomobiles over the weekend. On a trip to Ishpeming yesterday, we passed a stream of snowmobile trailers -- and of those transporting dogs and sleds back home. They had been participating in the U.P. 200 sled dog race, which finished in Marquette yesterday.

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 07:12 am:

First PostGood Morning!

By Smfwixom (Trollperson) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 07:14 am:


By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 07:42 am:

Good morning! Way to go Marianne! We're off to North Dakota. It's supposed to be 37 here today so I hope we're not going to freeze there. Everybody have a great day!

By Brooke (Lovethekeweenaw) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 08:16 am:

Good Morning, looks like its going to be an OK day outside. Should have stayed in bed the lightbulb burnt out in the bathroom while I was in the shower, at least the sun is shining!

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 08:50 am:

Thanks, Deb. I hope you all have a good trip to North Dakota, & that it is reasonably warm there!

We're supposed to be cloudy, with a high of 30 here today. The clouds are ok, since it is warming up. I'm thankful that it is not going to get so warm this week that our snow melts too rapidly, causing flooding.

By Margaret, Amarillo TX (Margaret) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 09:28 am:

We could still use Snowmobiles here--we still have enough frozen ground out on the prarie.

By Gonna be a Yooper (Joanie) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 10:03 am:

Way to go Marianne!

The sun is getting higher in the sky and the birds are singing songs of better days to come. If it weren't for all the snow on the ground, it would sure feel like spring.

Happy Presidents Day to all!

By Alicia Marshall (Aliciak) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 12:21 pm:

Some interesing news from yesteryear

Bismarck Daily Tribune (Bismarck, North Dakota) > 1906 > February > 13
Earthquake , Ruins Big Mine at Hancock Mich. Many Narrow Escapes
Hancock Mich. Feb 13
The Quincy mine is again , practically out of commission as the resuly of a severe earth disturbance called and earthquake . In No 6 shaft , falling rock broke the air pipes and the men were unable to descend Numbers 2, 4 and 7 shafts are also out of commission as the result of caving in of drifts and falling of tons of rock in the wreckage levels.
Only one shaft , No. 7 of the Mesnard is not wrecked. Nearly 100 miners and other underground employees have quit and things look dark for the mine and the adjacent territory.
One shock at 6 p.m. shook building in Hancock and Houghton , rattled and smashed dishes and trinkets and caused other damgage.

Bismarck Daily Tribune (Bismarck, North Dakota) > 1906 > April > 20
Earthquake in Michigan
Houghton, Mich. April 20
An earthquake shock was felt throughtout this city last night , causing much alarm and resulted
in the death of one miner and the injuring of four others in the Quincy mines.

Lima Daily News (Lima, Ohio) > 1906 > April > 20
Quake Kills in Michigan , Calumet Mich. April 20
An earthquake shock was felt distinctely throughout Hancock, and was most pronounced in the Quincy mine, killed one man and injured four others while working one mile below the earth's surface in that property today.
In numerous instances , building rocked, chimneys fell and dishes rattled, terrifying the citizens
and causing scores of men , women and children to rush from their homes. Many miners on the day shift refused to go below again. The recent catastrophe at San Francisco had not had a very quieting effect upon many of the miners , who are prone to believe that a shock is in the earthquake.
Timothy Leary is the name of the man who was killed. He was working at the bottom of the Quincy Mine when a large block of ground was shaken loose, crushing him to a pulp and burying him under tons of earth. Four other miners who were with him at the time were seriously injured but with the aid of companions were brought to the surface and conveyed to their homes, where medical assistance was given. It is thought that all will live.

By Steve Haagen (Radsrh) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 12:39 pm:

The last article was very descriptive in a paper today you would read, died of internal injuries or died of head trauma, but back then it was “crushing him to a pulp.”

By Gonna be a Yooper (Joanie) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 12:42 pm:

I feel so sorry for the miners. I can't imagine having to go "below" to earn a living. Even if they did live to tell about the mining days, what kind of damage did "going below" do to their lungs???

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 12:45 pm:

Thank you, Alicia for those articles. I was not aware of the earthquakes up there in 1907, the same year as the catastrophic San Francisco earthquake. Mother Earth was certainly restless in 1906, to say the least!

Hooray! The sun is out, & it is up to 25 now!

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 12:53 pm:

Joanie, at least the UP miners should not have had to deal with Black Lung Disease, caused by the coal dust in the coal mining in Tennessee, Kentucky, & West Virginia, etc. A girl that I went to college with's father died while we were in college of Black Lung Disease in Tennessee, and he was an engineer, not a coal miner. Also, I would think that the UP mines should have less danger of explosions from methane gas build up, etc.

That still doesn't mean that mining in the UP was easy work. It certainly was not easy work. It was hard back-breaking work, with very long hours. It must have been depressing to be working long days down in a very dark mine shaft, instead of above ground, where you have a chance to have a glimpse of the sun.

By Gonna be a Yooper (Joanie) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 01:21 pm:

I thought constant exposure to copper was considered harmful to one's health and could even lead to death????

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 01:23 pm:

Just to clarify, they were not earthquakes in the sense we think of them; these were not caused by faults of glacial rebound. The "quakes" described in the newspaper articles were actually caused by large cave-ins and air blasts underground at Quincy and other mines. There were many problems with air blasts during this time, so much so that many miners quit their jobs and moved to safer ways of making a living, which usually meant leaving the Copper Country.

As far as working conditions are concerned, a coal miner would have thought he died and went to Heaven to work in a copper mine!! No methane worries, no black lung, less risk of a cave-in, etc... About the worst danger a copper miner had were slip and falls, usually during a shift change while climbing ladders in or out of the shafts and stopes.

The only real health issue underground was silicosis (basalts contain a fair amount of silica, which is deadly if inhaled). This problem was greatly reduced once the miners began using water to cool the drillbits instead of drilling dry, which created a lot of dust.

In reality, the miners themselves had it pretty good; they got paid well for the job they did at that time. It was the unskilled laborers (trammers) that had the hellish job! Thankless, back-breaking work and all for $1 a day for 12 hours.....

By Richard A. Fields (Cherokeeyooper) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 01:35 pm:

Capt. Paul is right, as far as mining, it was like being in heavan. Of course that is like saying a broken arm is better than an amputation. It was hard work underground, but remember, it was no picnic aboveground either. In Larry Lankton's book "Cradle to Grave" he does a good job looking at the death rates in the mines. For a while, it was a man a week. Pretty severe. One of the reasons' I love mining history is looking at the lives of the everyday folks. Anyway, have a good day.

By Brooke (Lovethekeweenaw) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 01:47 pm:

If any of you have an opportunity before its too late, you need to go on a Mine tour with someone who worked in the mines. I got to see the Quincy with my Grandpa, while the tour guide was telling us all the neat historical stuff he was whispering in our ear the more interesting human aspects. The tour guide, as informative as they are, doesn't tell you much more then a few details like the miners would ride down the shaft in that big cart thing. We asked Grandpa what it was like. His answer: "Scare da •••• outta ya!" I took my kids on a tour and we had a blast and learned a lot but it just wasn't the same.

By Liz B (Lizidaho) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 01:56 pm:

The first time I had ever heard/read of the "trembling" earth in the Keweenaw was at the historical display in Dee Stadium last summer.
It was never mentioned in our Michigan history classes.

By Gonna be a Yooper (Joanie) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 02:20 pm:

Another well learned lesson about copper mining and also very interesting. I bet there are "tons" of mining stories out there!!!

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 02:36 pm:

Lol, you must not have had me for a mine guide Brooke ;-)

Quincy was actually one of the safer "large" mines to work for. Over the 99 year life span of operations, 252 men died which isn't bad; 2.5 men per year, although I wouldn't want to be that half-a-man....

One of the stories I always told about Quincy while giving the tours was about a man who was fired from another mine and was desperate for work to feed his family. He went up to a Captain at Quincy and said "Sir, I was fired from another mine for not buying at the company store". The Mine Captain replied, "Well sir, the Quincy does not operate in this fashion; can you report to work Monday??" In addition to being relatively safe, Quincy was also one of the nicer companies in the Copper Country to work for....

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 02:47 pm:

However, as Richard stated, it was hard work above and below ground. Even though the copper mines are a lot safer to work in, it was no cushy job by any means!!! And although Quincy was a good company to work for, it's hard to paint a rosey, romantic picture of what life was like for the miners and their families living in Michigan's frontier at that time.

Even today, mining is dangerous job; one only has to look at Sago to realize this. But, compared to other parts of the world where there are no mining regulations or safety concerns for the workers, North American miners have it pretty good these days......

By Gonna be a Yooper (Joanie) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 03:07 pm:

So is that where the "Captain" in Capt. Paul comes from? The Mine Captain? Well get a lode of that! I thought it was because you just loved watching "Gilligan's Island".

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 03:12 pm:

Thank you for giving us some copper mining knowledge, Capt Paul & Cherokeeyooper. I am interested in history & geography of the UP, & the US, etc, fascinating.

One minor point: the Sago mine disaster was a coal mining disaster, that involved an explosion and high amounts of methane gas.

I definitely agree that there must be mining regulations and safety concerns for mine workers. And, they should all have in date & working breathing apparatuses to escape from a mining accident that involves reduced oxygen, etc. The mining industry should be regulated by OSHA, just like the chemical industry & most other industries are.

We only have to look at the coal mining disasters in China to see how many are killed there at a time, and per year, to see how good North American miners have it. One has to wonder what on earth they are doing over there.

I can't remember, though, of a large-scale mining disaster that did not involve coal. I do vaguely remember some surface strip-mining accidents involving one or two people, or something, maybe.

By Brooke (Lovethekeweenaw) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 03:24 pm:

I like both the Human part and the technology of the tours. The guides we had knew a lot, but everyone has a different style so on different trips you learn different things.

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 03:24 pm:

Oohh Joanie, you're getting red hot now! I have often wondered where the Capt in Capt Paul came from.

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 03:58 pm:

Have you all seen the weather UP there? The last time that I checked the weather data at, it was 43 in Houghton, & it was 32 here in mid-Michigan. I guess we are just too far south for the warm weather? LOL (Usually, it's that we are too far north to get the snow.)

By Gonna be a Yooper (Joanie) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 03:59 pm:

It could be for Captain Kangaroo. That's who he probably feels like after teaching a class. Come on Capt., fess up, don't be so vein.

By a m hill (Lvcamnotes) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 05:06 pm:

c'mon joanie -- don't be that way. i, for one,
appreciate capt paul and dr nat's info.

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 05:19 pm:

I had made the rash assumption that it was Capt Paul of some sailing vessel or ore boat or something?

And, absolutely, Lvcamnotes, we appreciate all of Capt Paul & Dr Nat's info. They are like living, breathing text books, but a lot more interesting!

By Gonna be a Yooper (Joanie) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 05:28 pm:

Thanks Marianne, ditto!

By David Hiltunen (Davidcorrytontn) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 05:38 pm:

Ya'all made think of TN.Erine Ford and his song
" Sixteen Tons "

You give um 16 tons and what do you get?

Another day older and deeper in debt.

St.Peter don't you call me cause I can't go.

I owe my soul to the Company Store.

By Gonna be a Yooper (Joanie) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 05:56 pm:

Loved that song David, yep, another day older and deeper in debt! That's the American way.

By Janie T. (Bobbysgirl) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 06:17 pm:

Capt' Paul & Richard...Thankyou to both for the mining lesson! I always find your "lessons" on every subject very interesting!

By eugenia r. thompson (Ert) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 06:17 pm:

The MTU webcam site says it's 36F up there. I bet you're all drippy!

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 06:43 pm:

According to NOAA's web site (the 3-day history page) for Houghton, it was up to 43 for 2 hours today (2 & 3 pm this afternoon):

That is definitely drippy!

By Dr. Nat (Drnat) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 06:54 pm:

I used to live in the anthracite coal mining region of Pennsylvania. (In fact, my dad started his career as a mining geologist there). During the old days of mining in the coal country, it was nothing for a few hundred miners to die in a year, so I suppose 252 over a hundred years was a good safety record for Quincy.

Coal mining is definitely the most hazardous type of mining. In addition to the usual mining hazards, you have to worry about black damp and white damp (toxic mixtures of gases) and methane, which is explosive. In fact, coal mining is the only type of mining both my dad and Capt. Paul requested that I don't work in.

Hard rock mining, however, can also be very hazardous, especially once the mines get extremely deep, such as the Western Deep in South Africa (4.5km depth). The deeper the mine gets, the more likely rock bursts become due to the extreme pressures on the rocks there. The working conditions at those depths aren't exactly nice either.

By David Soumis (Davesou) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 07:10 pm:

wow...very interesting stuff today.

By Tom Karjala (Tom) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 07:36 pm:

My father began working as a miner at age 16. A helper first and then a miner. He never would allow me to apply for work at C&H or Quincy, etc. He came home one day and told how you had to develop a sixth sense when under ground. He said he was eating lunch and a bit of rock fell next to him; he got up, moved down the tunnel and a huge piece of rock fell were he had been sitting. It would have crushed him. That was how you survived 40+ years underground.
And how deep is No 8 Quincy? Over 9000 feet but at an angle of about 45 degrees? Still deep. Air blasts were a common thing when I was a kid. You could feel the earth tremble miles away.

By maija in Commerce Township (Maija) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 07:36 pm:

I'll never tire of the history, geology, and culture of the area that we read here. Thanks to all contributors.

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 09:34 pm:

"Sixteen Tons" has been a favorite of mine since I was a little girl. It sounds quite appropriate for today's thread.

And, I may have to take back my line about it's not warming up too fast, from this morning. It's up to 39 now here in mid-Michigan at 9:00 pm, which is warmer than it was this afternoon. I can remember some nasty floods, with fast snow melts here in years' past, that left some state roads closed for a number of days because they were under water.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 10:39 pm:

Hmmmm, interesting Tom. I had always heard that the full miners usually started at 18. Could he have started as an apprentice perhaps?? It was common practice for the miner's son to start working underground as early as 12 as a drillboy, but be taught by the family the tricks of the trade so that by 18 he was a full miner.

As far as depth of shafts at Quincy, #8 reached the 86th level, or about 8600 ft on the incline; the vertical depth would have been about 6100 ft. #2 and #6 both reached a little beyond the 91st level, but had an incline depth of about 6500 ft. However, some of the old-timers that worked #6 say that shaft was deeper than #2, reaching 10,000 ft on the incline!! And finally, #7 was unique in that it is only 1 of 3 shafts in the world to be constructed on a catenary curve (the shaft flattens out to horizontal at depth).

And congrats to Joanie for figuring out where the "Capt" comes from ;-) It is indeed true that some of my distant relation were mine captains in the Copper Country and in Australia.

By Greta Armata (Gretania) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 10:40 pm:

My grandfather left Finland to work in mines in South Africa in the early 1900's before coming to the U.S. to work for a lumber company in NW Wisconsin. He had contracted silicosis and could no longer work in the mines. He died when my father was only 5 (1932), and unfortunately all he remembered of his father was that he was "the man upstairs who was always sick". Too bad he couldn't have been around for more story telling.

By Betty Paull Colborn,AZ (Betty) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 10:52 pm:

Now is when we need Bill Pemprase for all the knowledge he had about the mining up there. But who knows, he might be telling of his experiences up there in Heaven. We miss his
remarks on here though.

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 11:09 pm:

I've heard the words "air blasts" a couple of times today. What is an air blast? Is that a natural occurence, was it compressed air, or what?

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 11:28 pm:

Air blasts occur when a large block of rock, or in some cases an entire stope ceiling, collapses inside a mine. When that happens, the air in that area is pushed out rapidly in all directions and a blast of air results. In some cases, the air can be blasted at over 100 mph. Combine that with a narrow passage inside a mine tunnel and it can literally pick a miner off his feet and blow him to wherever, including down a shaft to his death.

Another term you might run across when talking about the deepest mines is rock burst. This occurs when there is tremendous pressure on the rocks on a particular level of the mine from thousands of feet of overlying rock. The deeper mines of the Copper Country (C&H, Quincy, etc...) had problems with this. There are accounts of rock bursts in the Western Deep mines of South Africa where miners have lost limbs or died just simply walking in a tunnel and with no warning a piece of rock travelling at sonic speed has hit them.

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - 06:56 am:

Thank you, Capt Paul! You even answered my question that I did not ask, about rock bursts, that Dr Nat mentioned earlier!

By Cindy Pihlaja Russell (Gone2long) on Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - 09:34 am:

I love hearing about all the history and geology. Thank you all for sharing.

By Ken ja Mimi from da UP (Kenjamimi) on Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - 10:12 pm:

I remember living in Paavola as a kid, hearing and feeling the ground shake, and dishes and windows rattle. I'd ask my mom "What was that?" She'd say, "It was another air blast." Sorta scary to this little kid. My great g'father, grand father, and father worked underground for Quincy, but they didn't like it. My dad used to talk about a hoist operator who came to work drunk one day, and pulled the ore skip right through the side of the shafthouse. He was fired.

By Ken ja Mimi from da UP (Kenjamimi) on Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - 10:14 pm:

Whoops! I forgot to say that was at Quincy #2.

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