Sep 22-09

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2009: September: Sep 22-09
Mining by candlelight    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Paul Brandes
Underground classroom    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Paul Brandes
Allouez Fault    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Paul Brandes
Pahoehoe Lava Flows    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Paul Brandes
Rock drills    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Paul Brandes
Mass car and copper    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Paul Brandes
Capt. Paul at work    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Nathalie Brandes

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 07:10 am:

If you haven't been on the Quincy Mine tour, then today is your lucky day, we're taking a virtual tour, courtesy of Paul and Nathalie Brandes (a.k.a. Capt. Paul and Dr. Nat). That first shot of Dr. Nat is actually a little spooky with just the candlelight illuminating the mine. It gives you a good perspective of the conditions the miners worked under, when Quincy was a viable, producing mine.
I thought it was interesting that there was an underground classroom in the mine, complete with desks and a chalkboard, too. Feel free to jump in here at any time, Capt. Paul and Dr. Nat, since you can tell us so much more about the significance of these photos.
Moving on, we have a shot of Dr. Nat, pointing out the darker red colored line of rock, which is the Allouez fault. In the next one, she's looking up at the Pahoehoe lava flows, marked by rock that looks rippled like it's still flowing.
The rock drills are the next up, standing idle now, but were once powerful tools used to extract the copper from the mine walls. I imagine they put out a deafening noise when started up in the confines of those mining shafts.
In the next photo we view a copper specimen, sitting on top a Mass Car. I'm going to have to defer to the experts for the explanation of this piece of equipment, but I'm guessing it was used to haul large "masses" of copper.
And last but not least, we get a look at the photographer and guide for this mine tour, Capt. Paul. Too bad we don't have audio to hear what he's saying about that car of rock in front of him. :->
Thanks for sharing your tour with us all!

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 07:43 am:

Wow...claustrophobia is not an option in this profession.

By Greta Armata (Gretania) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 08:17 am:

Love it, love it, love it. I have a real interest for caves and mines. Been on several tours. There's just something about rocks underground....not the same as looking at the formations above ground.

By D. Clark (Dcclark) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 08:32 am:

Very nice shots. Anyone who hasn't taken the Quincy or Delaware tours -- do it! (The Adventure Mine tour is pretty amazing too, especially if you're adventurous enough to take the "big" tour which includes rappelling down a raise :D)

By mickill mouse (Ram4) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 09:03 am:

In the Detroit News, today, is an article on Ineractive: Mining in Michigan. Go to detroit and go to a little section called editors choice and it will be there. The editors choice is to the left of the page.

By mickill mouse (Ram4) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 09:08 am:

Oh Yeah!! Very interesting pictures today. I have a fear of enclosed places and can not take the tours of the mines. A loooooooooong time ago I took the Quincy mine tour, but my grandpa had to keep talking to me to get me through it. I went part way into the Delaware Mine- but, had to come out. ;O(

Great respect for the people who do go into the mines.

By Jay Balliet (Jfactor1) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 09:21 am:

I've been on the Quincy & Delaware tours several times. Both offer a different experience. Haven't been on the Adventure tour yet. I really want to, but my daughter's too young for anything that demanding yet.

If you think that second pic is creepy, you should be in the mine when they blow that candle out. It's complete darkness. You can't see 1 inch in front of your face. In the old days if the candle went out and the miner couldn't get it lit he would have to just sit down and wait until the next shift came in just so he could find his way out.

I really miss the Arcadian Mine tours. If I remember correctly there was a HUGE stope in there. Unbelievable how big it was.

By Eddyfitz (Eddyfitz) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 09:36 am:

Is really unbelievable how our forefathers could have worked underground from sunrise to sunset. I would never venture that deep for a job.
I did help put together brochures for the ARCADIAN MINE TOUR in the early 1950's when it was part owned by Mr. Koepel in Hubbell. When did it close as a tourist attraction?

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 09:55 am:

WOW!!! Thank you so much for using our photos for the Cam Notes today; it is quite the honour.....

Just a little about each photo: that is indeed Nat holding a drillsteel against the rock, just as the first miners would have done in the 1850’s working by candlelight. Not shown in the photo is the ~1 in. rounded tip at the left end of the steel that the miners would be aiming at, in candlelight, with their hammers attempting to hit. Quiz: does anyone that has taken the tour remember what the signal was for the jackers to stop swinging their hammers.

The classroom is unique in that it was an actual classrom used between the late 70’s and I believe around 2000. I remember having several classes in there and one in particular in 1997 with Dr. Bill Gregg when I took his Rock Engineering class. We would gather in there for about 20-30 minutes once a week to plan our day before he would turn us loose measuring joints and fractures on the walls of the adit. Speaking of the adit; 2 neat features are the Allouez Fault and the Pahoehoe. I must admit though, when you look at the Allouez Fault photo, Nat isn’t pointing to the actual fault; that is the contact between the conglomerate and basalt. The actual fault is the dark line behind the steel post on the left, above the pink paint stripe. The entire area in the photo could be referred to as the “fault zone” as that wall there is highly deformed and chewed up. The pahoehoe lava flow on the ceiling is in a place where the tour unfortunately doesn’t go. Pahoehoe is a Hawaiian term for basaltic lava that has a smooth, hummocky, or ropy surface. A pahoehoe flow typically advances as a series of small lobes and toes that continually break out from a cooled crust. What makes these flows so special is their age and how well they have been preserved.

At the back of the public tours, you will find the drill display. The drills pictured here, from left to right, are the Rand 2-man drill (circa 1880’s), the 1-man CP drill (circa 1910), and the Stoper Drill (circa 1905). I won’t go into great detail about how each drill worked here, just that main difference between them is the 2 and 1-man drills used a post to attach the drill to and a crank to advance the drillbit, while the stoper used a hydraulic piston at the bottom of the drill to advance the drillbit. The stoper was also nicknamed the “widowmaker” because you are now drilling rock directly above your head; you can figure out why this was a bad idea.....

The next photo is the mass car, named for exactly what it carried which was mass copper. Before Quincy shifted operations to mostly amygdaloidal copper in beds, it focused solely on large masses of copper that it randomly ran across while drilling/blasting. Rather than try to drag these pieces along the levels, railmen laid track and trammers used these carts to move these masses more efficiently. The particular piece of copper that rests on the car weighs 832 lbs and was discovered while the MTU students were widening out the East Adit during the 1970’s.

Ah yes, the last photo. I guess I was reminiscing and thinking back to 8 wonderful years I guided tours in Quincy. Nat actually pointed out the other day that it was by chance I was wearing my white jacket that day, just as a Mining Captain would have over 100 years ago while working underground. The cart I am standing behind is a 1-man or 1-ton tram. These were used after Quincy shifted to ore copper around 1856. While one ton of rock seems like a lot, actually these carts were not all that difficult to push along the tracks and tilt to dump their load into a chute at the shafts. With that said, I still would not want to do this for 10 hours a day, 6 days a week.

I’m at work right now, but I’ll be back later today to fill in gaps and such once I get home which may not be much longer; we are getting pounded with heavy rain so I hope I can get back without using a paddle!!

By Robert Goniea (Rjgoniea) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 10:26 am:

I'm fairly sure Arcadian closed as a tourist attraction sometime in the early 90's. not 100% though.

By Brooke (Lovethekeweenaw) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 10:28 am:

Mine tours are fun and you guys got some good pictures.

By Frederic W. Koski (Fred) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 10:29 am:

Great photo's and info today!

By Helen Marie Chamberlain (Helen) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 10:55 am:

Again, hit with a place close to my heart with the mining pics. We have taken the tour and it was fascinating, to say the least. To think the miners worked under such conditions boggles one's mind...and what was the pay? I do believe $1.00 a day if what I've heard is right.
Oy! I've never seen so many tourists at the mine site as I have this summer taking in the tour.
So happy this has been made possible. Who'da thunk! Thank you Cap'n Paul for the pics and information. ;)

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 10:58 am:

Capt Paul...Have you every been to Ruby Falls? It is an underground waterfall inside Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee. If your ever in that part of the country, you may find it interesting.

By Kathyrn Laughlin (Kathyl) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 11:26 am:

Nice to see what Capt Paul & Dr. Nat look like after reading their posts all this time. Interesting pictures.

I read someplace that the reason that pasties have the big piece of crust is so the miner, with dirty hands, had a handhold and could eat his lunch without getting dirt/dust on the part of the pasty with the filling.

By Bob Williams (Wabbit) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 11:47 am:

Capt. Paul, I was lucky enough to have gone through the adit when Burt Thomas was around. My brother and I talked him into giving us a tour of the adit, before it was opened to the public. The tour included the old quincy workings on the 7th level from #7 shaft to #2 shaft. We had to walk by the open shafts on a ledge that was about 15" wide. We also had to crawl through parts of the drift that had given way. There was just about enough room to crawl through.

I don't remember exactly whay year it was but It would have been in the late 80's. We also toured the Arcadian adit, Delaware and Adventure mines.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 11:51 am:

Don't worry Kathyrn; we clean up pretty well too!! ;-)


By Charles Pomazal (Cpomazal) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 12:05 pm:

Urban Myth - Signalling the jacker with your thumb will result in a lost thumb! Anyway, why would the guy holding the steel be the one that needs a break? he's just twisting the steel. The other phoney story involves heating a pasty on a shovel over a candle...How long did the miners get for lunch and how much did they pay for their candles?

By D. Clark (Dcclark) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 12:08 pm:

Chuck: agreed! Not to mention... those would have had to be blow-torch candles to heat up a shovel AND the pasty on it!

By Dunerat (Dunerat) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 01:01 pm:

Dr.Nat/Capt. Paul --

The photo of the Pahoehoe lava flow makes it look like the lava flow and the surrounding rock aren't firmly bonded to one another, and that big chunks of rock fell away from the flow as excavation proceeded. Is that the case, and did it represent an unusual hazard to the miners as they worked their way along? Also, would they encounter void spaces or unstable rock around masses of copper?

We did the Quincy mine tour when we were UP at the end of August, and it was just great. I'd been in a few mines before that, but none of those experiences gave me the same sense of the vastness and mystery of the interior of the earth that I got at Qunicy.

By Paul H. Meier (Paul) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 01:19 pm:

In the later days, the miners wouldn't have had to warm up the pasty. Temperatures in the lower stopes were up in the '90's. Quincy #7 is remembered as especially hot and unpleasant. Same at the other mines, the deeper they went the hotter the air temperatures.
The pasty itself was not an entree, but a means of utilizing the leftovers from Sunday dinner. In the case of the Cornish, this was just meat and potatoes. A real Cornish pasty, if you ever had one, is very bland. The pasty was adapted to the region the Cornish miners carried it to. The UP added rutabaga, onions, and sometimes carrots. We knew a student from a mining district in the Philippines, he knew what a pasty was and that it was only civilized if it contained pork and pineapple!

By Lisa R. (Sisugirl) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 02:05 pm:

Great pictures! Thank you for the interesting, detailed explanation, Capt. Paul.

Greta, if you're interested in caves, you might check out the National Speological Society website ( I was in a caving club in the 90s when I lived in Texas. I went on trips for only a couple of years before I moved to a sandy, cave-less part of Florida, but it was an incredible experience while it lasted.

By F.F. (Flipflop) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 03:29 pm:

Vahdey Interesting. I always thought temps were a constant 50 ish underground. Why in "the later days" or anytime summer or winter would it be 90 plus ?

By D. Clark (Dcclark) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 03:33 pm:

F.F.: It's only a constant 43 degrees on level 7 of the mine -- down around the 92nd level, many thousands of feet underground, it was a constant 90 degrees or so. :)

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 05:18 pm:

The reason for the increase in temperature is two-fold. First, it has to do with something called the geothermal gradiant which, on average, is about 1 degree increase for every 100 feet depth in the earth's surface. Secondly, with all that rock over your head on the 92nd level of Quincy, there are immense pressures generated which in turn generates a LOT of heat.

While the temperature is a relatively warm 95 degress F at the bottom of Quincy, it is nothing compared to the temperatures miners face everyday at the Western Ultra Deep Levels of AngloGold's South Africa operations. There, at 12,300 ft. down, the temperature hovers around 140 degrees F. Even at Homestake in South Dakota (a mine I've been in), at 8,200 ft. down the temperature is well over 100 degrees F.

Before I forget; thank you everyone for your comments today, they are greatly appreciated.....

By Helen in the U. P.! (Lahelo) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 06:14 pm:

Capt. Paul, Thank you for the tour and all of the information on the Mine! I was on a tour of the mine probably 20 years ago. Now that I am a Yooper of 10 years plus, so I should grab the Zman and go for a tour soon! Thanks again! :)\
And thank you Mary for keeping us informed too!

By kosk in Toronto (Koskintoronto) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 08:10 pm:

Capt. Paul and Dr. Nat,

You DO clean up well. I will be showing your photos to my class
come Spring when we study Rocks and Minerals--part of the Gr. 4
curriculum here in Ontario. Since my class has several 'behavior"
students, I encourage them NOT to throw the rocks at each other.

Wish you could teach the class!

By Dr. Nat (Drnat) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 08:20 pm:

In response to the questions about the rock stability in Quincy: It is a hard rock mine and the rocks are actually quite firmly held together. Of course in any mine there will be areas of weaker, unstable rocks. In the case of Quincy, those areas are near the faults.

Mines that are in sedimentary rocks (coal mines for the most part) are much more dangerous than mines like Quincy. Sedimentary rocks tend to break apart along the layers of rock. In the case of coal mines, there are also several deadly gases that are common in coal beds. My father worked as a coal geologist and actually asked me never to work in a coal mine. (He doesn't mind me working in mines like Quincy, because they are much safer).

In deep mines, a problem that is often encountered are rock bursts. Because the rocks are under such high pressure deep in the earth, they can explode into the open spaces created by the mine. But on the 7th level of Quincy, this isn't a problem.

I hope I'm not rambling too much and that I actually answered the question. I just got home after NINE hours of lecture! I'm just a wee bit tired. Thanks for all the nice comments about our pictures!

By Carole (Carole) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 08:49 pm:

Very interesting pictures and discussion, BUT I could NEVER go down into any mine, tunnel or enclosed and confined area. I hope I do not have nightmares tonite over these outstanding pictures. Thanks for sharing!!!

By F.F. (Flipflop) on Wednesday, September 23, 2009 - 01:02 am:

Thank You Capt Paul and Dr. Nat. for your easy to understand facts and sharing your experience and knowledge. I find anything earth or nature related very interesting.


By Roger Somero (Rsomero) on Wednesday, September 23, 2009 - 02:45 am:

We called rock bursts air blasts when I was a kid growing up in Hancock. The dishes would rattle in the cabinets. Same as small earthquakes here in Calif.

By Donna (Donna) on Wednesday, September 23, 2009 - 07:05 am:

Pretty fabulous pictures and information!!! Thank you all!

And I've gone to the Delaware mine on Halloween

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Wednesday, September 23, 2009 - 12:50 pm:

Air blast is a common term used by miners as there is a tremendous blast of air accompanied by them, but the official term is "rock burst".

Some have described a series of rock bursts that happened in the early 1900's as earthquakes. Indeed, it probably felt as strong as an earthquake to some who had experienced them. Below is an excerpt from the USGS about the events that took place:


A series of unusual occurrences in the Keweenaw Peninsula mining area form a significant part of the seismic history of Michigan. The first disturbance was on July 26, 1905 at about 6:20 in the evening. At Calumet there occurred what appeared to be a terrific explosion. Chimneys fell with a crash and plate glass windows were broken (intensity VII). The explosion was heard far down in a mine and the shock was felt all over the Keweenaw Peninsula area and as far away as Marquette, about 70 miles southeast across Lake Superior. Ten months later, on May 26, 1906, a similar phenomenon occurred. Train rails were twisted, and there was a notable sinking of the earth above the Atlantic mine. The disturbance was reported felt over an area about 30 to 40 miles in diameter. Another shock occurred in the same region on January 22, 1909. A rumbling tremor was felt around Houghton and was believed to be caused by the crushing of pillars in a mine.

Alison P (Ricelakealison) on Wednesday, September 23, 2009 - 02:49 pm:

Ever so cool! This earth science teacher will be "tapping" into all this info later this year!

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Wednesday, September 23, 2009 - 06:50 pm:

Well don't forget; there is an entire thread devoted to earth science in the "Various Topics" section of the PastyCam and can be reached by going here.

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