Dec 10-02

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2002: December: Dec 10-02
Copper Country receives international coverage    ...scroll down to share comments
Rock and Minerals magazine

Charlie at Pasty Central on Tuesday, December 10, 2002 - 04:43 pm:

The current issue of Rocks and Minerals takes their readers to the Keweenaw for a fascinating look at recent developments of interest to mineralogists. Our thanks to the editorial staff for their kind mention of Pasty Central:

Nov-Dec 02
Nov-Dec O2

By RD, Iowa on Tuesday, December 10, 2002 - 08:34 pm:

Charlie, I see that some days which were previously marked "Sold Out" on the pasty order form are now available once again. Have the pasty elves been working overtime?

By Charlie at Pasty Central on Tuesday, December 10, 2002 - 09:20 pm:


We had basically filled up the week before Christmas, but we had so many requests that we added some baking days and arranged for larger capacity with both FedEx and UPS.

By the way, so far this month we have had a 98% successful delivery rate, even with some of the bad weather out east. Hats off to both shipping crews.

By Alice, Ventura, CA on Tuesday, December 10, 2002 - 10:32 pm:

Great article for a great site. They seemed to get in all the "flavor" of the Keweenaw.

By AimeeR , MTU on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 01:09 am:

The Keweenaw sure has a rich geological heritage. Did you know Lake Superior was almost an ocean? A rift went through the middle of the US. Anyway, there is 25 km of lava flows under lake Superior... The rocks were still hot and soft so the middle of the lake actually sagged (below the crust). The magma stopped and the basin was filled in with rocks and sand. New England crashed into the midwest and made the basin pop up-- the edges of the basin are Isle Royal and the Keweenaw Fault (the fault that Wadsworth Hall straddles). The fault has a vertical displacement of about 5 km, but has weathered away a lot. At this point the lake was still filled in, with relatively soft rocks. When the glaciers came, they scraped away the soft stuff, but left the original volcanic stuff. Also, when that huge collision occured, it released hot water and the hot water began flowing through the fractured rocks (esp along the Keweenaw fault that runs right through the center of the Keweenaw). Hot water leaves minerals and that's how veins are formed. It left behind the world's largest concentration of native copper in the world (but we already knew that). Actually, it is really unique that the water left copper, because usually it leaves sulfides. They don't really know why we got copper. Pretty neat that they teach us this stuff at Tech...

By Kathi, slogging in a factory in Detroit on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 03:14 am:

Thanks for the lesson, Aimee! Those of us who don't live or attend school there, appreciate the background info. I'll show your note to my teenagers... maybe it'll be a JEOPARDY! question someday... :)

By Rich Sterken on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 07:36 am:

Thanks Aimee - for the neat lesson ! And to think I stop by this site to just for my "fix" of beautiful picures. Thanks too, to Charlie and "crew" for this great website.

By Mike B, Pittsburgh, wishin I was still in the Yoop on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 08:10 am:

Great post Aimee. That's a whole bunch of stuff I didn't know. Very interesting. Glad to see that your education dollars are not going to waste. You only get one go-'round in this life so you must make the most of it when you get the chance.

Charlie, that is a great tidbit in 'Rocks & Minerals'. It will, hopefully, provide some much deserved and much needed publicity for you and all the folks at Still Waters. Will be placing my Christmas order shortly. Keep up the good work.

By JimR Grand Rapids, MI on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 08:45 am:

Thanks for the post Aimee! Good job. Scheesh I was there 4 years and all I learned was you can't push a rope! ~[:o)

By JoeBob, Texas on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 09:47 am:

Yeah Aimee, when I was told a few years ago about the ancient lava flows in the Keewenaw I thought they were pulling my leg. But some of the Copper Country rock/lava is some of the oldest on the face of the earth - or so I am told. The only places with older rock on the surface was at Great Slave Lake, Greenland, and near the Finland/Sweden/USSR border goes the story a geologist buddy tells me.

Let me know if this does not jive with the facts - this guy graduated with a geology degree a couple decades ago. He may have misplaced some brain cells since then.

By Ann in Mi. on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 09:48 am:

Interesting information! Can you tell us more of the location of the Keweenaw fault and/or give us references to research for ourselves?

By MLC on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 10:15 am:

.My grandson found a "pretty rock" at camp at Bootjack. I used it as a door-stop until my son suggested it be checked out at MTU. Stan Dyl,at Tech described it as a "a band of agate in a besalt matrix, from the eruption of the Keewenaw range. It was 2 billion 500 million years old..having rolled around Portage Lake all that time. Mr Dyl had seen similar rocks but never that large and in such good condition (except for some white paint from the door). It is now on display in Copper Country exibit at MTU, and I have a new respect for rocks..

By Nathalie Brandes, Ph.D. candidate, MTU on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 10:16 am:

There are several references about Keweenaw geology, including a volume by Ted Bornhorst and Bill Rose which includes road logs for field trips to different geologic sites. Another book by Gene LaBerge is on the geology of the Lake Superior Region. Both of these books are available to purchase at the Seaman Mineral Museum on MTU's campus.
It is true that copper is usually deposited as sulphides, and there are some sulphide deposits here in the Keweenaw. Most of our copper, however, is in the native state because most of the sulphur in the lavas escaped as gas when the lava was still flowing. Since not much sulphur was then left in the lavas, not many sulphide deposits formed.
The rocks up here in the Keweenaw are indeed old (1.1 billion years). Some of the rocks exposed around Marquette, however, are even older (about 3 billion years old). The oldest rocks known on earth are about 4 billion years old and located in Canada (Northwest Territories). I hope I remembered all my numbers correctly. If people are very interested in this sort of thing, let me know and I can get the exact numbers and locations of the oldest rocks or any other geologic information you would like.
People who have a general interest in the geology and minerals of the Keweenaw should go to the mineral museum at Michigan Tech. They have excellent displays about our unique geologic setting.

By Ann, Illinois, formerly Marquette on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 12:51 pm:

I just want to encourage even people whose eyes glaze over at the mention of sulfides to visit the Seaman Museum at MTU. We visited this summer, mostly just to pick up a copy of their great guide on beach rocks of Lake Superior, and were really impressed. I'm sure it has plenty to keep the geology geeks entertained for hours, but the black light exhibits and a lot of the history and mining exhibits are fun for everyone. It even has a nice little gift shop with lots of interesting inexpensive rocks to take home.

By Martha L. on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 01:44 pm:

I agree, Ann! I am home schooling my children and took them on a field trip to the Seaman Mineral Museum at MTU back in September. Even my 7 year old just loved it and we had fun studying how some of these rocks and minerals form.

By JoeBob, Texas on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 03:57 pm:

Here's a link to the Seaman Museum homepage:

I emailed Mr. Dyl, the Director of the Museum, and told him how everyone seemed to be saying really good things about him on the message board here today. He sends his thanks for the support, and invites everyone to come visit!

By Alice, Ventura, CA on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 05:03 pm:

When my mom and dad were alive and living on Pilgrim Road, they discouraged trespassing on their land, but they always allowed the MTU geology students to study there. My dad was such a rock hound anyway!

By Martha K., Pinckney, MI on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 06:38 pm:

So if there's a Keweenaw Fault, do you folks ever get earthquakes up there?

By js, Chassell on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 08:32 pm:

To Martha K. If we do get earthquakes, we never feel or hear them, we just figure it's another snow plow roaring through.

By Marc, offshore GoM/Tamarack City on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 11:21 pm:

No earthquakes to speak of. The fault has long been inactive, if I remember correctly. It's been 5 or 6 years since I learned all that wonderful geology stuff and sadly most has slipped away...
Though I do remember that one other unique thing about the rift system is that it was one of only a few "triple" rifts in the world. It actually has three, basically orthogonal arms, not just a single fault system. It sort of resembles an upside down capital "Y". The western arm runs southwest, down the axis of the lake toward Kansas, the eastern arm down the long axis of the eastern half of the lake, through lower michigan and the northern arm, which failed, headed into Canada. Hope that's all basically correct or Dr. Bornhorst is going to be a bit disappointed I've already forgotten:( Anyway, it's all in his self-guided geology tour guide of the Keweenaw book, mentioned before. A really great book for anyone interested in Keweenaw Geology.

By Martha K., Pinckney, MI on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 11:50 pm:

Thanks, guys, that's good news. I'd hate to think of Copper Harbor slipping into Lake Superior like they predict LA falling into the Pacific, or Isle Royale getting swamped by a tsunami!

By MM Lake Linden MTU student...... on Thursday, December 12, 2002 - 12:20 am:

If I am remembering my information correctly, there was a notable earthquake that was felt here in Lake Linden way back in 1905. I think it may have even been felt as far North as Copper Harbor. Since we're plugging MTU, and professors and such, I believe that tidbit of information came from Dr. Larry Lankton's class Copper Country History. If my memory serves me correctly it was mistaken for a mining blast, but then mining officials and workers later said that there were no charges set at the time of the quake. That is likely the last effects of any earthquakes in this area...

By Martha K., Pinckney, MI on Thursday, December 12, 2002 - 03:55 am:

You have a good memory, MM. I just checked this out at and there's a little section all about the Lake Linden quake. Maybe the moose on Isle Royale aren't so safe after all!

By Marg Rohrer, MI on Thursday, December 19, 2002 - 09:49 am:

If you have not been to the Seaman Mineral Museum recently there allot of really neat changes in the displays there and they have an interactive display that tells you about the Geology of the Keweenaw and how it formed. I am a rockhound and I live up here and work at MTU and worked at the Seaman Mineral Museum for several years. When I go to the museum to visit I see all the new and improved displays and get really excited about the geology of this region. I hope if any of you get up here that you take the time to visit the Seaman Mineral Museum as the Museum celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 2002.

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