In some new pics of the Edmund Fitzgerald on the floor of Lake Superior that someone sent my way yesterday you can see some of the taconite that was its last cargo. According to SSEdmundFitzgerald.com, the Fitz was carrying about 26,116 long tons of National Taconite Pellets to Zug Island in Detroit in her 860,950-cubic-foot cargo hold.
Wikipedia’s entry on Taconite says that taconite is an iron-bearing sedimentary rock in which the iron minerals are interlayered with quartz, chert, or carbonate.
The term was coined by Minnesota State Geologist Newton Horace Winchell during his pioneering investigations of the Precambrian Biwabik Iron Formation of northeastern Minnesota due to its superficial resemblance to iron-bearing rocks he was familiar with in the Taconic Mountains of New York. The iron content of taconite, commonly present as finely dispersed magnetite, is generally 25 to 30%. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, available iron ore was of such high quality that taconite was considered an uneconomic waste product. After World War II, much of the high grade iron ore in the United States had been mined, and taconite became a new source of iron.
Check this out bigger in Cory’s Random slideshow.