Established in 1846, Copper Falls mine was a collection of several copper mine shafts and adits (definition below). Owl Creek — in what was once one of the richest fissure veins in the Keweenaw — seems to make a magical (and a seasonal) appearance out of a hillside draining the now closed Copper Falls mine to form this quite spectacular and scenic-looking Copper Adit Falls. With the nearby remnants of an old stamp mill, this waterfall is also known as Stamp Mill Falls.
Citing Wikipedia, an adit is an entrance to an underground mine which is horizontal or nearly horizontal, by which the mine can be entered, drained of water, ventilated, and minerals extracted at the lowest convenient level.
The Copper Country Explorer’s entry on Copper Falls begins:
Stamp Mills relied on two things in order to separate copper: water and gravity. Any stamp mill would be built near a source of water such as a river or lake. It also would be build along a hill, in order to make the greatest use of gravity. Because of this we started our search along the creek that had cut a path through the sands – Owl Creek.
Owl Creek was the lifeblood of the Copper Falls Mine. Steam stamps required water, and along the rugged ridges of the Copper Falls a natural source existed. Fed from atop the ridge by a lake of the same name, Owl Creek drops over 500 feet to the marshlands along Superior’s shore. This creek not only provided water to the mine and mill, but the potential energy stored in its banks could easily turn a water wheel for power (mechanical power, since electricity had yet to be invented). It was a perfect spot for a mill.
More waterfalls on Michigan in Pictures!