A New Blue at Adventure Mine

Blue Mineral at Adventure Mine

Blue Mineral at Adventure Mine

WWJ-Detroit shares that a bright blue mineral has been discovered at a mine on the Keweenaw Peninsula that so far has people perplexed:

The mysterious mineral was found on rock walls in the historic U.P. Adventure copper mine in Greenland Township, south of Lake Superior.

On Sunday, officials from the mine have posted pictures on Facebook of the mystery substance found on rock walls, but the bright blue material has not been positively identified.

Officials said they believe it to be a secondary mineral caused by a reaction with air and water. The mine operated from 1850 until 1920 and 11 million lbs. of native copper has been extracted.

Definitely visit the Adventure Mine website for information on their tours & the history of the mine.  In the Facebook post referenced, Adventure Mine said “This bright blue mineral has not been positively identified as of this post but it is a secondary mineral that is caused by a reaction with air and water. It was found on the 3rd level in a small stope.” A stope is an excavation in a mine working or quarry in the form of a step or notch & the comment thread has some very interesting ideas as to what the mineral could be.

My own personal pet theory based solely on how cool it would be is that this reaction is due to the same mineral that creates the unique iron ore slag known as Leland Blue

PS: After some discussion with Adventure Mine operators, I realize that I took my kids on a tour there 20 years ago. Super cool & a highlight of our visit to the awesome Keweenaw Peninsula – definitely put a trip to the copper-iest of Copper Country on your Michigan bucket list!

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20 years of Pasty Central and the Pasty Cam

Upper Peninsula Michigan Miners

Let There Be Light, photo courtesy Pasty Central/Pasty.com

Pasty Central is  celebrating their 20th anniversary and vying for USA Today’s Best Pasty in Michigan. Click through to cast a vote for them or your favorite pasty shop.

Back in 2008, Charley of Pasty Central wrote about these UP miners who doubtless relied on the pasties in their bellies to survive:

In researching today’s Pasty Cameo I came across these men who had been entombed in Pewabic Mine at Iron Mountain for over 40 hours before they returned to the light of day. They had been trapped on the fourth level of the mine when a level above them collapsed. One of their co-workers didn’t make it out.

This picture is a good illustration of the “Tommy knocker”, a popular hat-candleholder in the 1800’s before carbide and acetylene lamps came along.

A feature of the site since 1998 has been the Pasty Cam, a daily photo that’s paired with a well-researched “This Day in History”. Today’s looks at how on on May 12, 1781 Mackinac Island (valued at 5000 pounds) passed from native tribes to the British – click to check it out!

The pasty, a savory pastry typically filled with meat & vegetables, was brought to the Upper Peninsula by Cornish miners. Check out Real Michigan Food: The Pasty on Absolute Michigan for lots more about this classic UP dish.

Copper Adit Falls, Stamp Mill Falls at Copper Falls Mine

n2c_113-4482

n2c_113-4482, photo by Gowtham

Gowtham writes:

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.

Read on for lots more and explore the Copper Falls Mill at with the Copper Country Explorer.

View Gowtham’s photo bigger and see more of his photos from the area on his website.

More waterfalls on Michigan in Pictures!