HOUGHTON -- Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula is a place of natural beauty with a fascinating mining history. Join local expert Bill Rose, Michigan Tech professor emeritus (Geological Engineering and Sciences) in reading the landscape to learn how the Copper Country came to be the way it is today. Rose will lead four different tours during the week of July 27-30, 2015.
Each one-day field trip explores one of four major events in Earth’s history that make up the strong geoheritage of the Keweenaw -- Lavas, the Keweenaw Fault, the Jacobsville Sandstone and Copper Mining Waste of Lake Superior. Participants can expect to cover a lot of ground and be outside all the time. Travel is a combination of van transport, short walks and trips aboard Michigan Tech’s research vessel, the Agassiz. Trips are limited by boat capacity to 17 people. Each day trip costs $145 and includes lunch and snacks, boat and van transport.
Monday, July 27 -- Lavas and the Keweenaw Rift: This trip focuses on the Keweenaw’s black rocks and its volcanic past -- the site of Earth’s largest lava outpourings. Visit the great lava reefs and related shipwrecks along the shoreline from Eagle Harbor to Copper Harbor, learn about the relationship between copper and lavas, walk the Lake Shore Traps on Manitou Island and visit the Greenstone lava flow -- the largest lava flow on Earth!*
Tuesday, July 28 -- The Keweenaw Fault: This trip highlights the magnificent Keweenaw Fault, a massive thrust fault which split the peninsula lengthwise and uplifted rocks, including native copper, to a place where people could find it.
Bill Rose recently spoke about the Keweenaw Fault in a presentation on Torch Lake Watershed Geology at the May 26, 2015, meeting of the Torch Lake Watershed group. Here is an excerpt from his talk:
Participants in the July 28 geotour will have the opportunity to trace the Keweenaw Fault along the shoreline from Bete Grise to Keweenaw Point and visit gorgeous features shaped by the fault such as Gratiot Lake, the Trap Rock Valley, the mysterious Natural Wall, celebrated Hungarian Falls and the Pilgrim River Valley.
Wednesday, July 29 -- Jacobsville Sandstone: The red rocks of the Keweenaw originate from the ancient, and once massive, Huron Mountains that eroded and filled the great valley of the Keweenaw Rift. View this stunning formation from a unique perspective via the lake. Visit the rocks on land at Point Isabelle and then by water from Grand Traverse -- passing Point Louis, Rabbit Island, Traverse Bay, and Rabbit Bay.
This tour ends with a visit to the rock’s namesake, the quaint town of Jacobsville where the group will meet with local historians and community members.
Thursday, July 30 -- Copper Mining Waste of Lake Superior Today: The Keweenaw’s recent mining past is a distinctly visible part of the landscape. Learn about the dynamic lake processes that have scattered mining waste in Lake Superior and inland lakes. Highlights include visits both on land and from the lakeside to the Gay and Torch Lake stamp sands.**
This photo, taken from the Agassiz during the July 25, 2014 geotour, shows the smokestack at Gay and the stamp sand that covers a wide area of beach on Lake Superior. The stamp mill deposited millions of tons of this copper mining waste in Lake Superior, where a current has carried it for miles along the shoreline and farther into Lake Superior. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)
Click here for details and registration for any of the geotours.
Teachers who register for the 2015 geotours can receive Michigan Tech graduate credits through the Michigan Tech Summer Teacher Institutes. See: "Michigan Tech Summer Teacher Institutes registration extended to June 19."
Visit the Keweenaw Geoheritage Web site to learn more about the strong Geoheritage of the western UP, including the Keweenaw Peninsula and Isle Royale.
* Click here to read about Keweenaw Lava Flows, including the Greenstone lava flow.
** For more info on the Gay Stamp Sands, including a video clip of Bill Rose speaking about them during a July 2014 geotour, see Keweenaw Now's Nov. 17, 2014, article, "Geology expert notes concerns about arsenic in Gay stamp sands as DEQ accepts comments on stamp sand removal proposal."