Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Geology expert Bill Rose to lead 2015 Keweenaw Geoheritage tours July 27-30

Bill Rose, Michigan Tech professor emeritus (Geological Engineering and Sciences), talks about Keweenaw geology at a beach near Point Isabelle on Lake Superior during one of his July 2014 Geo-tours. This year he will lead four one-day geoheritage tours of the Keweenaw by water and land -- July 27, 28, 29 and 30. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

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.

At the beginning of the July 25, 2014, geotour on Jacobsville Sandstone, Bill Rose introduces participants to the sites they will visit on the Agassiz research vessel. (Video by Keweenaw Now)

Highlights of this year's geotours include the following:

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:

Bill Rose explains the importance of the Keweenaw Fault during his presentation at the May 26, 2015, meeting of the Torch Lake Watershed group at Michigan Tech's Great Lakes Research Center. (Video by Keweenaw Now)

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.

Geology expert Bill Rose talks about interpreting geological layers in the Jacobsville sandstone during the July 25, 2014, geotour on the east side of the Keweenaw Peninsula. (Video by Keweenaw Now)

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.

Toward the end of the July 25, 2014, Jacobsville Sandstone geotour abord Michigan Tech's Research Vessel Agassiz, passengers arrive at Jacobsville for a visit with local residents and a talk about the history of the area. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

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."

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