Dec 20-04

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2004: December: Dec 20-04
Beaufort mine shaft    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Joe Dase
Subsidence    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Joe Dase

Mary Drew at Pasty Central on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 05:23 am:

Somewhere in the Three Lakes area of the U.P., is the once active Beaufort Mine, which Joe Dase documents with a few photos over in his Guest Gallery. The second photo shows us the subsidence caused by the mine shafts in this area. Subsidence is described as the 'settling or sinking of a surface as a result of the loss of support from underlying soils or the layers found in sedimentary rock'. Now before you get worried about these entrances to the mine shafts being a danger, let's take a look back in the Archives when we featured another picture by Joe. Proper signage is in place warning people of the hazards:


By julie, ft wayne on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 06:28 am:

Sounds like 'subsidence' is just a fancy term for 'caving ground'! And, as you note, these areas are well marked - people should heed the warning.

Hope everyone has a blessed and safe Christmas week!

By Renee in AL on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 06:29 am:

Interesting picture! Why weren't these shafts ever closed off?? Any one know??
Best wishes to all,
Renee from chilly NE Alabama

By Yooper in Westland on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 08:03 am:

Amazing...I'm not sure I'd want to get that close to a mine shaft!! One false footing and you're lost....

By Sarah on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 09:07 am:

Good Morning! Kudo's to the brave soul who took the pictures. I'd be too scared!

By Ed Warren on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 09:47 am:

There were a lot of open shafts around when I was a kid in Keasarge. We thew boulders from the slag piles down them to see if they hit water.All there was for protestion was two strands of barb wire. I remember there was three shafts within walking distance.

By old #5 guy on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 09:55 am:

I remember as kids we would ski down the banks of these cave-ins. I remember there being two at #5 location. One had several old cars in it, but the other was good for skiing. Just had to be careful getting through the barbed wire fence. What were we thinking?

By Darkstar Under the Bridge on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 10:29 am:

Old #5 Guy:

Methinks you weren't thinking, just enjoying life.

Oh to be young and fearless and living with the belief that I was indestructable again . . . Now, I'm just too darned careful, and maybe have lost some of the joy in life. Not to say I don't enjoy it, I do, it's way better than the alternative . . . but I remember things being so much more fun back then . . .

((Heavy Sigh))

By lucky Mi. on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 10:36 am:

in first pic is that a canoe?

By Margaret, Amarillo TX on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 10:42 am:

Set the background on my computer to the second picture--I don't get to see the woods very often. Going to Maui tomorrow. Everyone have a blessed Christmas and we'll check in maybe on the island. Otherwise--until next year, Aloha.

By Dave, Laurium on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 11:01 am:

lucky.... Dat's a ROCK....

By Rick, Tennessee on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 01:11 pm:


Mele Kalikimaka! Enjoy the sun!

By Fred, Three Lakes on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 01:22 pm:

Beaufort, like Three Lakes, began as a result of an industrial enterprise. A mining company had opened the Beaufort Mine, an open pit mine, late in the 1800's. According to Fred Skytta, when the mine closed in 1904 there was a boarding house, 4 log houses in the woods along the old road, and 4 log houses near the lake south of the mine. Mr. Skytta says he quit school at 14 to go to work carrying water(two buckets and a yoke) for the miners. Men worked 12 hour shifts by candle light in the drifts opening off the main open pit.

Excerpt from The Michigamme Centennial 1872-1972
Thanks for the pics Joe.

By crusin'thebackroads on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 03:23 pm:

cool pics! a few summers ago my friends and I used to spend the day swimming and uh, drinking beverages at the Ohio Mine Pit. it was a great place to swim, and there were some cool bluffs to jump off into the water below. the water had a striking aqua-marine color to it.

By Don Again Marquette on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 03:28 pm:

About 20 years ago an old mine shaft in Gogebic Cty opened up and became a hazard so the landowner had a large bulldozer push about 100 trees into it then loads of rock and gravel, and then topsoil! The bulldozer drove over it to make sure that it was secure? In a week or so they went back to check and the whole thing had caved in as though nothing had been done! One of our side hill sloped drift mines in Marquette that was fully flooded was welded shut after it was found that skindiving was popular One went a full 1/4 of a mile in and out. Heed the Warning signs.

By John Van Dyke on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 04:20 pm:

There was a mine shaft on one of the back roads between Eagle River and Eagle Harbor that had ice in it year round. Does any one know if it is still there? People used to get the ice to use in their ice boxes, a long time ago.

By Bill P, Ca on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 05:27 pm:

John,that mine was a Garden City mine--everyone called it "The Ice Mine". When I was a little boy my family stayed at the "Eagles Nest" which was a very large house that the Garden City Mining Company had built. I helped haul lots of ice out of that mine. The mine had a down-draft and the water draining into the shaft during the winter froze into thick ice. The shaft was filled with rock, probably in the 1960s.

By Paul in Illinois on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 06:08 pm:

The Eagle's Nest is still there, but the Ice Mine and other shafts in that area have been bulldozed in. My Grandfather also got ice from that mine. The only traces are some signs of poorrock and old fence in the bush. The lodes had a very shallow dip from Eagle River on up to the point. If the dip is less than the angle of repose, filling or bulldozing in will close them for a long while. Farther down the range where the dip exceeds the angle of repose, mere filling in with a bulldozer is, in my opinion, a stop gap measure. Sooner or later gravity will win and the shaft will open. I saw that some entity was capping one of the old Allouez shafts below Bumbletown this Fall. They went down to bedrock and poured a concrete cap. This is an expensive but much more secure way to close a shaft. To me, the fenced hole, or concrete cap is safer than filling, the bulldozed sites seem to be accidents waiting to happen.
In the very early days, there didn't seem to be much effort to secure old openings. Some of those shafts are long lost and forgotten; one never knows where one will appear in the bush. In the last quarter of the 19th century and most of the 20th, the companies either capped or fenced abondoned or unused shafts. Bulldozing seemed to start in the late '60's when they were reluctant to maintain fences. Caps also require maintenance - with no "owners" now another tragedy like Tamarack could happen.

By Capt. Paul in Nevada on Monday, December 20, 2004 - 08:09 pm:

Greetings from Nevada,

For some people that might not know, the angle of repose is the maximum angle that loose cohesionless material will remain stable on a slope, in most cases between 33 and 37 degrees. Getting to the "lodes" on the tip. Most if not all of the mines from about Cliff north were not on lodes, but worked on fissure veins, meaning the shafts were most likely vertical. Also it depends on where your at in the peninsula. If you are close to the northern shore of superior, the dip angles on the rock are quite shallow (20-40 degrees), but as you get closer to Keweenaw Bay and the Keweenaw Fault, the dip steepens greatly and in some cases, is vertical (natural wall) or overturned as was the case in my research area near Lac La Belle. The reason why the mine shafts around Painesdale are so steep is because they are close to the fault. The dip angle down around Mass City is about the same as Calumet.

As far trying to cap the shafts, it's difficult no matter where you are on the peninsula (or anywhere else) to seal off the shafts. Rain, snow, "human" activities, bedrock material, etc... all contribute to the problem, not just the angle of the surrounding area.

By Russ E. St. Clair county MI on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 12:04 am:

Ed Warren: When I was a little kid living right next to the old Quincy mine in the late 40s, there were several open shafts all around the neighborhood and 1 or 2 right near our house! Barbed wire fences around them, but we kids often threw rocks down and it seemed the bouncing rocks could be heard going down and down forever.
The locals called them "cave-ins". Perhaps Paul in Ill. or Capt. Paul could elaborate on the difference between a cave-in and a regular open shaft. How could they tell? Was each and everyone known documented or mapped? They said back then that a new cave-in could appear anytime anywhere. Does that still apply?

By Capt. Paul in Nevada on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 01:29 am:


A mine shaft is something you want, a cave-in isn't!! ;-)

Actually, a mine shaft is an entrance that is made for finding or mining ore, coal, water, etc... Cave-ins usually happen when no maintenance has taken place for a while around a shaft collar or underground. The most striking difference is illustrated in todays pictures (thanks Joe for the pics).

One interesting fact about cave-ins in the Keweenaw is that they are a product of the way the Keweenaw was mined. Many times the miners would stope so close to the surface that they would hit glacial drift. Sometimes this drift was only a few feet under the surface, so many a time the only deiling in a stope was a couple feet of dirt; not the safest roof over your head. It was for this reason that a cave-in could happen almost anywhere near a mining operation, even today. Today however, new technology has made it easier for engineers and geologists to locate tops of stopes and old abandoned shafts that were used hundreds of years ago.....

By Joe Dase MTU Mining Engineer on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 01:41 am:

Hello all, glad you enjoyed the pictures, didn't know that I got featured today (I'm on Christmas Break). Thanks again, and I'd like to wish everyone, especially Mary Drew and Paul, Happy Holidays.

Why thank you Joe! Same to you! :->

By Joe Dase MTU Mining Engineer on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 01:49 am:

Oh and Russ-
Many of the cave-ins now are documented, it was common practice in the past to bull doze them in and forget about them in the past. As far as mapping, most of the time conditions are too dangeros to enter an old working to map it, in which case the old maps are used, there is technology now that can help, but its been under utilized by the people that should be using it (Road Comission Etc.). I dont mean to worry anyone but there are some large stopes in the UP, especially when standing in them! Be careful!

By Mike, Ghana to GOM on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 05:06 am:

Yes, they keep closing off the old mines...I think I've seen the entrance to the Copper Falls mine bulldozed three times in the last 15 yrs and it keeps opening up as the material eventually drops down the stope. I was one who used to go down in the old mines, but we always knew the danger associated with it. There's still alot of history underground in the Keweenaw that very few people ever get to experiance in person but the opportunities are fast dwindling. I should mention that entering these old mines is illegal and considered trespassing as well as dangerous. Sidenote: for those of you not versed in mining terminology a STOPE is where the rich ore was removed resulting in large excavated "rooms", in the Keweenaw these rich ore bodies were layers of basaltic lava flows and conglomerates dipping to NW.

By Ric in WI/IL on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 04:14 pm:

Da Garden City Mine is still accesible, but I'll never say how...or where....

Seriously, if you don't know anything about mine structure and conditions, trying to enter one is a death wish.

Don't do it!

By Paul in Illinois on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - 07:31 pm:

Quincy had some nasty cases of cave-ins or subsidence. One swallowed up a worker right along the present Highway 41 near #6 shaft. I have come across a couple near C&H's explorations in the Central area. I believe there was a sudden draining of the slough near Copper City and Ahmeek Location just a couple of years ago when some old workings caved. Then there was the man-made collapse of the Copper City road when when C&H miscalculated and drove a vent shaft for the Kingston mine up through the road instead of to the side of the road. This is not just a Copper Country problem, I have encountered alot of caving ground at the old Colorado camps. Down here in coal country, the underground mines were/are very shallow (200-600 ft)and flat. The vertical shafts sometimes reopen by caving in. Subsidence of the underground workings usually cause a slight 1 or 2 ft. depression at the surface. Unfortunately that can turn prime flat farm land into wet lands. We have had some cases of folks disappearing around old mines too.
If you do suspect you are around an old mine, always look before you step

By michnomad on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 - 04:37 pm:

I have been down in Copper Falls about 10 times I think the last time was the summer of 98. There was a lot of change from previous years, likely from the near record snowfall,(95/96?). It was always an adventure going into the mine. The most accessible way was a real wet one. As of Fall of 2004 the entrances I knew of were dozed or covered by natures force. GOING down there with out knowledge of Mining, Geology and extra, flashlights was food would be stupid. Judging from the beer cans and drug referenced grafitti(6th level), there were a few idiots out there.

By Terry Hamka, Michigan on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 12:57 am:

Hi to all. I am falling in love with this site. I enjoy so much reading everyones posting and having memories of my childhood in Houghton rush back. I especially enjoy reading the chat about old mine sites, which is one of my interests.

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