Sep 21-05

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2005: September: Sep 21-05
Tour guide    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Tracie Kalliainen
Into the mine    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Tracie Kalliainen

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 07:06 am:

This Central U.P. mine tour is advertised as a 'Geologist's Paradise'. Located between Iron Mountain and Norway, on US-2, is the Iron Mountain Iron Mine. Tracie Kalliainen recently toured the mine and brought back some pictures of her experience entering the 2600 feet of drifts and stopes. Now, I freely admit that I have no clue as to what a drift (unless you're talking about snow) or a stope is, but if you take a peek at Tracie's slideshow of the tour, perhaps you can figure it out. If not, I'm counting on some of our own Pasty Cam geologists to help enlighten us on the subject!

By Timothy Paull Colborn (Timmer280) on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 07:16 am:

Morning all!

Tim provided a Shoebox Memory for the Pasty Cam a few years ago, which showed us some miners who were not just sightseeing:

from Tim Colburn

Cindy Lee Maki (Cindylee) on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 07:18 am:

There is noway I could get on that thing that brings you underground. I would get panicey before they even got to the entrance of the under gound mine!!!! I would rather stay above ground. Hats off to all the miners who risked their lives everyday to go under-ground.

By lz (Llamamama) on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 07:32 am:

Passed the mine every trip back to my folk's home in Kingsford. My husband (troll by birth)would always comment that we should go on the tour. After hearing all my Grandpa Pete's stories about mining the iron mines, there was little to tempt me into a mine! If I ever get back now, I will go on the tour! Good Day All!

By Margaret, Amarillo TX (Margaret) on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 07:34 am:

Cool! Does it stay the same degree in winter as summer? Do they provide tours in winter?

By JOHN AND ANNE KENTUCKY (Username) on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 08:29 am:

This is a great place to visit. The mine is always cool,about 43 degrees. One thing to note on the ride into the mine is the large vein of rose quartz that you will pass thru. One other unique feature here is the "giant". A four story wooden "BIG JOHN" stands outside with a continuous loop of Johnny Cash playing "big john" all day long over and over. The guy in the photo is the tour guide we have had every time we have been there.As far as what a stope is,I'm sure that the Capt or Dr. will fill us in. I think a stope is a large open "room" that was carved out by the miners.

By Timothy Paull Colborn (Timmer280) on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 08:43 am:

Didn't Jimmy Dean sing "Big John"?

By JOHN AND ANNE KENTUCKY (Username) on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 08:50 am:

I think Jimmy Dean did sing Big John,so did Tennesse Ernie ford,Flat and Sruggs,and others. Here its Johhny Cash.

By Danbury (Danbury) on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 08:50 am:

For how long has it been the Iron Moutain Iron Mine? That sign sure looks like it's been there a while! :)

By WishingIWasInDaUP (Sur5er) on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 08:59 am:

Iron Mountain iron mine, operated from 1870-1945.

By WishingIWasInDaUP (Sur5er) on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 09:02 am:

Hmmm...don't know if I would want to go underground...but the pics sure are interesting. I had a crawl space in my house in Michigan...and I was too terrified to crawl under there to fix a pipe. Don't know how I would be about going that far under the ground in a mine.

By Tracie K (Tracie) on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 09:05 am:

Morning All!

Another pleasant suprise!

By Charles in Adrian (Charlesinadrian) on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 09:44 am:

We had a large family group tour that mine maybe ten years ago.
We all enjoyed it. For the kids it is a mildly scary (which is all to
the good if you are a kid) and very interesting way to learn
something important about the heritage of the U.P. When in
Iron Mountain visitors should also go tothe museum which has
that huge Cornish pump used in one of the mines there. And
then, of course, you have to find a restaurant with Italian food
to remind you of all the Italians who came to that area to work in
the mines. Guys with names like Izzo, for instance.

By Jack K (Jackinct) on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 11:24 am:

This is one of the places I wanted to take my kids on our recent UP vacation. Turns out my daughter is afraid of being under ground so we didn't go. I think next time she and my wife can wander around topside while my son (who is a rock hound) and I take the trip.

By John C. Heikkila (Heikki) on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 11:29 am:

Visited this iron mine several times over the years. I believe the stope is the 3rd largest in the Menomenie Iron Range. Stopes, or 'rooms' as some call them, are the cause of cave-ins so common in and around old iron mining communities where shaft-type mining was done. The reason for no cave-ins at this mine is because of the heavy overburden, since the drift travels at a slight slope downward into a high hill. However, a small 'mountain' of rock has flaked off the ceiling of the stope over time. One of the features of the tour involves turning all lights off when standing at the stope's edge.

By Eddyfitz (Eddyfitz) on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 11:57 am:

Years ago my buddy Bob suffered broken fingers aboard a lake freighter so after he healed he figured he would go "up home" and get a job in a mine...As they were descending he was rethinking that idea and when they reached the 61st level and stopped to get out to work he kindly asked to be taken back topside as he decided to quit!!! Needless to say he enjoyed working at the auto plant in Kenosha after that experience..

By Danbury (Danbury) on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 01:42 pm:

Thank you, sur5er, but, well, I'm a little bit embarassed ... see, I enjoyed the relaxed attitude of those who simply let that sign hang there for so long without giving a second thought for that little mishap ... instead of making a new sign.
Second Pic: no mountain, just a moutain.
(Moutain - now that sounds french. Any ideas?)
Another question: Seems the mining ended with the end of WWII. Coincidence?

By Mr. Bill (Mrbill) on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 01:57 pm:

Once entering underground by either adit or shaft to a level, a stope (think slope) would be excavated "up" the ore vein, which in the case of copper, slanted at a 45 degrees, plus or minus.

The mined and blasted ore would slide back to the level floor, or worst case be pulled back, for loading into the ore cars. Gravity and the angle of repose were working for you.

By Charles in Adrian (Charlesinadrian) on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 02:30 pm:

I see Dr. Paul and Capt. Nat have not signed in yet. Maybe they
are still in Texas -- not by the Gulf Coast hopefully. Anyway, I
have a question for them in case they peek at this site today.
Geologically, what is the difference between the Menominee
Range and the Marquette Range? And was the Gogebic Range
different from both of these? Or are those just different names
for different sites in the same geological formation?

By Lorelei (Lorelei) on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 05:20 pm:

I see what you mean re: the sign. Typo I guess.

By Lowell La Fave (Lowell) on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 06:55 pm:

My Brother worked in one of the mines up there by Palmer. Don't remember the name but it was one of the biggest working at that time. He was working in one of those "Stopes" moveing scaffolding when a piece of rock fell and hit him in the back. Put him out of work for a long time.
He always said that the rock was always working as they called it.

By Lowell La Fave (Lowell) on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 06:56 pm:

It works OK Mary. Again Thanks

By Ray & Chris Saxe (Ray) on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 07:18 pm:

This is another one of those special UP places that you just have to see! Our family visited the Iron Mountain Mine quite some years ago. Made me stop and think about some of the tourist mines that our family has visited: The first one that we experienced was the old Arcadian; in later years there's been several visits to the Delaware, and of course, many trips through Quincy. They all remind us of the past along with the importance of tourists (trolls!).

By Eddyfitz (Eddyfitz) on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 07:23 pm:

Charles >.//and Mariucci the coach of the Lions....

By Capt. Paul & Dr. Nat in Texas (Eclogite) on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 07:56 pm:

Lol, we really do have geology groupies on here!!!

Sorry for not getting here sooner. I am actually in New Mexico doing some mine consulting work right now, about 800 miles from Houston and Dr. Nat. I will be leaving for Texas early tomorrow to get back before Rita comes a knockin'. We're about 80 miles from the Gulf, but if Rita hits as a Cat 5, we will feel it.

Alright, first off, the Iron Mountain Iron Mine tours are in Vulcan, about 2 miles east of Norway on US 2.

Mary: A drift is a tunnel that is driven from a shaft outward, but never reaches the surface, otherwise it would be an adit; an adit is what the Iron Mine and Quincy Mine tours enter in on. A stope is a mined out portion of an orebody, such as the HUGE room in the Iron Mine, or if you go on the Quincy tour, it is the big room that's angled upward after you cross the steel bridge over #5 shaft.

Margaret: Yes, most mines (and caves) stay at or very near a constant temperature year around. The Quincy on the 7th level stays at around 44 degrees. However, if you could travel down the shafts they got much hotter. At the 92nd level, Quincy was near 100 degrees and the Witwatersrand gold mines in South Africa are about 150 degrees uncooled.

Charles: The Menominee and Gogebic Ranges are pretty much the same geology wise. They are a hematite-magnetite/chert banded iron formation (BIF). The Marquette Range does differ in that it is mostly a hematite/jasper BIF which gives it its colorful banding. Age wise all three are about the same; around 2.1 billion years. The three BIF's are not related. The Menominee and Gogebic Ranges were at one time thought to be connected, but no evidence has ever been found to prove this. The Marquette Range is an entity all to itself. The only BIF related to it is the Mesabi Range in Minnesota.

Being underground is a lot of fun. I spent about 4 hrs today underground examining some old copper/lead/zinc mines in central New Mexico. For those of you who think you can't handle the underground world, I would strongly suggest going on the Quincy Mine tour in Hancock. The adit and levels are large, well lit, and quite dry. When I worked there, we had some tourists who said didn't like closed spaces. After the tour, they said they would recommend it to anyone. Plus, this is a great time of year to visit; not as many people AND the colors are outstanding while riding the tram downhill.

By Gina (Gina) on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 08:11 pm:

I live in Gwinn and work in Marquette. Took me two hours to get home Monday night. All of the Harvey traffic was re routed to the crossroads and back down 480.

By Gina (Gina) on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 08:15 pm:

sorry, meant to put my message in the what's up section!!

By Shawn Callahan (Shawncallahan) on Friday, September 23, 2005 - 09:34 am:

This was the highlight for my family in July of 2004. Best mine tour we took. We will be back. Absolutly love the UP.

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