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Bornhorst, T. J. and W. I. Rose 1994 Self-guided geological field trip to the Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan. Institute on Lake Superior Geology Proceedings, 40th annual meeting, Houghton, MI v 40, part 2 185p.   -   The basis for this virtual trip.

Molloy, L. 2001 Copper Country Road Trips. Great Lake GeoScience, Hubbell, Mich. 97p.  -   Guidebook of the historic mines and mining towns of the UP. 

Huber, N. K. 1975 The geologic story of Isle Royale National Park U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1309 -  A good introductory level booklet on the geology and landforms in the park - see link for selected excerpts.

Vogtmann, W. 1998 The Rockhound's Michigan. Midwest Mineralogical and Lapidary Society of Dearborn   -  compilation of articles on collecting trips from the club bulletin (also contains other areas of Michigan).


Butler, B. S. and W. S. Burbank 1929 The Copper deposits of Michigan. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 144  -  The classic description of the geology of the copper mines - long out of print , see link for selected excerpts.

LaBerge, G. L. 1994 Geology of the Lake Superior Region. Geoscience Press - Overview of the geology of the region. 313p.

Martin, S. R. 1999 Wonderful Power Wayne State University Press  -  All you want to know about Native American mining of copper. 286p.

Krause, D. J. 1992 The making of a mining district: Keweenaw native copper 1500-1870. Wayne State University Press. Early history of the district. 297p.

Lankton, L. 1991 Cradle to Grave: Life, work, and death at the Lake Superior copper mines. Oxford University Press. Later history of the district. 319p.

Copper Country Rock & Mineral Club 1998 Red Gold & Tarnished Silver -  Mines and minerals of the UP.

The previous guidebooks and books can be obtained from the gift shop of the Seaman Museum, the Quincy shaft historical association, the Isle Royale national park bookstore, Copper Range organization, and the larger rock shops and bookstores in the area .

American Mineralogist Articles

Crook, A. (1929) "An Illinois record copper erratic"
Foshag, W. & E. Larsen (1922) "Eakleite from Isle Royale, Michigan
Kraus, C. (1924) "Some unusual specimens of 'float' copper
Palache, C. & H. Vassar (1925) "Some minerals of the Keweenawan copper deposits: Pumpellyite, a new mineral; sericite; saponite"
Peck, A. (1917) "Mirabilite from the Isle Royale Copper Mine, Houghton, Michigan"
Lane, A. (1917) "The origin of the mirabilite from the Isle Royale Mine"
Spiroff, K. (1937) "An unusual occurrence of halite"
Klein, I. (1939) "Microcline in the native copper deposits of Michigan"
Moore, P. B. (1971) "Copper-nickel arsenides of the Mohawk No. 2 mine, Mohawk, Keweenaw Co., Michigan"
Williams, S. (1962) "Paramelaconite and associated minerals from the Algomah mine, Ontonagon County, Michigan"
Williams, S. (1963)"Crystals of rammelsbergite and algodonite"
Williams, S. (1963)"Anthonyite and calumetite, two new minerals from the Michigan copper district"

Magazine Articles

Marc Wilson  and Stanley Dyl III - Michigan Copper Country  - Mineralogical Record March/April1992 v23 no2  - Special number on the geology, history and mineralogy of the district.

Tom Rosemeyer  - has written a series of eight articles on the district for Rocks & Minerals including (* - the best overviews of ore types)

  • The Cliff, America's first native copper mine   November/December 1996 pp 381-390 *
  • A Keweenaw adventure : Specimen mining at the Caledonia mine, Ontonagon County, Michigan March/April 1997 pp107-115
  • News from the Keweenaw: Recent mineral finds in Michigan's Copper Country May/June 1998 pp 182-195 
  • The history, geology and mineralogy of the White Pine Mine, Ontonagon county, Michigan May/June 1999 pp 160-176 * OOP see archive purchase site
  • Mineralogy of Point Prospect, Keweenaw County, Michigan July/August 2000 pp 222-228 ( large crystals of copper)  OOP see archive purchase site
  • The copper-bearing conglomerate lodes of the Michigan Copper Country May/June 2001 pp156-188 *
  • Collectors note: A spectacular find of amygdaloidal agates with native copper inclusions from Michigan's Copper Country November/December 2001 p 403
  • News from the Keweenaw: Part 2 - Recent Mineral Finds in Michigan's Copper Country November/December 2002 pp 378-394
  • The occurrence of porcelaneous Datolite in Michigan's Lake Superior Copper District May/June 2003 pp 170-188
  • History and Mineralogy of the Indiana Mine, Ontonagon County, Michigan September/October 2003 pp 336-346

Tom Rosemeyer and Stanley J. Dyl II "John Thorley Reeder: Gentleman Collector of the Michigan Copper Country" Matrix Winter 2000-2001.

J. Lininger "The life and times of museum builder A. E. Seaman" Matrix Winter 2001-2002.

Field trips - the Keweenaw Week has numerous field trips to the rock piles of many mines. One of the easiest - and most legal ways to gain access to the sites. The rock piles are bulldozed to expose new portions of the dumps. Photos from Keweenaw Week 2002, Keweenaw Week 2003 and Keweenaw Week 2004.

Be sure to check with the local residents for the status of various mine waste rock dumps and the persons to contact for permission to collect.

The Seaman Museum - a MUST SEE, they have one of the largest displays of minerals in the country with an excellent representation of minerals from the area. Plan a minimum of two hours (for a single quick pass through the collection) for the visit.

Other museums in the National Historic district or area.
     Keweenaw National Historical Park
     Coppertown USA - Copper Mining Museum in the Keweenaw Peninsula, Upper Michigan
     Copper Range Historical Museum
     Houghton County Historical Museum - Lake Linden
     Quincy Shaft Historical Association
     Fort Wilkins State Park
     Isle Royale National Park

Underground Mine tours
     Caledonia - primarily during Keweenaw Week (historical & collecting tours)
     Adventure - closed for 2004 - due to reopen for 2005.

Use of a metal detector -  It will be of use in finding buried pieces of copper and/or silver (especially on newly worked "poor rock" piles and the bulldozed piles during Keweenaw Week). The green/blue oxidation products do make the copper easily visible when on the surface after the mud and dust have been washed off by rain (against the red/brown of the country rock). Some of the rock shops have these for rent (approximately 2/3 of the participants of the Keweenaw Week field trips use detectors).


     I would like to thank Erik Nordberg and the staff of the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections for permission to reproduce photographs from their collections and also for help in identifying postcards from my collection. It is extremely pleasurable to work with knowledgeable curators. I would also like to thank Dan Behnke for permission to use his photographs of some small, but exquisite, mineral specimens from the Keweenaw. I would also like to thank Stan Dyl and the staff at the Seaman Mineral Museum.

List of additional References 

Heinrich, E. W. (revised G. W. Robinson) (2004) Mineralogy of Michigan - Seaman Museum. State mineralogy  252p.

Heinrich, E. W. (2000) Mineralogy of Michigan  Online version based on proposed 1981 revisions by author.

Heinrich, E. W. (1976) Mineralogy of Michigan  Michigan Geol Survey Bull 6, 225p

Winter is not the season to collect in the Keweenaw. Snow has compacted to about two feet in depth (March). Gauge shows the amount of snow that falls in the area (height of gauge is 32 feet).

Great Sand Bay in winter. The ice forms ridges parallel to the shore where it has been pushed onshore by storms in Lake Superior. Ice erosion and storms in the fall and winter help replenish the beaches with semiprecious stones.


Report of B. Hubbard 1840 - to Douglass Houghton

     The stern rules of science may seem to compel the geologist to take little note of the merely picturesque features of the landscape, yet, called as he is to view them in their wildest character he cannot be altogether insensible to the grandeur and majesty, or the variety and bloom of nature. The sublime mountainous scenery of the eastern states has been often and justly dwelt upon with admiration, by both the geologist and the traveler. Little of the peninsula scenery partakes of the grandeur of primitive and more broken districts, but none can fail to notice one superior charm, which more than compensates, in the eyes of those who are content to overlook the romantic aspect of the land, for the consideration of its solid bounties. To the cultivator of the soil every  consideration which its picturesque character presents will yield before the more practical one of its fertility.

     But few could have traversed the varied portions of our state, over which my duties during the past season have led me, and compare their rich scenery will, that of more eastern lands, with any feeling of disappointment. The ordinary character of the "openings" is that of a majestic orchard of stately oaks, which is frequently varied by small prairies, grassy lawns and clear lakes. These magnificent groves were, until within a few years, kept free from underbrush by the passage through them of annual fires, allowing successive growths of herbage to spring up luxuriantly, covering the surface with a profusion of wild flowers and verdure.

     The variety so essential in a landscape of woodland, glade and sheets of water, are here combined in a manner which seems the result of art, but which is not less truly inimitable It is difficult to resist the impression that we are surveying an old abode of civilization anal of tasteful husbandry. It resembles those exquisite pictures of park scenery, where the vision roams at will among the clumps of lofty oaks and over open glades, gemmed with flowers; while the distant woodland bounds the horizon, and the velvet-skirted lake gleams upon the eye as it reflects to light from the open prairie, or is faintly visible from the bosom of the glen, reposing in silent loneliness.

     Such scenes, it is true, are destitute of the rough majesty of mountain aspects, but they have that all pervading, tranquil beauty which forsakes the lofty hill side and the hoary cliff. They present nature in her simple loveliness, without any stern aspect and her masculine attire. She has bestowed her blessing upon the land, and spread over it her robes of beauty.

     The limits of an annual report, prevent more than this very meagre notice of some of the characteristics of our peninsula scenery.

Sunrise, Portage Lake, Houghton.