7. Lake Superior Copper Crystals (1846)
We now know that First Nations peoples have been mining copper on the Michigan side of Lake Superior since 2000 BCE, and possibly even earlier. Modern copper mining in Michigan blossomed in the early 19th century, and, in 1845, interest spilled over to the north shore of Lake Superior, with the Canadian government receiving 30 applications from prospectors for mining leases.
This was the perfect time for the Geological Survey of Canada to prove its worth. As William Logan noted, the Survey “had the definite duty of taking charge of the mining boom on the spot.” Accordingly, he set off with a field party in 1846, and the journey was arduous. There were no regular steamships servicing the area, and the infrequent ones that did run were often delayed by storms and strong headwinds.
During the expedition, Logan collected these outstanding copper crystals from St. Ignace Island in Lake Superior. He exhibited them in the economic minerals display that was at the heart of the Survey Museum, and they remain part of the National Mineral Collection.
Category: Rocks, Fossils, Minerals and Meteorites
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