One Last Geological Jaunt in the Keweenaw

On our way from Copper Harbor to the Porcupine Mountains, the boy and I stopped at the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum on the campus of Michigan Tech University in Houghton.

I love rocks. The boy loves rocks. This place was full of awesome rocks, minerals, gems, fossils, and more.

I should have brought my good camera in, but I did snag a few photos with my phone.

There was a lot — a LOT — of copper there, including some enormous pieces of “float” copper. (Boy added for scale.)

There was a fascinating display of all the minerals that are in your car and where on earth they are found.

There were various fossils, including huge Petoskey stones.

There were even pieces of meteorites.

The boy’s favorite thing by far were the phosphorescent minerals that look like boring old rocks in full spectrum light…

But show their true colors under ultraviolet light…

It’s crazy to think that a creature with different photo receptors, like a bee, might see these neon colors in a stone that we see as gray. Most of these green and red rocks were from New Jersey.

The other marvelous thing about the museum was the gift shop. If I’d had money to burn on this trip, I would have blown most of it there.

I would have liked to linger all day at this museum, reading every little description, but the boy’s attention span is slightly less than mine when it comes to examining crystalline structure or contemplating the slow, secret, underground growth of a structure like this one…


When our family someday travels up to Houghton again, the boys can drop me off here and go do something more to their liking for a few hours. I’ll be just fine slowly wandering through the endless corridors of sparkling minerals.

Lake Superior Stones: A Collector’s Lament

I love rocks. I like looking at them, feeling them, collecting them, putting them in jars.

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But here’s the problem with being a rock collector at a National Park–you can’t collect the rocks.

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All these lovely rocks and you have to leave them be.

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And anyway, when you’re backpacking, you can’t really start socking away a bunch of rocks in your pack. Every ounce counts.

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So while I would have liked to bring home a bunch of stone souvenirs, I mostly left them alone and took pictures (though I have to admit, I brought a few little ones home…they were¬†tiny, really…no one will miss them).

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I generally like stones for how they look and I don’t get deep into their composition, rarity, or how they formed (although, that does interest me).

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And there are people far better qualified to identify all of these beauties than I.

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I can tell you that I saw sedimentary rocks, like sandstone and the great conglomerate above.

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And that I saw igneous rocks, like strips of granite, through metamorphic rocks, like gneiss, which you can see in a couple of these photos. And I wonder just how that granite found its way in there.

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And I saw this great little scene of erosion and shaping by the waves and wind on the beach, like Pictured Rocks in miniature.

But I left them all there. For your trip.