MiTEP EarthCaches: Keweenaw Peninsula 

MiTEP teachers have created over 30 high quality Michigan EarthCaches that can be used by other educators, students and the public to help translate Earth's processes into a local experience. These EarthCaches have been group into four categories based on their location: Midwestern National Parks, Southern Michigan, the Keweenaw Peninsula and the City of Houghton. Visit a MiTEP EarthCache for an exciting outdoor adventure that will teach you about how the Earth works!

Explore the MiTEP EarthCaches by Region

Keweenaw Peninsula EarthCaches 

Places in the Keweenaw


Owl Creek Stamp Sands

Just North of Copper Falls off Highway 41, you will find a winding series of two tracks that few travel. Those that succeed will be impressed as you make your approach. When you arrive at the Owl Creek Sands, you will be above the actual sands and you will notice a sea of grey, surrounded by a sea of green vegetation. This absolutely breathtaking landform has only been seen by the humans that make the rough voyage.

Torch Lake Stamp Sands

This EarthCache site displays several pieces of historical information from the copper mining era in the Keweenaw. After finding this site visitors will understand a little more about what part Torch Lake played in the mining era and how it became an Area of Concern.

Eagle River Bridge Potholes

This EarthCache will take you to a pedestrian bridge overlooking the Eagle River in the Keweenaw Peninsula not far from Great Sand Bay. The site has several geological features of interest: a waterfall, a geological contact, and several potholes.

Big Traverse Bay Stamp Sands

Along the eastern shore of the Keweenaw Peninsula lies Big Traverse Bay. Visiting here gives a great picture of how the past activities of humans can have an effect on the environment in the future. It will provide a vivid picture of how waves and currents are a powerful force that can change the Earth's surface.

Redwyn's Dune Vernal Ponds

Located on the coast of Lake Superior in the Keweenaw Peninsula, Redwyn's Dunes display evidence of recent glaciations and forestation. Visitors can observe vernal pools at this location created by the unique geologic conditions present.

Mohawk Mine and Mohawkite

In Allouez Township, Michigan, near Mohawk Mine, there are piles of waste rock where Mohawkite might be found.

Great Sands Bay

Great Sands Bay is a beautiful white sands beach on the Keweenaw Peninsula. It rests between Eagle Harbor and Eagle Bay and is a great place for swimming and enjoying an expansive shoreline. It is also a perfect stop to observe the geological phenomenon of longshore drift.

Copper Harbor Conglomerate at Horseshoe Habor

Located at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula on Lake Superior, Horseshoe Harbor has a beautiful outcrop of the unique rock,Copper Harbor Conglomerate. Like all sedimentary rocks,the Copper Harbor Conglomerate formed in a four stage process- erosion & transport, deposition and cementation. EarthCache visitors will "read the rocks", examining the features of the Copper Harbor Conglomerate to understand the conditions present 1.1 billion years ago at the time of its formation.

The Beach at Horseshoe Harbor

Horseshoe Harbor is located on the northern shore at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula. This pristine beach is a prime location for understanding the Earth's past, and how the Earth constantly changes to create its present.

Eagle Harbor Lake Shore Traps

Perched at the northern edge of the Keweenaw Peninsula, this red brick lighthouse continues to guide ships safely across the harbor and nearby waters of Lake Superior. The rocky shore here provides visitors with an opportunity to view Lake Shore Traps and the syncline formed by the Mid-Continental rift found in Lake Superior's basin.

Cliff Mine Water Supply

The Cliff Mine was the first copper mine in Michigan that paid dividends to its owners. This demonstrated that money could be made from the syncline caused by some of the oldest rocks in the world. The place I have selected is the spring,where water emanated and was used to wash the stampings.

The question is – is this an adit or a spring?

Stromatolites! at Horseshoe Harbor

At the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, Horseshoe Harbor features excellent examples of ancient stromatolites within the dipping layers of Copper Harbor Conglomerate rock. These unique geologic features provide a glimpse 1.1 billion years into the Earth's history when cyanobacteria such as these ruled the world. By exploring this EarthCache visitors will make geologic observations and predictions of the past conditions.

Stamp Mill Ruins

At this site you will see a mill stamper. These were used during the mining years to crush rock that was pulled up from the mines. The rock was then separated into poor rock, left over or waste rock, and ore, the rock that contained copper.

Hancock Fault at the Quincy Mine

In this EarthCache visitors will explore the Hancock fault and its effects on the copper miners at the Quincy Mine. This feature will be explored above ground at various points along the fault line or, for an optional closer look, at a below ground exposure during the Quincy Mine Tour.

Copper City Moraine

This EarthCache site features a terminal moraine landscape. The area is privately owned and managed for its timber, a common land use in the Keweenaw for the rocky deposits left behind by the retreating glaciers.

Gay Stamp Sands – The Happiest Place on Earth?

This area that was created by the dumping of stamp mill waste is known as the Gay Stamp Sands and covers around 350 acres. In this EarthCache you will explore the history and affects of this human created landscape.

Gay Stamp Sands   Coriolis Effect

The main features that visitors will observe are the massed amounts of Stamp sands that were placed in Lake Superior, using water from the Tobacco River to transport a slurry of stamp sand and water via the sluices. Longshore drift has moved the sands from the vicinity of Gay, MI along the coast.

Delaware Copper Mine

Located in the town of Delaware 12 miles south of Copper Harbor lays a mine that operated from 1847 to 1887 mining the Allouez conglomerate. Eight million pounds of copper were removed from this mine. The mine had 5 shafts that reached a depth of 1400 ft with 10 different levels. As you walk the ground level area of the mine evidence remains of waste discarded by the mine.

Calumet Glacial Striations & Segregation Cylinders

This site presents glacial striations (or grooves) that were formed when the glaciers moved across the Keweenaw Peninsula in the last ice age. It is estimated that the ice may have been one to two miles thick in this region. While looking at the grooves, you will be able to determine the direction that the glacier was moving. It is important to remember that glaciers only advance, they do not move backwards.