Caledonia copper mine vfe

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This virtual fieldwork experience is written so that students can "go" to a copper mine and examine the geology, biology, etc. The owner of the mine may be contacted to purchase rock samples in order …

This virtual fieldwork experience is written so that students can "go" to a copper mine and examine the geology, biology, etc. The owner of the mine may be contacted to purchase rock samples in order to make it even more interactive.

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  • 1.
    • Debra L. Zolynsky, NBCT
    • Lake Shore High School
    • St. Clair Shores, MI
  • 2.
    • Caledonia Copper Mine is a relatively small mine located at the base of the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The area was formed from hundreds of
    • basaltic lava flows. Within these flows,
    • copper was discovered first around 2000 BC
    • by ancient miners who dug pits and used
    • hammer stones to extract the ore,
    • and then in the 1700's by Europeans
    • who used much more invasive
    • technology.
  • 3. Earth System Science Profound Ideas Overarching Questions: How do we know what we know? How does what we know inform our decision-making? The Earth is a System of Systems. The Flow of Energy Drives the Cycling of Matter. Life, including human life, influences and is influenced by the environment. Physical and chemical principles are unchanging and drive both gradual and rapid changes in the Earth system. To Understand (Deep) Time and the Scale of Space, Models and Maps are Necessary. The Earth System is composed of and part of a multitude of systems, which cycle and interact resulting in dynamic equilibrium (though the system evolves). The Earth is also nested in larger systems including the solar system and the universe. However there is an inherent unpredictability in systems, which are composed of an (effectively) infinite number of interacting parts that follow simple rules. Each system is qualitatively different from, but not necessarily greater than the sum of its parts. The Earth is an open system – it is the constant flow of solar radiation that powers most surface Earth processes and drives the cycling of most matter at or near the Earth’s surface. Earth’s internal heat is a driving force below the surface. Energy flows and cycles through the Earth system. Matter cycles within it. Convection drives weather and climate, ocean currents, the rock cycle and plate tectonics. Photosynthetic bacteria reformulated the atmosphere making Earth habitable.  Humans have changed the lay of the land, altered the distribution of flora and fauna and are changing atmospheric chemistry in ways that alter the climate.  Earth system processes affect where and how humans live. For example, many people live in the shadow of volcanoes because of the fertile farmland found there, however they must keep a constant vigil to maintain their safety. The human impact on the environment is growing as population increases and the use of technology expands. Earth processes (erosion, evolution or plate tectonics, for example) operating today are the same as those operating since they arose in Earth history and they are obedient to the laws of chemistry and physics. While the processes constantly changing the Earth are essentially fixed, their rates are not. Tipping points are reached that can result in rapid changes cascading through Earth systems. The use of models is fundamental to all of the Earth Sciences. Maps and models aid in the understanding of aspects of the Earth system for which direct observation is not possible. Models assist in the comprehension of time and space at both immense and sub-microscopic scales. When compared to the size and age of the universe, humanity is a speck in space and a blip in time.
  • 4.
    • The next slide is interactive. To investigate the shape of the land, click on the arrow. To return to the main slide, click on the miniature version of the main slide in the lower left corner.
  • 5.
    • Was the past climate different?
    • What factors may have been affected or caused by climate?
    • Are there mountains, valleys, or hills?
    • What can cause mountains or hills to form?
    • Are the mountains or hills young or old?
    • What role do tectonics play in shaping the site?
    • How have humans changed the landscape?
    • How have plants changed the landscape?
    • To what degree?
    • Measure the dip of the rock. (Bob is showing the strike direction.)
    • Why does this mine have very distinct and consistent stope angles?
    • How does the dip relate to the direction of the stopes?
    • What does the dip tell you about the past?
    • For all of these questions:
    • How do you know? (What evidence is there?)
    • What does it tell you about past environments?
    • What does it imply about the future?
    • Did the rock form above or below ground?
    • What types of minerals can you identify in the pictured samples?
    • Did all of the rock form at the same time, or is some intruded into parent rock?
    • Are they felsic or mafic?
    Describe the shape of the land. (Click here) What effects has water had on the landscape? (Click here) What effect has the climate had on the landscape? (Click here) What effects has life, including human life, had on the landscape? (Click here) Why does Caledonia Copper Mine look the way it does?
    • Is water depositing material, eroding material, or both?
    • What do the presence of these erratics tell you about the past at this site?
    What types of rock are there? (Click here) What is the dip angle of these rocks? (Click here)
  • 6. Describe the shape of the land.
    • Are there mountains, valleys, or hills?
    • Are the mountains or hills young or old?
    • What can cause mountains or hills to form?
    • What role do tectonics play in shaping the site?
  • 7. What effects has water had on the landscape?
    • Is water depositing material, eroding material, or both?
    • What do the presence of these random rocks (erratics) tell you about the past at this site?
  • 8. What do you think the climate is like here? Why?
    • What factors influence the climate?
    • Identify features shaped or determined by climate.
    • Was the past climate different? How can you tell?
    • How is climate change likely to affect this place?
  • 9. What is the dip angle of these rocks?
    • Measure the dip of the rock. (Bob is showing the strike direction.)
    • Why does this mine have very distinct and consistent stope angles?
    • How does the dip in the adit relate to the dip of the stopes?
    • What does the dip tell you about the past?
    Stopes Adits
  • 10. What types of rock are there? (chart next slide)
    • (see charts next two slides)
    • Did the rock form above or below ground?
    • What types of minerals can you identify in the pictured samples?
    • Did all of the rock form at the same time, or is some intruded into parent rock?
    • Are they felsic or mafic?
    • What do the characteristics of the rock tell you about past environments?
  • 11. Chart by Jim Ebert, SUNY Oneonta
  • 12. What types of rock are there? Igneous
  • 13. What effect have lifeforms had on the landscape?
    • How have humans changed the landscape?
    • To what degree?
    • How have plants changed the landscape?
    • To what degree?
  • 14. The Caledonia Mine – Red Metal Minerals 202 Ontonagon Street Ontonagon, MI 49953 [email_address] Phone 906-884-6618 Fax 906-884-6753 Richard Whiteman, Geologist and Owner, Caledonia Copper Mine The history of Caledonia can be found at this link: Caledonia History
  • 15.
    • Thank you to:
    • Richard Whiteman, owner of Red Metal Minerals and Caledonia Mine for permission to use his location for this vfe,
    • exploringthenorth.com, for permission to link to the history of the Caledonia Copper Mine, written by Dr. Theodore Bornhorst and Richard Whiteman,
    • Don Duggan-Haas for his skill, patience, and guidance throughout the creation of this and other vfes, and
    • the Museum of the Earth for permission to use its templates and share its site.
    • http://exploringthenorth.com
    • http://virtualfieldwork.org
    • http://www.caledoniamine.com/