Da Yooper's Rockhound and Lapidary Guide To
Lake Superior Agates are found along the South Shores of Lake Superior, in the ridges of the Keweenaw Peninsula and Isle Royale here in Michigan. The Lake Superior Agate is the Minnesota State Stone due to it's abundance where the Superior Lobe of the Ice Age Glacier covered Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin as far south as Iowa, Missouri and Kansas. Hunting the Lake Superior Agate has become the activity of many, as the beautiful scenic beaches and sounds of the wind and waters of Lake Superior, breath new life into the spirit and feed the soul. Da Yooper considers the Lake Superior Agate the most beautiful agate to be found and it is by far the oldest of agates.
The Beautiful Lake Superior Agate
Lake Superior Agates were once plentiful on the beaches of Lake Superior, but, it is a good day if a nice one is found at present. Best hunting is right after a storm or ice out in the spring. Lake Superior Agate Locations. Where to hunt? I would say just about any beach that has pebbles on the South and West shores of Lake Superior should be combed. Some of the more famous Michigan hunting beaches are Great Sand Bay near Eagle Harbor, F.J. Mclain State Park near Hancock, 5 mile and 7 mile points West of Eagle River, Grand Marais by the Pictured Rocks National Seashore and east to Whitefish Point, Northeast of Taquammenon Falls in the Newberry, MI area.
There are many beaches where they may be found here in the Upper Peninsula, as well as a number of ridges where they can be dug from the ground at the base of the ridge or removed from the basalt. This is hard work and not many people care to do it. One ridge that is fairly well known is the ridge just behind Esrey Park, on the South-East side of the highway. Another is a ridge on the West side of Copper Harbor. There are at least two ridges that cross the North road to the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula East of Horseshoe Harbor.
Lake Superior Agates are believed to be from 1 to 2 billion years old and were formed in the Lake Superior area lava flows. As the lava cooled, silicates and other minerals flowed into the visicules (gas pockets) trapped in the solidified lava which then hardened to form the Lake Superior Agate and many other mineral amygdules.
There are many types of Agate found throughout the world, but Lake Superior Agates are by far, both the oldest and the most beautiful. There are no two Lake Superior Agates exactly alike, unless they are the two halves of the same agate. The colors attributed to Lake Superior Agates are infinite, with the most prized being the high contrasting red and white bands. Some other features found in Lake Superior Agates are eyes, tubes, paint stones (pastel/flat color banding), peeled (where the agate breaks across a band plane), fortifications, as well as others.
During the Prehistoric Ice Ages when the glaciers swept across the Lake Superior Area, the Lava rock was easily broken up and eventually formed sand and soil. However, the very hard Lake Superior Agates, were carried along with the glaciers and depositied in the areas mentioned above.
Lake Superior Agates are popular within the Lapidary Field as they make suburb colorful patterned cabs, rings, necklaces, etc..., or just look great rough or tumbled. Before you cut or polish an exceptionally nice Lake Superior Agate, check with an expert, as you may actually decrease its value as a collectible specimen by cutting and/or polishing it.
97 Pounds of Lake Superior Agate!
The eye of this agate is in the head of a salamander.
the Official Michigan State Stone.
the most common crystal habit of Native Copper.
What marine fossil when
looked at front or back is a mirror image on right and
small green, white and pink mineral forming eyes is
called Thomsonite. It is in what family of minerals?
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