One of my colleagues graduated from Michigan Technological University (MTU) in 1986 and had not been back since. He’s a mechanical engineer but has worked his entire career in the foundry industry. As an MTU alum, he gets invited to the school’s events, and that included a geology tour.

I’ve been collecting rocks since my parents took me to the beach at the Bay of Fundy and Prince Edward Island in eastern Canada when I was 4 years old. I loved the smooth stones of various shades of green and gray. I still take the time to look at interesting rocks that float to the surface of my garden dirt every spring. So, a geology tour of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula sounded good.

It’s a long drive from Grand Rapids to the Keweenaw Peninsula of the “Upper Peninsula,” so it made sense to add to the agenda of a half-day program. The trip was a rockhound’s dream. And there were lots of really interesting things for me to see as a member of the metallurgist clan! I took close to 1,000 pictures, so we can’t show them all here. The first surprise was waking up in Iron Mountain and looking out the motel window to see an odd series of archaeological ruins (Fig. 1)!

After breakfast, we wandered out and discovered the remains of the Ardis Furnace. While the inventor’s visionary theories did not turn out to be anything other than a major financial disaster, many of his ideas were later recycled in different forms and became part of the foundation of the modern iron-ore refining industry. Even here, I had fun looking at the big chunks of different colored and textured rocks that were used to fill the concrete to make the furnace supports.

There’s lots of information on John T. Jones, the inventor, and his other endeavors. Sadly, there is no mention in the index of either the “Ardis Furnace” or “John T. Jones” in the famous The Making, Shaping, and Treating of Steel, at least not in the 1964 8th Edition. Some company (I am sad to say I can’t remember who covered the cost) gave all incoming sophomores in my class at Carnegie Mellon the latest issue way back in 1977.

Check back soon for more geology from my U.P. vacation.

One of my colleagues graduated from Michigan Technological University (MTU) in 1986 and had not been back since. He’s a mechanical engineer but has worked his entire career in the foundry industry. As an MTU alum, he gets invited to the school’s events, and that included a geology tour.

I’ve been collecting rocks since my parents took me to the beach at the Bay of Fundy and Prince Edward Island in eastern Canada when I was 4 years old. I loved the smooth stones of various shades of green and gray. I still take the time to look at interesting rocks that float to the surface of my garden dirt every spring. So, a geology tour of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula sounded good.

It’s a long drive from Grand Rapids to the Keweenaw Peninsula of the “Upper Peninsula,” so it made sense to add to the agenda of a half-day program. The trip was a rockhound’s dream. And there were lots of really interesting things for me to see as a member of the metallurgist clan! I took close to 1,000 pictures, so we can’t show them all here. The first surprise was waking up in Iron Mountain and looking out the motel window to see an odd series of archaeological ruins (Fig. 1)!

After breakfast, we wandered out and discovered the remains of the Ardis Furnace. While the inventor’s visionary theories did not turn out to be anything other than a major financial disaster, many of his ideas were later recycled in different forms and became part of the foundation of the modern iron-ore refining industry. Even here, I had fun looking at the big chunks of different colored and textured rocks that were used to fill the concrete to make the furnace supports.

There’s lots of information on John T. Jones, the inventor, and his other endeavors. Sadly, there is no mention in the index of either the “Ardis Furnace” or “John T. Jones” in the famous The Making, Shaping, and Treating of Steel, at least not in the 1964 8th Edition. Some company (I am sad to say I can’t remember who covered the cost) gave all incoming sophomores in my class at Carnegie Mellon the latest issue way back in 1977.

Check back soon for more geology from my U.P. vacation.