Friday, June 21, 2013


Houghton MI (Low 55 Rainy with a Couple Thunderstorms High 74)

Continuing our recent tour of the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum on the campus of Michigan Technological University in Houghton Michigan, a gem of a museum, that we blogged about earlier here

You don't expect to find emeralds, diamonds, rubies, alongside copper but that is exactly what we found. The origins of this museum go back to the 1800s when copper was discovered in the area. That developed a need for trained mining engineers and geologists which lead to the establishment of the Michigan Mining School in 1885, now Michigan Technological University. They began collecting and cataloging minerals right away and over the years have amassed a great collection, one of the largest in the country. First housed in various locations at the university until that spot became too small and a bigger one needed, and then an even bigger one, the collection got a permanent home in a brand new facility a couple of years ago. Every since then they have been developing displays and rotating them in and out.

We really enjoyed our visit. Here are a few of our favorite minerals.

Nowhere else on earth has so much pure metallic copper ever been mined than in this region. Here is a huge chunk of mass Copper.

A couple of things we found fascinating. First, although Datolite is not a rare mineral but the large, brightly colored nodules of datolite as shown below occur nowhere else on Earth. These photos aren't the best and do not show the bright colors, if we go back we will try and do a better job next time.

Second, we did not know that emerald and aquamarine are the same mineral, it just depends on the conditions that give it color.

We also have never seen native Arsenic

or native mercury

We were enthralled by sulfur

This is an incredible museum, one we may attend again and again, and you readers will attend at least one more time.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo


  1. I would definitely visit this one. We've never been to a mineral/gem museum.

  2. We really enjoy minerals. We lived in Brazil for three years and brought back a tiny collection with us. After Denver and the Colorado School of Mines, we moved up to the Black Hill and see there is a Geology Museum at the the South Dakota School of Mines in Rapid City. Should also be a good one with all the old mines and fossils around the area.

  3. The RV Park manager were we are staying told to make sure we visit this museum when we get to Houghton. We have it on our list.