Gypsum has many interesting features and has unique crystal habits. Michigan has large deposits of gypsum, and gypsum mine tours of Michigan can help the students view important gypsum mines. Gypsum is produced commercially from quarries near Alabastine and Tawas City. The greater Detroit area and Wyoming, Michigan, are other important mines where gypsum deposits are found. Gypsum mine tours offer the students an opportunity to hear about the history and geology of gypsum mining.
Alabastine Mine Tours
The first gypsum mine was dug by hand in 1907 in Alabastine, Kent County, Michigan. The hand-dug shaft reached a 12-foot seam of thick gypsum by mid-1908. Gypsum extracted from this mine was largely used to produce plaster for stucco. It was also used as filler for alabastine paint. Later, gypsum from this mine was used to make wallboard. The mine has four chief tunnels, each consisting of 75 rooms, most of which are still accessible. The mine is famous for its white alabaster and selentine.
Tawas City Mines
The open-pit quarry in Tawas City, Michigan, is responsible for commercial production of gypsum. Planning a mine tour to Tawas City can help the students understand about the unique characteristics of gypsum. The students can get a chance to visit the mine and learn about frozen storage, gypsum and shale layers and much more. They can also visit U.S. Gypsum Company to understand how gypsum is manufactured into various products.
Wyoming, Michigan, Mine
Between 1904 and 1943, a gypsum mine was operated in Wyoming, Michigan. The mining company ceased operation during World War II, having failed to adapt to mechanized mining techniques. The only piece of modern equipment used in the mind in 1943 was a heavy-duty drill. The rest of the mining operation was completed by hand. Today this mine has been repurposed and is used for cold-temperature and controlled-environment storage.
Detroit Salt Mines
Evaporative deposits of gypsum and rock salt are found throughout the Michigan Basin. The Detroit salt mine tour helps students understand the history of mining, and the formation of mineral deposits that create rock salt, gypsum, quartz and other naturally occurring minerals. The existence of rock salt was discovered in the year 1895, and the Detroit mine produced nearly 8,000 tons of rock salt by 1914.
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