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March-April 2012

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Mercury Minerals of the Huron River Uranium Prospect, Baraga County, Michigan

Michigan is known worldwide for the beautiful crystallized copper found in the mines of its Keweenaw Peninsula and the hematite, goethite, and other minerals from its iron districts. Copper and iron hold such an overwhelming domination in Michigan that one just does not expect to find minerals containing such exotic elements as uranium, vanadium, and mercury in a region ruled by Precambrian copper and iron deposits. Yet minerals containing these and other exotic elements have been found at a small uranium prospect situated around a waterfall on the east branch of the Huron River in Baraga County, Michigan. A total of forty mineral species and three unknowns were reported in this journal by Carlson et al. (2007) as occurring at the prospect. Recent collecting, however, has shown that the prospect is not yet finished producing new and strange minerals for Michigan by increasing this count to fifty-one species and five unknown or unverified species.

Travis A. Olds, an avid field collector from Ishpeming, Michigan, is an undergraduate chemistry and earth science student at Michigan Technological University.

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