Skip to main content

Mesabi & Vermilion Iron Ranges



2004 Field Trip # 3 - Mesabi & Vermilion Iron Ranges


Date:      August 14-15, 2004 (Saturday & Sunday)


Leader:      Dr. Richard Ojakangas, Professor Emeritus - UMD


HIGHLIGHTS:     This trip will focus on the Mesabi and Vermilion Iron Ranges, and include many classic outcrops in the region.  We will also tour an experimental pilot plant in Coleraine for the new taconite nugget process (97% iron - free samples). There, Director Dave Hendrickson will explain the current economics of the steel industry, including the present demand resulting from China’s huge industrial growth and where this new process fits into the requirements of mini mills and domestic steel production.  The following itinerary is still tentative:  SAT:  NRRI pilot plant in Coleraine, Hill-Annex Mine (briefly) in Calumet, Hull-Rust-Mahoning overlook in north Hibbing (we will eat our bag lunches in the nearby park), MN DNR core library (possible), Mineview in the Sky in Virginia, United Taconite pit tour.  Overnight in your motel near Virginia (see below).  SUN:  Soudan Mine (9:00-11:30 tour of the historical mine and modern physics facilities), Archean Soudan Iron-formation Member near mine, Pike River Dam Archean volcanogenic graywackes, classic outcrop of folded graywackes, Archean “Confusion Hill” (Giants Range Batholith) just north of Virginia, Archean pillowed greenstone outcrop in Gilbert, Stromatolite exposure (a “field of stromatolites”) in an LTV pit near Hoyt Lakes - collecting permitted.  Then back to the bus depot in Cloquet.


WHEN AND HOW:     On Saturday morning, we will meet at LCS Coaches, Inc (1203 Ave. B E, Cloquet, MN 55720 // phone 1-888-743-3527 // *see map * - Cloquet is 12 miles SW of Duluth near I-35 and Hwy 33).  There, we will leave our cars in the back lot and load our gear aboard our deluxe coach and head for our first stop.  Check-in begins 9:15 AM.  Please arrive early to allow for timely departure at 9:45.  (Due to limited parking at road cuts and in the pits, no private vehicles allowed on this field trip).  Everyone gets to ride with the leader!! 

LCS Coaches, Inc 

LODGING:     Herein lies the rub!  Even at this very early date, motel space in Virginia seems to be very limited on August 14.  It is highly recommended that you reserve a room as soon as you receive this flyer.  It is highly recommended that you reserve a room as soon as you receive this flyer.  Please do not set it aside and think you can get a room later!  In the Virginia yellow pages at my library, I found the following and made a few calls.  All quotes given are less tax. Discounts for AAA/AARP/Seniors may apply and could vary. You must check for and request specific discounts at the time of reservation.


Ski-View Motel (10 rooms left) $40/single; $44/double with one bed; $48/double with two beds; no discounts.  Phone:  (218) 741-8918 // Address:  9th Ave N & 17th Street, Virginia.

Lakeshore Motor Inn Downtown (8 rooms left) Discounts for AAA/AARP/Seniors  $39/single; $35.10/disc. single; $52/double; $46.80/disc. double.  Phones:  (218) 741-3360 / (800) 569-8131  //  Address:  404 North 6th Ave.

Super 8 Motel (7 rooms left) indoor pool - spa / cont. brkfst.  $70.88/double; $63.79/disc. double.  Phones: (218) 744-1661 / (800) 800-8000 // Address: 1080 Industrial Park Drive & US Hwy 53.

Voyager North Motel (4 rooms left) cont. brkfst.  $55/double; $49.95/disc. double.  Phone: (218) 741-9235 / (800) 235-3524  //  Address:  13th Street & Hwy 53.

Days Inn  (79 rooms left)  cont. brkfst. $79/single; $89/double; AAA/AARP/Senior discounts all -10%.  Phone: 1-888-354-6230  //   Address:  701 Hat Trick Ave., Eveleth (on US Hwy 53).

Laurentian Environmental Center (2 divided cabins) Located in Britt, MN about 7 miles north of Virginia.  Cabins are partitioned for dorm style: boys/girls.  $20/person; $6/meal (optional); environmental lecture in evening.  Must bring own towels and bedding.  Check availability at time of registration with Doug Z. (763-784-0201).


COST:     Cost of the two-day field trip includes the bus charter and a trip guide: $33/member.  Nonmembers pay an additional $10 fee.  Registration/payment must be received by the deadline: Wednesday, July 21.  When 54 seats have been reserved, a waiting list will be started.    Please send check (payable to GSM) or money order (do not send cash) to:  GSM; c/o Doug Zbikowski; 7833 Able St. NE; Spring Lake Park, MN 55432.  Phone: (763) 784-0201. Please note: this cost does NOT include the tickets for the Soudan Mine tours, which you will pay directly to the State Park Office and will be:  $11.00/adult; $7.00/age 12 and under.


PREPARATION:     Come prepared to have fun in any type weather or terrain.  Each field trip participant will be required to sign a waiver of liability prior to the start of the field trip.  This is scheduled to be a two day trip.  You will need a bag lunch and beverage for the first day.  On the second day, you may bring food and there will be opportunities to buy food as well.  If important final details arise, they may be mailed to those already signed up, a couple weeks prior to the trip.