New Soudan mine tours go deep – into geology, that is – by Pam Louwagie (Minneapolis Star Tribune – September 15, 2018)

Geology groupies: Take note. For a limited time, the Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park is offering a new, more scientific walking tour geared toward explaining details about how geologists figured out where and how to extract iron ore from the area.

Guides at the park in northeastern Minnesota bring visitors a half-mile underground in an elevator-like cage. While typical tours then transfer visitors to a train for a ¾-mile ride to a large underground “room” where ore has been extracted, the new tours involve walking there.

“It gives us an opportunity to stop at locations that people on the train are never going to see,” said Park Manager Jim Essig. The new tours emphasize how mines were mapped, he said.

Visitors will be given head lamps with their hard hats, as well as hand-held flashlights, so they can see and hear about the various types of rock formations that can be found in the area.

On the new tours, which will be held weekdays at 2 p.m. throughout September for $20, guides will explain how geologists used core drilling to figure out where mining might pay off and how to reach and excavate materials safely. “You drill a hole … with a drill that has an empty center,” Essig explained. A core of rock is then pulled out so geologists can see the layers of geological formations underground.

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