This Discarded Michigan Diamond Mine May Still Contain Diamonds
Even though diamonds have been found here, it's been called “Michigan's Potential Diamond Mine”.....yet it's not being mined. Could Michigan possibly be missing out on some wealth?
There's an old logging road that runs between Lake Ellen and the Michigamme Reservoir. Along this road is an 18-acre exposed area where microscopic diamonds have been discovered. Originally a part of the Menominee Iron Mining District, this diamond mine was unceremoniously closed years ago with no interest in mining, even though the mined ore contained diamonds.
This area is packed with Kimberlite, a substance which is known to sometimes contain diamonds. It also contains plenty of garnets and some gem-quality deposits. This is one of the few places in the whole country to contain Kimberlite. Plus, it's the first and most famous of over 20 Kimberlite sites in Michigan.
The bedrock here is volcanic going back over one billion years, and the Kimberlite is easily identifiable by its color: a gray-green hue with iron-stained red. Even though people still get excited over the micro-diamonds that have been found, no commercial-value ones have been uncovered in almost 50 years.....at least, not yet.
This lode was accidentally discovered in 1971 when a logging road was being excavated, exposing the bedrock. The rock is believed to have many more embedded microscopic diamonds, but the public is being discouraged to mine for two reasons:
1) It's on private property.
2) Looking for these tiny diamonds would be more trouble than they're worth.
But don't let that dash your hopes...many people have gotten permission to do their own amateur geology digs. If you visit, make sure you get permission if there are still any “no trespassing” or “private property” signs tacked up.
The area is located in Iron County about 10 miles northeast of Crystal Falls in the U.P...
PHOTOS OF THE LAKE ELLEN KIMBERLITE AREA