GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 96-11
Presentation Time: 11:05 AM


ROSE, William I., Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Dr, Houghton, MI 49931 and VYE, Erika C., Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Dr, Houghton, MI 49931; Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931

The International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) and UNESCO’s International Geoscience Programme (IGP) have announced that the Jacobsville Sandstone, a rock formation named for Jacobsville ,Michigan is now one of the first 15 Global Heritage Stone Resources (GHSR) in the world and the first in the United States.

The Jacobsville is a redbed sandstone that formed from ancient river sands eroded from billion year old mountains and shed into lowlands that were remnants of a huge rift zone. The Jacobsville is found along the south shore of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It forms dramatic red and white cliffs and was extensively used for churches, hotels, banks, schools and government buildings all over North America from 1880 to 1920.

GHSR designations are aimed to promote increased community, national and international awareness of natural stone and its widespread utilization in human culture. Jacobsville buildings are still prominent and widely appreciated. The history of quarrying and sandstone buildings in the copper country is a major part of our geohistory and geoheritage. Started in 2015, GHSR is one of several designations that form parts of International Heritage awareness.

The nomination of the Jacobsville to IUGS was made by the co-authors and Carol A Stein at University of Illinois at Chicago, David H. Malone at Illinois State University, John Craddock at Macalester College and Seth Stein at Northwestern University. The nomination was approved in late 2018 by the IUGS committee.

Awareness of the exceptional geoheritage of the Keweenaw, site of Earth’s earliest metal mining, an important immigration focal point for the US, an exceptional large igneous province along the midcontinent rift, and the site of a unique native copper ore deposit is kindled by the wide popularity of the rift-filling sandstones for buildings across eastern North America. Geoheritage is under appreciated because these geoheritage links are several generations removed from local people who no longer work in mines or quarries. International heritage designation is a reminder that restores pride and commitment. It has aided in opening of geoheritage sites and geotourism.