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Bulletin No. 43. The Geology of the Metamorphosed Biwabik Iron-Formation, Eastern Mesabi District, Minnesota
Gundersen, James Novotny; Schwartz, George M. (Minnesota Geological Survey, 1962)

Bulletin No. 43. The Geology of the Metamorphosed Biwabik Iron-Formation, Eastern Mesabi District, Minnesota

Issue Date

Minnesota Geological Survey

Map, Report

The construction of large concentrating plants and opening of pits for large-scale mining and milling of taconite during the past decade has emphasized the importance of all aspects of the geology of the Eastern Mesabi district. It had been known from the earliest explorations in the Mesabi district that the eastern twenty-mile portion was characterized by a hard, siliceous, magnetite rock which Winchell called "taconyte." It was soon learned that this rock had not yielded to natural enrichment as had many areas in the main part of the range. Later, as the large complex concentrating plants went into operation, it became evident that intensive study of certain aspects of the geology, including detailed lateral as well as vertical stratigraphic variations, together with mineralogical and petrographic characteristics, would be extremely important to the successful operation of the huge pits and concentrating plants. The only detailed publication on the Eastern Mesabi was by Grout and Broderick in 1919, a study that necessarily depended mainly on outcrops, whereas large amounts of diamond drill core and extensive vertical exposures in the pits are now available. The earlier mineralogical work was done before x-ray methods were well developed and before the complex amphibole and pyroxene groups were well understood. It was therefore obvious to the Director of the Minnesota Geological Survey that a modern detailed study was needed to supplement the excellent earlier work of Grout and Broderick. Fortunately, Dr. E. W. Davis, who had spent much of a lifetime on developing a process to concentrate taconite, was a consultant for the Reserve Mining Company. He fully understood the significance of a detailed knowledge of taconite, and as a result of his suggestions the company established an excellent postgraduate fellowship at the University of Minnesota to aid in fundamental research on the characteristics of taconite. Dr. James N. Gundersen, currently of the Department of Geology, Los Angeles State College, was appointed to the fellowship. The Minnesota Geological Survey agreed to assume field and other expenses and to direct the work. The results published in this bulletin speak for the character of the work accomplished. The bulletin is adapted from Dr. Gundersen's thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. He deserves the highest praise for the energy and devotion he has given to the problem. The economically important Eastern Mesabi district of Minnesota is the type locality for the iron-formation rock type taconite, a stratified quartzose rock containing significant amounts of iron-bearing oxides, hydroxides, silicates, and, locally west of the district, carbonates. Five basic types of taconite massive, layered, laminated, shaly bedded, and shaly are delineated for detailed classification of the stratified structure and mineralogy of the Biwabik iron-formation in this district.

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One map insert as pdf, scale 1:80,000.

Suggested Citation
Gundersen, James Novotny; Schwartz, George M.. (1962). Bulletin No. 43. The Geology of the Metamorphosed Biwabik Iron-Formation, Eastern Mesabi District, Minnesota. Minnesota Geological Survey. Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,

Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.