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This Sunday, November 10th, it will be 44 years since the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald...

This Sunday, November 10th, it will be 44 years since the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald...

This Sunday, November 10th, it will be 44 years since the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald...

(OP)
The Edmund Fitzgerald sank 17 miles off Whitefish Point, during a storm on Lake Superior, on the night of November 10, 1975. To date, not a single body has been recovered from the wreak which lays more than 500 feet below the surface. The actual reason for why the ship sank has never been determined with certainty. Note that a very similar ship, the SS Arthur M Anderson, left port at the same time as the Fitzgerald and sailed an almost identical route with both ships in continuous radio contact with each other until the Fitzgerald apparently sank. The Anderson made it to port without incident.

Here's a news item from a Michigan TV station (one that we used to watch when we lived in Saginaw) which does a good job explaining what's known about the ship's course and weather conditions prior to the wreak:

https://www.wnem.com/wreck-of-the-edmund-fitzgeral...

I remember this well as we were living in Michigan at the time (in Saginaw in fact) and since I had gone to school up in Houghton, on Lake Superior, spending five winters there, we knew what winter weather there can be like.

And what story about the Edmund Fitzgerald would be complete without providing a link to Gordon Lightfoot's song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vST6hVRj2A

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: This Sunday, November 10th, it will be 44 years since the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald...

The surprise to me is how relatively modern this disaster was. When the song came out I thought it was an event from the early 1900s. The song is much more like the sinking of the El Faro.

RE: This Sunday, November 10th, it will be 44 years since the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald...

... 29 times...

RIP. nosmiley

Rogue wave was one theory, yes. Saw a documentary on that years ago...

Mike McCann, PE, SE (WA, HI)


RE: This Sunday, November 10th, it will be 44 years since the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald...

From the NTSB website-- (typos are theirs)
"The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the sudden massive flooding of the cargo hold due to the collapse of one or more hatch covers. Before the hatch covers collapsed, floodign into the ballast tanks and tunnel through topside damage and flooding into the cargo hold through nonweathertight hatch covers caused a reduction of freeboard and a list. The hydrostatic and ydrodynamic forces imposed on the hatch covers by heavy boarding seas at this reduced freeboard and with the list caused the hatch covers to collapse.

Contributing to the accident was the lack of transverse watertight bulkheads in the cargo hold and the reduction of freeboard authorized by the 1969, 1971, and 1973 amendments to the Great Lakes Load Line Regulations.​"

Brad Waybright

It's all okay as long as it's okay.

RE: This Sunday, November 10th, it will be 44 years since the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald...

Lake Superior is well known for not giving up its dead. Surface temps over much of the lake can be in the 40s (F) even in July. Water temps at depth are only slightly above freezing during the entire year. Biologic decomposition is hardly possible at all and old deeper wrecks are seen neerly free of rust. Wreck divers have reported been totally creeped out from seeing completely preserved bodies inside 100+ yr old wrecks.


Current Surface temps
https://www.glerl.noaa.gov/res/glcfs/glcfs.php?lak...

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&...

http://weekinweird.com/2016/11/27/old-whitey-prese...

RE: This Sunday, November 10th, it will be 44 years since the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald...

(OP)
Hey ax1e, do we have another Tech grad here?

As for the water temp of Lake Superior, I can attest to it first hand. It was a sort of right-of-passage to at least take one full body dip into the lake before graduating, and based on the conversation above, it didn't really make any difference what time of year you chose to take your dip, the water temps didn't change all that much. I waited till the last minute, not taking the plunge until just before I graduated in June 1971. Actually, September, or maybe even early October, would probably be when you would find the water the warmest.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: This Sunday, November 10th, it will be 44 years since the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald...

My dad graduated there in 49, but I have visited the campus many times. Do they still have that 800 lb copper "nugget" displayed on the lawn?

I watched my whole body turn blue after just a couple of minutes swimming at Lakeshore Park, but even that didnt keep us kids out of the water for very long. We were a hardy bunch back then. Went swimming every day, all day, then camped with bigfoot and the bears all night. It was bigfoot that scared me the most. Still does.

RE: This Sunday, November 10th, it will be 44 years since the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald...

(OP)
As far as I know, the 'nugget' has been moved indoors to the mineral museum.

However, they have replaced it with a large 'bronze' statue of the school's mascot, the Husky, as seen on that logo you posted. Here's a live streaming webcam shot of the so-called 'Husky Plaza' (it's a bit dark there now, but check back in the morning):

https://www.mtu.edu/webcams/plaza/

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: This Sunday, November 10th, it will be 44 years since the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald...

That piece of float copper is in the range of 4000 pounds.

RE: This Sunday, November 10th, it will be 44 years since the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald...

Grandpa always said that his crew left one chunk in the mine that was so big they couldn't get it out. It heat sunk all attempts with cutting torches.

RE: This Sunday, November 10th, it will be 44 years since the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald...

(OP)
Yes, the Quincy Mine National Monument, on the hilltop above Hancock, Michigan, across the lake from Houghton and the college, has a display where they talk about the fact that there were several solid chucks of copper so large that they just cut around them after attempts to break them up failed. Note that the copper in the UP of Michigan is pure copper. It's not a chemical compound but rather what they call 'float' copper, which usually came in thin veins between layers of rock, which would be crushed in large stamping mills to separate the copper from the rock, then it was simply melted and poured into ingots. There was NO chemical processing done as it was totally unnecessary. However, this did mean that they often encountered large chunks of copper which were impossible to breakup and they were simply left behind if they were too large to fit into the 'rock cars' that took the material up to the surface and out of the mines. What this also meant is that you could walk around the woods and finds chunks of pure copper just laying on the ground. Also farmers in the area often would dislodge large chunks that they would hit when plowing their fields. For years after the mines and the mills closed they still used what they called 'stamp sands' the tailings from the stamping mills as aggregate when making concrete and they would also mix it with asphalt when paving the streets. Note that there was a lot of small pieces of copper still mixed in those stamp sands, too small to be worth the effort to extract them, and so they ended-up in the asphalt. It was always fun watching some freshman out in the middle of the street trying to dig out a piece of copper he saw after the first rain the school year as it would be shiny having been polished by the tires of vehicles driving on the street and the rain would wash off any dirt and debris and when sun came out after the rain the street would literally glitter with copper.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: This Sunday, November 10th, it will be 44 years since the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald...

Float copper is native copper that has been transported via glacier drift and left behind when the glaciers melted. Pieces have been found hundreds of miles south of the UP. Yes, the stamp sands contain residual copper. Every sophomore metallurgical engineering student does a case study on setting up a process for copper recovery of the Portage lake stamp sands.

RE: This Sunday, November 10th, it will be 44 years since the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald...

(OP)
Here are a few pictures of the aforementioned Quincy Mine.

This first shot I think is the best one that I ever took of the main shaft house of the Quincy Mine, which was in operation for nearly 100 years, closing shortly after the end of WWII, when the price of copper plunged. Several other newer mines remained in operation, the last one in the area to close wasn't until the late 60's (I remember it closing while I was still in school there). At the time the Quincy closed, it was the deepest mine in the world with a main shaft depth of 9,260 feet. Note that all of the mine shafts in the area were dug so as to align with the strata that the copper veins ran in, which in the case of the Quincy Mine that meant it was angled approximately 55º from level ground, which meant that the mine had a vertical depth of just over 6,200 feet:


December 1970 (Minolta SRT-101)

Here's what the Quincy Mine looks like as seen from the city of Houghton:


October 2010 (Sony DSC-H2)

And here is what they purport to be the largest chunk of copper that they were able to remove from the Quincy Mine. It's about 12-13 feet long:


October 2010 (Sony DSC-H2)

Note that that 4,000 lbs chunk of copper that used to be on display on campus and is now in the mineral museum, that was NOT taken out of a mine, rather is was found just sitting on the ground not far from the shore of Lake Superior a 100 years or so ago.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: This Sunday, November 10th, it will be 44 years since the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald...

The last copper mining operations in the Keweenaw Peninsula (Calumet area, about 15 miles north of the Quincy mine) were run by Calumet and Hecla and those had just been idled by a strike when I started at Tech in September of 1968. No settlement was reached and operations were shuttered. In 1973, exploratory work was begun at one of the shuttered mines by Homestake Mining Company, but after 5 years of work, it was decided to not proceed.

RE: This Sunday, November 10th, it will be 44 years since the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald...

(OP)
September of 1968 was when I returned to school after taking a year and half off to get married and to get my life straightened out.

BTW, my roommate my freshman year was a metallurgist, but he would have graduated in 1969. Speaking of copper, he went to work for Anaconda in Arizona. He was from International Falls, MN, so no one could brag about how cold it was back home when he was around.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: This Sunday, November 10th, it will be 44 years since the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald...

John--Since you like photographing old mining structures, you need to go to Alaska and make the side trip out to McCarthy and Kennicott. There is a mill at Kennicott that was used to crush native copper. Looks just like one of the stamp mills in the Keweenaw.

RE: This Sunday, November 10th, it will be 44 years since the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald...

(OP)
Another great place to take copper mining related photos is Butte, Montana. Here's the headframe of a copper mine in Butte, around which they've built the 'World Museum of Mining':


April 2019 (Sony a6000)

You can also go down to the 100 foot level in this mine:


April 2019 (Sony a6000)

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

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