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March 2013 - Jacobsville Sandstone

Jacobson Sandstone

Jacobsville Sandstone is a red sandstone that has light-colored streaks and spots caused by chemical leaching across the bedding planes. This beautiful rock is found along the Lake Superior shoreline in northern Upper Michigan and Ontario. Scientists also think that Jacobsville lies under much of Lake Superior. There are also other sandstones in Wisconsin and Minnesota that may or may not be the same formation (Freda sandstone, Bayfield Group sandstone). Jacobsville Sandstone is composed of: 27.4% nonundulatory quartz, 27.0% undulatory quartz, 23.0% potassium feldspar, and 12.3% silicic volcanic clasts.

A hundred years ago this rock was mined and used as a building material. It was highly desired for its durability and aesthetics. Over 30 different quarries in the Upper Peninsula extracted Jacobsville sandstone between 1870 and 1915.

Jacobsville Sandstone Building

Below is a table showing the sandstone sales from 1899 to 1913.

Year Total Value
1899 $178,038
1900 $132,650
1901 $174,428
1902 $188,073
1903 $121,350
1904 $74,868
1905 $123,123
1906 $65,395
1907 $53,003
1908 $39,103
1909 $36,084
1910 $31,233
1911 $12,985
1912 $16,438
1913 $19,224

There is some confusion about this rock since it has had several names including redstone, brownstone, Lake Superior Sandstone, and Eastern Sandstone. In 1907, however, the sedimentary formation was given its current classification and the name Jacobsville, in honor of the town in which some of the quarries were located. There is also disagreement about the age of the sandstone. Most believe that it formed around a billion years ago, but others feel that it is half that age. Since the sandstone is entirely devoid of fossils, the older age classification is more likely.

Today, the best place to see this rock is near Au Sable Point, located around eight miles west of Grand Marais.


Mineral of the Month Archives

May 2007: Rainbow Fluorite

June 2007: Lake Superior Michipicoten Agate

July 2007: Labadorite

August 2007: Rain Flower Agate

Fall 2007: Malachite

December 2007: Nepheline Syenite

January 2008: Native Copper

February 2008: Amazonite

March 2008: Lake Superior Agate

April 2008: Shadow Agate

May 2008: Apohpylite

June 2008: Ocean Jasper

Summer 2008: Marra Mamba Tiger's Eye

September 2008: Mohawkite

October 2008: Mexican opal

November 2008: Prehnite

December 2008: Picture Jasper

January 2009: Sea Shell Jasper

February 2009: Polychrome Jasper

March 2009: Selenite Desert Rose

Spring 2009: Coyamito Agate

July 2009: Obsidian Needles

August 2009: Goethite

September 2009: Banded Iron Formation

Fall 2009: Fairburn Agate

March 2010: Fossilized Dinosaur Bone

April/May: 2010 Kentucky Agate

June 2010: Nantan Meteorite

July 2010: Mookaite Jasper

Aug/Sept 2010: Polyhedroid Agate

Fall 2010: Ammonite Fossil

September 2011: Petoskey Stones

Spring 2011: Petrfied Wood

Winter 2011: Argentina Condor Agate

January 2012: Mary Ellen Jasper

March 2012: Mexican Crazy Lace Agate

June 2012: Moqui Marbles

September 2012: Chlorastrolite Greenstone

March 2013: Jacobsville Sandstone

August 2013: Unakite

November 2013: Skip-an-Atom Agate

April 2014: Tiger's Eye

September 2014: Black Corundum

February 2015: Condor Agate

June 2015: Petoskey Stone

November 2015: Slag

June 2016: Lake Superior Copper Replacement Agates

March 2017: Chert

July 2017: Kona Dolomite

December 2017: Septarian Nodule

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Gitche Gumee Museum.
E21739 Brazel Street
Grand Marais, Michigan 49839


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