• Indianhead Point stands tall along the Pictured Rocks. Photo copyright Craig Blacklock

    Pictured Rocks

    National Lakeshore Michigan

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Grand Sable Dunes temporary closure to all public entry for visitor safety

    Grand Sable Dunes are rapidly eroding into Sable Creek and Lake Superior. The area from the Ghost Forest Trail north to Lake Superior then along the shoreline to the west side of Sable Creek is temporarily closed. Follow closure signs for your safety. More »

Miners Castle Turret Collapses

Subscribe RSS Icon | What is RSS
Date: April 14, 2006
Contact: Larry Hach, 906-387-2607

Miners Castle before and after a rockfall on April 13, 2006.
Miners Castle before and after April 13, 2006, rockfall
NPS photos
On Thursday morning, April 13, 2006, the northeast turret of Miners Castle collapsed. One turret remains on Miners Castle, the best-known feature of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The collapse was reported via cell phone by fisherman in the area, according to chief ranger Larry Hach.

Most of the rock fell north and into Lake Superior, and there were no injuries. The lower overlook platform near Miners Castle appears to be unaffected.

While the rockfall at Miners Castle on April 13 was startling, such events are not rare along the Pictured Rocks escarpment. At least five major falls have occurred over the past dozen years: 1) two different portions of Grand Portal Point, 2) the eastern side of Indian Head just east of Grand Portal Point, 3) Miners Falls just below the (now modified) viewing platform, and 4) beneath the lip of Munising Falls (along the former trail that went behind the cascade).

All the rockfalls involved the same rock unit, the Miners Castle Member of the Munising Formation. Rock units are named for places where they were first technically described. The Miners Castle Member consists of crumbly cross-bedded sandstone that is poorly cemented by secondary quartz, according to U.S. Geological Survey Research Ecologist Walter Loope.

Rockfalls along the cliffs typically occur in the spring and fall due to freezing and thawing action of Mother Nature.

 

Did You Know?

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and the Hiawatha National Forest share a visitor center at 400 E. Munising Ave. in Munising, Michigan.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore shares a visitor center with the Hiawatha National Forest. The interagency visitor center was dedicated in 1988, and serves over 40,000 people annually. Other federal interagency visitor centers are located in Alaska, Utah, California, and Idaho. More...