There are hundreds of different minerals found in the Great Lakes basin. Minerals have played an important historical role in human development of the region and continue to play a role in the economies of the Great Lakes states (Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York) and the Canadian province of Ontario. 

Native Americans used minerals in their lives. In Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula they dug surface pits to recover native copper that they formed into spear points, knives, scrapers, and other tools using stone hammers. The first major mining rush of North America was to Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula in the mid 1840s in search of mineable native copper. By 1846 iron ore was being exploited from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, later to be exploited from Minnesota and Ontario—all part of the Lake Superior iron district. After iron, in the 1800s, gold fever in Minnesota, Ontario, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula further fueled human development of the Great Lakes region. Mineral resources continue to make a significant contribution to human development in the Great Lakes basin. Precambrian bedrock hosts concentrations of minerals mined to recover elements such as iron, copper, and gold while Phanerozoic sedimentary bedrock contains mines for limestone and salt. Sand and gravel are an important resource in the Great Lakes region. Read a summary of the geology of the Great Lakes region here: Great Lakes geology overview.

Michigan lies at the center of the Great Lakes basin and the diversity of minerals found in Michigan encompasses most of that found in the basin as a whole. Former A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum Curator George Robinson updated and revised the Mineralogy of Michigan by E. W. Heinrich, which was published by the museum in 2004 and is available in the online store.  The book contains 36 pages of discussion of the setting of Michigan minerals only available in the hard copy and an extensive index. The book also lists multiple unidentified mineral species not in the list below.

Provided here are the separate PDF files for each of the different minerals listed in the book as well as a subsequent update when applicable. The  references cited in these entries are provided for the alphabetical listing of minerals found in Michigan.


These PDF files may be downloaded to learn more about each of the different minerals listed in Mineralogy of Michigan, as well as subsequent update when applicable.

Note to User: A PDF may have information that applies to two names of a mineral and when there is a second name in parentheses (  ) there is only one PDF for both names. If the mineral has a parentheses (see also . . . ) the user should also refer to the separate PDF for additional applicable information.  

Learn more about Michigan Minerals below.

Mineral Species Descriptions (.pdf format):