Assessing impacts from historical copper mining stamps sands in the Keweenaw Peninsula through analysis of LiDAR and multispectral imagery from the US Army Corps of Engineers CHARTS System

Document Type

Conference Paper/Presentation

Publication Date



A Michigan Tech University - US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) collaborative team has been analyzing 2008 USACE CHARTS LiDAR and multispectral CASI imagery collected over areas of stamp sands deposited during the historical copper mining period in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula. Our focus area has been the area near Gay, MI, where approximately 23 million metric tons of mining stamp sands were deposited between 1901 and 1932, which have been eroding into Lake Superior. We have enhanced a depth-invariant index algorithm to demonstrate how multispectral CASI imagery can be used to map underwater areas of remaining native sand vs. deposited stamp sands. We have also developed methods to analyze LiDAR waveforms to detect patterns of varying bottom types. To enhance mapping of the lake bottom, we have developed a sun-glint and surface wave removal algorithm. We have demonstrated a method of fusing CASI imagery with LiDAR data to improve classification of nearshore wetland and forested areas. Using the 2008 LiDAR data to calculate stamp sand height and volume along with historical aerial imagery, we estimate that approximately 8.6 million metric tons of stamp sands remain on-shore as of 2008 and 14 million metric tons have been deposited into the nearshore area that includes known fishery spawning grounds.

Publisher's Statement

© 2011 The authors.

Publication Title

IAGLR 54th Annual Conference on Great Lakes Research