Mapping stamp sand erosion and deposition in Keweenaw Bay with hyperspectral imagery and LiDAR data

Document Type

Conference Paper/Presentation

Publication Date



The legacy of copper mining in the Keweenaw Peninsula includes 22.7 million metric tons (MT) of processed mining ore known as stamps sands that were deposited near the village of Gay, MI in the early 20th century. Previous work by the Michigan Tech-led team using historical records and multispectral and LiDAR 2008 data, provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, showed that about 3 million MT remains in the original stamp sands pile, 12 million metric tons has been redeposited along 8 km of shoreline, 1 million MT has been used for road applications, and 10 million MT has moved into Grand Traverse Bay, covering the original lake bottom. These underwater stamps sands have begun encroaching onto Buffalo reef, a productive spawning area for whitefish and lake trout, as well as severally impacting benthic organisms. Analysis of 2009 depth-corrected aerial images showed that a nearby trough area is mostly filled with stamp sands and acts as a reservoir for material that threatens the reef. We employ new 2016 imagery from the Army Corps, coupled with in situ sampling, to evaluate the current rate of stamp sands migration and the degree of reef encroachment. Our aim is to determine the most effective dredging strategy to minimize future movement of stamp sands onto Buffalo Reef.

Publisher's Statement

Publisher's version of record: http://iaglr.org/conference/downloads/2017_abstracts.pdf

Publication Title

IAGLR's 60th annual Conference on Great Lakes Research