Right after the icebergs melted, we had terrific agate hunting in the Grand Marais area. For the first time in several winters, we had floating ice on Lake Superior. As the shore ice forms, rocks become embedded in the ice. When the wind shifts, sometimes this shore ice breaks off and floats around Lake Superior – carrying a hidden stash of rocks.

In the spring, the icebergs get blown by northwest winds and beach for the last time between Grand Marais and Whitefish Point. At first there was a ton of rock on our local beaches. Although there is still some rock now (late in the summer), there have been three Lake Superior storms that have played havoc with the beaches. One late spring storm and two massive summer storms have under-towed many of the rocks back out into the lake bed, and covered up others with sand. From week to week, if not day to day, the availability of rock on any particular beach changes drastically. So agate hunters this summer must be patient.

Whenever customers come into the museum with their agates that I photograph for this web page, I usually write down their names and save those cards until I execute a web page update. This time I am not sure I managed these pieces of paper well. I’m missing at least one – and for that I apologize. Please send me an email to to correct my gaps or any errors below.

At the end of May, this woman came into the museum with a rock – asking if it is an agate. She also asked me to cut and face polish the specimen. When she found it on the beach east of Grand Marais last fall, it appeared to have recently eroded out of the dune. The cryptocrystalline husk on the rock had not yet eroded away, so although it was translucent, you could not see much banding. However, there was a fracture on one end that clearly exposed banding. What a ¾ pound agate it is – especially since it is the first one she ever found. I had the name on the paper bag used to transport the agate home – but I didn’t record it and I threw the bag away. Note to agate finder: I hope your surgery went well and that you were able to bring the agate into the O.R. with you. Let me know and also email me your name and home town so I can include it with this update.

Tim and Shawn Burt came into the museum at the end of June with this unusual specimen. It had some agate as well as macro quartz along with ocean-jasper-like orbs.

Local resident, Ryan, used to help me out at the museum when he was a young kid. He stopped by the museum to show me his jar of agates. Good job, Ryan!

Oops – looks like I misplaced a second card with info about this agate and agate hunter. She brought it by the museum on July 17th. Nice agate! Please email me and let me know your name and home town!

Nolan, Emma, and their mother, Margaret from Lapeer, MI showed off their agates found in Grand Marais the third week of July.

Ken from Milan, MI showed off the agates he found in the Keweenaw Peninsula. These paint-stone agates are a bit different than those found on the Grand Marais beaches.

Tony emailed the photo below of a plume agate he found on Whitefish Point in early August.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *