Aeromagnetic map of parts of Marquette, Dickinson, Baraga, Alger, and Schoolcraft Counties, Michigan, and its geologic interpretation

Geophysical Investigation Map 467

Prepared in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Conservation Geological Survey Division



The U. S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Geological Survey Division of the Michigan Department of Conservation, is conducting a comprehensive restudy of the iron-bearing districts of Michigan. The use of aeromagnetic data is one of the fastest and most reliable methods for outlining the areal distribution of magnetic iron-formation and thus is of material value in assessing the iron resources of the United States. As part of this program of restudy, aeromagnetic surveys of approximately 4,500 square miles of the Northern Peninsula have been made. The results of several of these surveys have been presented by Balsley and others (1949) and by Wier and others (.1953). This report is about a survey made in 1950, over an area of about 1,400 square miles in Marquette County and ad-· joining strips in northern Dickinson and northeastern Baraga Counties, and a later survey flown in 1961, over about 500 square miles in parts of Marquette, Alger, and Schoolcraft Counties. The Marquette iron range extends in an east-west direction across approximately the west-central part of the area, and iron districts of lesser importance are located at Republic, in the southwestern part of the area, and near Gwinn, in the south -central part of the area.

Aeromagnetic surveys were flown along north-south lines spaced at intervals of one-quarter mile in the western part of the area and at intervals of from about 1 to 3 miles in the eastern part. Lines were flown at approximately 500 feet above the surface or at elevations of 1,100 to 2,400 feet above sea level. The flight path of the aircraft was recorded by a gyrostabilized continuous-strip camera, and elevation was continuously recorded by a radio altimeter. Magnetic measurements were made by an AN/ASQ-3A fluxgate magnetometer. Compilation of aeromagnetic data was by standard methods, described by Balsley ( 1952 ), under the supervision of John Kirby and Frank Petrafeso. The aeromagnetic contours are relative to an arbitrary datum.

Magnetic properties of rocks were measured by W. E. Huff.

At the time the earlier aeromagnetic survey was flown, the only base maps available were planimetric maps such as the Helena NW quadrangle and county road maps. Small errors, therefore, may exist in the location of flight lines and specific aeromagnetic a nomalies.

The major magnetic anomalies and broad areas that have characteristic magnetic patterns are correlated herein with geology as determined from published reports and from mapping done since 1957 by the U. S. Geological Survey in the eastern part of the Marquette iron range. The geology north of the Marquette iron range and west of the line between R. 25 W. and R. 26 W. is based mainly on a compilation made by Robert Reed of the Geological Survey Division of the Michigan Department of Conservation from data in the files of the State Survey. In addition some aeromagnetic features have been checked by ground magnetometer in selected localities and correlated directly with the rock types. A few oriented samples have been collected for measurement of the magnetic properties of the major rock units, but many hundreds or thousands of samples would be required to obtain a full range of values of the magnetic susceptibility and remanent magnetization of the rocks over such a large area.

Although the geology of much of the area is still imperfectly known, the available aeromagnetic data together with the best obtainable geologic data are presented at this time, rather than awaiting the eventual extension or completion of the present mapping program, because the combined data provide much information on the extent and location of magnetic iron-formation and other major rock units where concealed beneath glacial, vegetative, and alluvial cover.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Aeromagnetic map of parts of Marquette, Dickinson, Baraga, Alger, and Schoolcraft Counties, Michigan, and its geologic interpretation
Series title:
Geophysical Investigation Map
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s):
Michigan Water Science Center
Document: 10 p.; 3 Plates: 48.50 x 43.26 inches or smaller
United States