Silver Bay Breakwater to Pellet Island
September 22, 2017
The small town of Silver Bay, Minnesota, has an iron mill that converts low-grade iron ore, called taconite, into higher-grade pellets. The mill is about 1/2 mile (1 km) to the left of the breakwater shown above. To shelter the entrance to a marina behind the mill, the milling company (Cleveland Cliffs Inc.) built the huge breakwater. Only brave souls with ankles of steel can walk across it to Pellet Island in the distance, which is storm battered and uninhabited, except by gulls and cormorants. The rocks composing the breakwater are primarily basalt, gabbro and other igneous rocks of the North Shore group. Some of the oldest rocks on the planet are part of this group. Note that the drill hole in the rock at lower left was probably used to blast this chunk out of a nearby natural rock wall.