The Mysterious Glowing Rocks in Lake Superior – What is a Yooperlite?

The Mysterious Glowing Rocks in Lake Superior – What is a Yooperlite?

Yooperlites, or glowdalites, are luminescent rocks found in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. They are a type of syenite stone with high levels of sodalite, a mineral that glows under ultraviolet light. Yooperlites come in a variety of colors, such as orange, yellow, green, and blue.

Yooperlites were discovered for the first time in 2017 by Erik Rintamaki, a gem hunter from Michigan. Rintaki was searching for rocks on the shore of Lake Superior at night with a UV flashlight when he noticed some rocks glowing brightly in a variety of colors.

He had never seen anything like them before, so he sent samples of his findings to Michigan Technological University and the University of Saskatchewan for analysis. They confirmed that the rocks are syenite with sodalite inclusions and were formed approximately 1.1 billion years ago during a period of volcanic activity.

Rintaki chose the name Yooperlites, which is a slang term for people from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (U.P.), also known as Yoopers. He even trademarked the name and began selling the stone both online and at shows. He also conducts tours and workshops to teach people how to locate and identify Yooperlites. His discovery sparked a lot of interest and excitement among rock music fans and media.

But why are these rocks glowing? As previously stated, this is due to the high concentrations of sodalite, a blue silicate mineral commonly found in igneous rocks formed by molten magma, such as syenite and granite. Yooperlites appear ordinary in daylight, but when exposed to ultraviolet light, they reveal their hidden beauty.

Yooperlites are primarily found on the shores of Lake Superior in Michigan, particularly in the Grand Marais, Paradise, Whitefish Point, and Brimley areas. They are also found inland in areas where glacial deposits have carried them away.

According to Earthlymission, they can also be found in the majority of the United States’ Great Lakes, as well as scattered throughout the world. However, they are difficult to find because they blend in with other rocks and gravel.

The best way to find Yooperlites is to use a UV flashlight with a wavelength of 365 nanometers (nm), which is the optimal frequency for producing sodalite fluorescence. You should also search at night or in low-light conditions, as daylight will dim their glow. UV rays can harm your eyes and skin, so you should wear protective glasses and gloves when working with them.

When you see a glowing rock, you can pick it up and examine it closer. You can also use a loupe to see the details of sodalite crystals. Yooperlites display a wide range of colors and patterns when exposed to UV light, which may surprise you.

Be cautious, however, because collecting rocks in national parks or lakeshores is illegal. Yooperlites cannot be collected and kept on private land without the permission of the landowner. The same is true for historical sites like parks or designated conservation areas.

Although they can be found all over Michigan, yooperlites are most common around Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula. When looking for Yooperlites, people frequently visit the beaches in the Keweenaw Peninsula and the vicinity of Grand Marais.

The most essential thing is a UV light! A 365nm UV light with filtration will bring out the best in the Yooperlites® and highlight their glowing color.

Flashlight or headlamp: It gets dark outside! Make sure you have an extra light with you so you can safely return to your car.

Bag: Something to store your Yooperlites® in is necessary! When you’re near the water and in the sand, a mesh bag comes in handy.

Rock scooper: Not required, but useful in certain situations, particularly when the desired rock is in the lake!

Shoes that are appropriate: Since you’ll probably be near the water, make sure your selections are waterproof and still provide good traction.

Snacks and water: You never know what might happen. Be ready at all times, especially if you’re going outside!

Wear warm clothing: The water gets chilly at night. To enhance your Yooperlite experience, dress in layers and stay warm.

Glow sticks: It’s simple to become lost, particularly at night. Glow sticks can assist you in locating the point at which you entered the beach and ensure a secure return to your car. To prevent them from washing out into the lake, make sure you place them away from the water.

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