Mike Lucente

MikeLucenteHowI was born and raised on the “Iron Range” in northern Minnesota. The richest iron ore deposits in the world were discovered in the 1890’s. A trapper noticed a red rusty stain on the hull of his boat. This site became the largest open pit iron mine in the world. It is called the “Hull Rust Pit”, no kidding. It is 1000’ deep and runs for miles. I grew up one (1) mile from an abandoned spur of the pit.

Along the steep walls of the pit were deep tunnels radiating outward. I ventured into this pit as often as I could. It was great fun. U. S. Steel owned the pit and we constantly had to avoid “mining cops” as we called them.

I was mesmerized by all the multi-colored layers and shiny and unusual rocks. Overlying the iron formation was 20’ to 100’ of glacial till. It was a cornucopia of anything you could imagine, multicolored boulders, clean sands, dirty sands, and red or green clays.

By the age of 17, I stopped going to the pits. I had weekend jobs and met a great gal who was to become my wife. I looked forward to college, where I certainly would become a ……lawyer. I was good at debating and arguing. What else would I become?

I attended St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minnesota and took Geology 101 as my science prerequisite. I became hooked. I couldn’t believe that I could get paid for what I had always loved as a child. I declared my major as geology and never looked back. I still have that wide-eyed wonderment of rocks and things. I am home!