1st Student's Major

Chemistry and Geology

1st Student's College

Science, Engineering and Technology

Students' Professional Biography

Elizabeth Drommerhausen was born and raised in New Prague, MN. After graduating from New Prague High School in 2003, she started attending Minnesota State University, Mankato. Elizabeth is pursuing a double major in Chemistry and Earth Science Secondary Education with a minor in Geology. She will be graduating in the spring of 2008. After graduation, Elizabeth plans to be employed at a secondary school teaching science.

Mentor's Name

Steven Losh

Mentor's Email Address


Mentor's Department

Chemistry and Geology

Mentor's College

Science, Engineering and Technology


The Mesabi Iron Range in Northern Minnesota has been a major producer of iron ore for over 100 years. Production has been from the 1.85 – billion-year –old Biwabik Iron Formation, an iron-rich sedimentary rock that is tilted gently to the south. Most of the known high-grade ore lies near the surface and has been already mined. Determining whether more high-grade ore may lie at depth could have significant economic impact on the mining industry in northern Minnesota. To evaluate the likelihood of finding more high-grade iron ore deeper underground, it is important to determine the source of the fluids that are responsible for that ore. I have been testing Morey’s hypothesis (Econ. Geol. v.94 pp.133-142) that a plate collision event 1.8 billion years ago drove deep fluids upward along faults within the iron formation, and that these fluids dissolved some minerals from the iron formation and increased the grade of the remaining iron ore. In this case, high-grade ore could exist deeper within the iron formation, which is tilted gently beneath the surface. Samples collected in the iron range have been analyzed using various geologic methods. Growth banding, using cathodoluminescence, and the salinity of the fluid from fluid inclusions in minerals associated with high-grade iron ore were used to evaluate the source of the fluid associated with high-grade ore. From this information, we have assessed the likelihood of deeper high grade ore beneath the surface.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



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