Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School



Mesabi Iron Range mining landscapes developed through a series of historical stages. Advances in technology, such as the introduction of the steam shovel, the advent of ore concentration technology, the depletion of ore, and other events, signaled the beginning or end of each stage. Each of these stages had an impact on the cultural landscape. The four stages that occurred on the Mesabi include: exploration, initiation, diversification, and intensification. Today the landscape consists of a patchwork of "relics" from these past stages. Within the study area, Biwabik Township, these "relics" indicate that the first two stages of mining, the exploration and the initiation stages, played a major role in the creation of the current landscape. The period that lasted the longest on the Mesabi Iron Range, the diversification stage, is evident in Biwabik Township by the large size of the open pits visible today. The last stage, intensification, continues through to the present time on the Mesabi through the mining of taconite. While taconite has never been mined from the study area, the presence of nearby taconite mines has allowed the communities within the study area to survive as bedroom communities for taconite miners.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Iron ranges -- Minnesota -- Biwabik Region Biwabik (Minn.) -- Historical geography Mesabi Range (Minn.) -- Historical geography



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University