NOVA Mineral Club: Kaas on Silver Mine

Meeting: January 23 Time: 7:30‐10 p.m.

Long Branch Nature Center, 625 S. Carlin Springs Rd. Arlington, VA 22204

Program: Silver Hill, Presented by
Michael Kaas, Geologist U.S Bureau of

Micheal Kaas will start our year off with a
presentation on Silver Hill. Michael was a geologist
with the U.S. Bureau of Mines for many years, then
joined the U.S. Geological Survey as part of the
Mineral Economics group. He now volunteers at the
Smithsonian as “Miner Mike” to teach visitors about
the uses of minerals. He reprised this role at our
last club show. He also has an active interest in
mining history.

Michael is retired now but also had an
involvement in mineral land assessments during
part of his 20 years with the US Bureau of Mines
(until the lights were turned out).

Biography of Michael Kaas:
Michael Kaas’s interest in mining history started
when he was a kid in NJ. They have a lot of mining
history there, but no operating mines these days!
The Sterling Hill Mining Museum is the old NJ Zinc
Company operation in Ogdensburg (just south of
the more famous Franklin mining area). He worked
as a mining engineer at Sterling Hill briefly, before
heading to grad school. A real hidden treasure, only
about 5 miles away, is the remains of Thomas
Edison’s magnetite mining operations where he
nearly lost his fortune trying to perfect magnetic
separation. The extensive foundations in the woods
attest to the huge scale of the effort, decades
before Minnesota taconite mining really took off. It
also worth visiting before the urban sprawl takes
over the place.

You probably know about the Mining History
Association. It has a website, (Michael is the
so‐called webmeister). It is currently being
revamped to add more content about old mining
areas, especially those at which the group has held
past meetings. They are always looking for new
members. It was started by several western history
profs but now includes lots of miners, geologists,
amateur history buffs, etc. Take a look at the
website and see what you think. Next MHA
meeting is in June 2012 in Prescott, AZ.


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