Steam Shovel at Work, Showing How Track is Laid, Burt Mine, Mesabi Range, Minn.
STEAM SHOVEL AT WORK, MESABI RANGE, MINNESOTA: In many was the Mesabi Range is the most wonderful of any mountains in the world. The range is low, most of the mountains being mere hills. But a large part of these hills is made up of free iron ore. The ore, as you see, is scooped up in some places by steam shovels just as gravel is removed from pits.
In most places it is necessary to remove an overlay of several feet of clay. You can see this clay banked in the extreme background. Once the layers of ore are reached, they are removed on different levels. The steam shovel working in the foreground is cutting a trench several yards wide. The ore that it removes is dumped into ore cars that stand on tracks near by. Directly behind the steam shovel another track is being laid. As soon as the ore has been shoveled the full length of the track that is now being made, the ore cars will run on the track in the foreground.
The present Mesabi Range is the foot of an old mountain ridge worn down by glaciers. It is by far the most important iron-ore producing section in the whole world. Annually it produces almost 30,000,000 tons of ore, one-third of the supply of the world. This range, taken with Vermilion and the Cuyuna ranges, all in northern Minnesota, make the United States the leading nation of the world in the iron and steel industry. In recent years, iron smelters have sprung up in this section of Minnesota. The coal and coke needed for fuel are brought by the ore ships on their return trip from the east. But, generally speaking, it is far more profitable to take the iron ore to the coal district than to bring the coal to the iron district.
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