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The old copper mine entrances dotting the hills of Michigan’s remote Keweenaw peninsula suggest a geological precariousness. It’s the balancing act of all that ancient basalt. You sense the testing of angles and weight. The pushing of limits. You see the hubris in the dynamited tunnels braced with wooden support beams that seem impossibly feeble. The word “splintered” comes to mind if ever the ceilings were to fail.

At the cold mouth of this particular entrance, gouged into a hill in Greenland, Michigan at the southern cusp of the Keweenaw, there is a robust, grille-like cage cemented into the opening’s circumference, slatted for the bats to go echolocate their dinners, yet stout enough to dissuade the local “copper rats” – the name given to human scavengers searching for mineral scraps to sell for quick cash. The gate is impressive, seemingly impenetrable. But Dave Sarazin, my guide, has the key.

Read more at The Guardian here