A team of scientists and historians are researching and mapping the rediscovered Freedom iron mine in Wisconsin, which has been flooded for 100 years.
Researchers from Marine Imaging Technologies and historians are working to investigate and create a virtual 3D model of the Freedom iron mine. As the site was abandoned by miners in 1911, it was soon forgotten by everyone after that.
Today, a team of researchers and specialists in trying to rediscover the mine’s secrets and create a virtual 3D model of it. Interestingly, the location of the Freedom Mine remained a mystery until 2017. That’s when archaeologist Tamara Thomsen used historical photographs of the area and pinpointed where the mine was located.
The site Thomsen chose was in Sauk County, where four iron mines operated in the early 20th century. Using landmarks, the archaeologist found a plot of land that had been bought by an elderly couple five years earlier. Now all she had to do was talk to the new owners and find out if they had by any chance spotted a closed iron mine on their land.
If you want to know something, sometimes the simplest way is just to ask. This is what Tamara Thomsen did when she visited the new owners of the land where she thought the mine had been located.
We came to them while they were mowing the lawn. I stopped and asked: “Isn’t there a mine on your plot by any chance?”, and in reply I heard: “I don’t know, but we have such an interesting pond”. – Thomsen recalls.
For an experienced cave diver and mine diving enthusiast, such an answer is like an invitation. After all, the best is always hidden on the other side of the water surface. It was exactly the same in this case. The Freedom Iron Mine was completely flooded, but as it soon turned out, also preserved in fantastic condition.
Representatives from the Wisconsin Historical Society and Sauk County Historical Society and specialists from Marine Imaging Technologies investigated the rediscovered Freedom Mine.
The site is pristine and absolutely beautiful. I have never had the opportunity to dive in anything like it. Ultimately, we want to create a 3D model of the entire site. At the end it will be possible to transfer it to VR space – said Evan Kovacs, diver and owner of Marine Imaging Technologies.
The researchers now have many hours of hard work ahead of them. Creating an accurate 3D model requires many hours of diving and collecting photographic and video documentation. Thanks to such materials it is possible to get to know the mine and transfer it to the digital world, but also to learn about its history. According to the researchers, a faulty pump was the cause of the flooding and abandonment of the mine in 1911.
We believe that water in this area has always been a major problem. Without functioning pumps, it would fill the mine tunnels very quickly. On one of the pumps is a toolbox, and next to it some parts, springs, drills and other items. We put it all together, just like in the game “Clue” – Thomsen said.
In trying to put all the pieces of this puzzle together, the researchers concluded that one of the pumps must have broken down. This led to a rapid rise in the water level and flooding of the Freedom Mine tunnels. Unfortunately, mining never resumed and the iron mine itself was quickly forgotten for 100 years.
Photo: Marine Imaging Technologies
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