Underground mine mapping

Publications and Data

Underground Mine Mapping

The Underground Mine Mapping Project is a Geographic Information System of the documented underground mine features on the Mesabi Iron Range. Documenting these areas of known underground mining and making that information available to those involved in community and business development was the objective of our project. The surface subsidence effect of underground mine caving incidents typically results in sinkhole depressions, pools, ponds or small lakes. If surface development has occurred over areas of underground mine workings the surface subsidence can cause structural damage. This web site provides easy access to this information, but is not intended for any type of detailed analysis or planning in the areas with known underground mines. Anyone with a need for detailed underground mine information, should contact the DNR Division of Lands and Minerals Office, 1525 3rd Ave East, Hibbing, MN 55746, 218-231-8484.

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On this web site, you'll find interactive mapping capabilities to compare the underground mines with base maps such as aerial photography, USGS quadrangles and roads, and navigational tools like pan and zoom. Detailed mine information can be queried, and the scans of the historical mine maps can be viewed. There are also 3D animations available for many of the mines.

Recent Subsidence

Surface subsidence over underground mine workings happens when surface material is displaced due to underground voids left from mining. Here are some more recent examples of underground mine related surface subsidence.

View recent subsidence events.

Interactive Map of the Underground Mines

An interactive mapping application allowing the user to view data related to and about the underground mines is available. It allows the user to view the underground mines in relation to base maps, view 3D animations and the scans of the original mine maps, as well as querying detailed information about each of the mines.

View the interactive map.

Maps of the Underground Mines

Well over 2000 historic mine maps were scanned, geo-referenced and converted to Adobe PDF format as a part of the mapping project. These maps were collected from archives, mining companies, fee representatives, government agencies and the public. Since underground mines cannot be seen, utilizing the historic maps is the only practical way of mapping them.

View the map collection.

Animated 3D Models of the Underground Mines

Still Image From Animated 3D Model

Still Image From Animated 3D Model

When the historic mine maps contained enough detailed elevation information about the underground mine features, a 3 dimensional model of the mine was created using ESRI ArcGIS 3D Analyst. Animations were created by using navigation tools to view all angles of the 3D model and then recording this analysis into a video file.

View the 3D Models.


The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources makes no representation or warranties, express or implied, with respect to the reuse of data provided herewith, regardless of its format or the means of its transmission. There is no guarantee or representation to the user as to the accuracy, currency, suitability, or reliability of this data for any purpose. The user accepts the data 'as is', and assumes all risks associated with its use. By accepting this data, the user agrees not to transmit this data or provide access to it or any part of it to another party unless the user shall include with the data a copy of this disclaimer. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources assumes no responsibility for actual or consequential damage incurred as a result of any user's reliance on this data.