Friday, September 9, 2011

Iron Knob... I always wanted to say that !

Around here we have lots of Iron Ore. (How Much? I hear you asking)
Well, mountains of it…literally! Thousands of train loads of Iron Ore have already been blasted, railed, melted and smeltered into Steel, with the majority still in the ground. We have roads and paths covered with the stuff. It is so abundant here that it actually is used as a road and track covering with great outcrops of the ore jutting out here and there around this part of the state testifying to the abundance. Compass’s don’t work properly here because of the highly magnetic ores and the very first white people to explore the area noticed that immediately. Of course only the high grade ores are used for steel making, the rest is simply piled up next to the mines or used to cover paths or driveways.
There has always been this story told here that I’ve always wondered about… That our Iron Ore was so concentrated that you could actually weld it..
Wouldn’t that be so cool! To weld a rock?
Recently I had the opportunity to scavenge some high grade ore from the nearby nearly ghost town of Iron Knob…I actually had to bend down and pick it up from the iron ore path I was walking on. (So don’t say I wouldn’t go to great lengths for a good story)
A few days later I was welding and remembered the ore, I set it in a vice, connected the high amperage earth lead to the rock and turned the welder up to where I thought it should be. (Strangely there are no settings in the handbook for the welding of high grade ores)
I put my welders mask on and prepared for the enlightenment, I gently pulled the trigger and watched as the wire wound forward until it touched the rock… nothing!

So after a life time of believing this simple truth it turns out to be complete bullshit, a fable that could have been easily disproved, but I guess no one ever tried.
Strange is it not, that we often consider things to be gospel truth simply because no one ever double checks to make sure?



Mags118 said...

Hi Tempo,
I didn't realize that about the compass, it makes sense when you think about it, but I never really gave it any thought.

It's a bit of a let down when you find out "old wives tales" are not what you thought, but now you know, and you don't have to wonder about it any more. :)

Pearl said...

Northern Minnesota had a huge industry in iron ore...

I didn't know about the compass thing either, but after thinking about it it's like, yeah, that makes sense...


Windsmoke. said...

There's a town in Russia, which i have no hope in spelling has the same problem with compasses. Old wives tales are just that old wives tales until proven differently. Iron Knob does have a certain ring to it, reminds of a certain body organ if you know what i mean :-).

Tempo said...

Hi Mags, Every compass reads a few degrees out here but that changes from place to place. If it were all the same you could make allowances for it but depending how far underground the Iron is the compass reads differently.
@Pearl, The Iron industry is a big part of this area though only small by world standards, there's a lot of Iron but the cost of shipping it to the rest of the world makes it more expensive than other Iron deposits in upper Western Australia. On the upside it looks like we'll have lots left for our paths for a while yet..
@Windsmoke, We've been making jokes about the name of Iron Knob since...forever actually. Apparently there was once a great knob of Iron stone atop the mount, it's long gone but the grainy B&W pics survive.