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Man credited with discovering glowing "Yooperlite" rocks in Michigan

Man credited with discovering glowing "Yooperlite" rocks in Michigan

CHIPPEWA COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- A man in the U.P. is being credited with discovering a new kind of rock in Michigan and they're making a splash.

Erik Rintamaki has been a self proclaimed "rock hound" his whole life.

Last year, he decided to hit the beach at night with a UV light and came home with what he calls "Yooperlites," rocks that have an orange glow under certain UV lights.

“I actually sold a few to at Michigan Tech University, and they sent them out for testing and they contacted me through emails and told me I probably had something new that had never been found in Michigan before, and I ended up being published in the Mineral News in 2018 for that discovery," Rintamaki said.

Yooperlite is the name Erik came up with, but geologists said they are Syenite rocks that are rich in fluorescent Sodalite.

“So what that is, is just a beach granite or basalt that has a fluorescent mineral in it called Sodalite that they believe was brought down from Canada by glaciers," Rintamaki said.

Erik isn't the first person to ever discover the glowing rocks, but was the first to bring them to geologists who verified for the first time there is Sodalite in Michigan.

He has now collected dozens of Yooperlites, and he sells them for $32 a pound.

“My business has blown up," Rintamaki said.

The glowing rocks can be found mostly on Lake Superior between Whitefish Point an Grand Marais, and on the Keweenaw Peninsula.

Erik has also started taking people on tours in those area, where guests get a UV light and get to keep all the Yooperlites they find.

He says just this week, he's sold the rocks to people all over the world, in places like Belguim, the U.K. and Singapore.

If you're interested in buying a Yooperlite, or going on one of Erik's tours you can visit the Yooperlites Facebook page.

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