A Guide to Finding Michigan's Yooperlites

Becca Ballard

Michigan has some pretty amazing things that just can't be experienced anywhere else.

Yooperlites, are one of those rare and exotic Michigan finds. Whether you are a rock hunter or not, Yooperlites are the glow in the dark stone that you'll want to get your hands on. They can be more difficult than others to find, but only because a black light is needed to see these cool stones. No other county, state or country offers florescent, glow in the dark, natural rocks to search for.

These rocks are sometimes called Keweenaw Emberlites, glow rocks, Embers or Sodalites. But, no matter what name you want to call them, they are absolutely incredible! Michigan's shorelines are a piece of paradise as it is lined with Petoskey stones, Pudding stones, Lake Superior agates and well, Yooperlites. Now you can add syenite rock rich with fluorescent sodalite, also known as Yooperlites, to your summer bucket list.

What are Yooperlites

Yooperlites are what seem like a normal gray rock, but these specific ones are are full of fluorescent sodalite and glow a vibrant orange and yellow under a UV light. A UV light is the only way to see these rocks which is why they seem to be so rare. After the discovery in 2017, it was quickly found that these rocks aren't new to Michigan, rather it’s the first time sodalite rocks were confirmed in Michigan.

Where To Find Yooperlites

Yooperlites are most prominent in the Upper Peninsula along Lake Superior. The beaches near the Grand Marais area, as well as in the Keweenaw Peninsula, are very popular destinations for those searching for Yooperlites. Although they really can be found on many of Lake Michigan's beaches.

How To Search For Yooperlites

Once you've made it to the beach, and it is quite dark out, it is time to search. Note, that from twilight through the night is the best time to locate these rocks. As you start walking along the beach, hold the black light up in a position where you're not shining it directly down on the beach. Walk very slowly along the beach and when you see the bright orange flash, you know you've found one. Once you find one, you might just locate another one nearby so gaze around the area where you found the first.

Also, it has been said that retracing your steps on the beach is a great way to find these rocks as by retracing your steps, you're looking at all the rocks you passed at a new angle.

Things To Bring

UV Light: A filtered 365nm UV light is said to be best.

Headlamp/flashlight: It's very dark out in Northern Michigan, so make sure to have a flashlight other than just your phone.

Bag: Bring some type of bag to keep your Yooperlite findings in.

Warm clothes: As the night goes on, it gets very cold by the water so wear layers and dress warm to make your Yooperlite experience more enjoyable.

Glow sticks: This item that you may have only used as a kid, does have its advantages as an adult as well. Grab a few glow sticks before your adventure to help you identify where you entered the beach and make sure you get back to your vehicle safely.

Tips and Tricks

  • A great time to find rocks is in the spring when the ice has shifted and moved the rocks along the shore
  • Search for Yooperlites after a storm when the waves have disrupted and uncovered new rocks

Photo By: yooperlites.com

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Welcome to a glimpse into the latest local stories, travel, restaurants and more! Most topics you'll find around here are local to Michigan, but I might just surprise you! Grab a coffee and stay for awhile. I hope to leave you restless with the urge to explore somewhere new whether that be a new city or restaurant.

Birmingham, MI

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