It was a foggy morning in south Greenland as I stood on deck and peered at the mountains poking through the clouds. Our Adventure Canada expedition ship docked offshore, and we disembarked on Zodiac boats to what looked like a ghost town.
Scattered on the rocky shore were little white chunks of cryolite, a mineral once used in the production of aluminum. As the mist swept through the empty houses dotting the shorelines, we walked up to the mine—a pit spanning 755 feet long and 656 feet wide—and looked over at a glassy, water-filled bottom. Meandering through the abandoned mining town, relics of the past—old engines and bottles—mixed with fresh tire tracks and cigarette butts left by musk ox hunters passing through the area.