Ivittuut

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Ivittuut
The cryolite mine in Ivittuut in 1940
The cryolite mine in Ivittuut in 1940
Ivittuut is located in Greenland
Ivittuut
Ivittuut
Location within Greenland
Coordinates: 61°12′30″N 48°10′10″W / 61.20833°N 48.16944°W / 61.20833; -48.16944Coordinates: 61°12′30″N 48°10′10″W / 61.20833°N 48.16944°W / 61.20833; -48.16944
State  Kingdom of Denmark
Constituent country  Greenland
Municipality Sermersooq-coat-of-arms.png Sermersooq
Abandoned 1980s
Time zone UTC-03

Ivittuut, formerly Ivigtût (Kalaallisut: "Grassy Place",[1]) is an abandoned mining town near Cape Desolation in southwestern Greenland. Its site is located in the modern Sermersooq municipality on the ruins of the former Norse Middle Settlement.

Ivittuut is one of the only locations in the world so far discovered to have naturally occurring cryolite (Na3AlF6, sodium aluminum fluoride), an important agent in modern aluminum extraction.

For the former U.S. Army post and Naval base at Ivigtut, see Bluie West Seven. For the former Royal Danish Navy base, see Gronnedal.

History[edit]

Map of the "Middle Settlement" of the Norse in medieval Greenland. Red dots indicate known Norse farm ruins.

The area was settled by about twenty farms of vikings, a district called the "Middle Settlement" by modern archaeologists from its placement between the larger Western and Eastern settlements. It is the smallest and least well known of the three, and no written records of its residents survive, for which reasons it is believed to have been established last (and abandoned first) of the three.[citation needed]

The town's cryolite deposit was discovered in 1799[2] and the veins of silver-bearing lead surrounding it were mined by the British engineer J.W. Tayler before the silver content was found to be too low to make the operation practical.[3] Danish engineers began mining the cryolite itself in 1859 and in 1864 the Danish Kriolit Mine og Handels Selskabet was granted a monopoly on its extraction.[3] These early mines simply processed the cryolite for its direct aluminum content and for sale to the Pennsylvania Salt Manufacturing Company, which used it to create caustic soda.

The 1884 establishment of the Hall-Heroult Process, which depends on the rare cryolite but dramatically improved the extraction of aluminum from bauxite ore, increased the deposit's importance. The Ivittuut mining operations were a major factor in the American occupation of Greenland during World War II. After World War II, the cryolite was mined by the Danish firm Kryolitselskabet Øresund, which helped fund the establishment of Grønlandsfly, today's Air Greenland.

Cryolite was eventually synthesized, reducing the importance of the mine, and production was finally found uneconomical and discontinued in 1987.[4] The community was abandoned soon after.

Climate[edit]

Climate data for Ivittuut
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 13.3
(55.9)
14.4
(57.9)
15.6
(60.1)
16.1
(61)
23.3
(73.9)
30.1
(86.2)
23.3
(73.9)
21.7
(71.1)
21.1
(70)
19.4
(66.9)
17.8
(64)
15.6
(60.1)
30.1
(86.2)
Average high °C (°F) −4.4
(24.1)
−3.3
(26.1)
−0.6
(30.9)
3.3
(37.9)
8.3
(46.9)
12.2
(54)
13.9
(57)
12.8
(55)
8.3
(46.9)
4.4
(39.9)
0.0
(32)
−2.8
(27)
4.3
(39.7)
Average low °C (°F) −11.1
(12)
−11.1
(12)
−8.9
(16)
−4.4
(24.1)
0.6
(33.1)
3.9
(39)
5.6
(42.1)
5.0
(41)
2.2
(36)
−1.7
(28.9)
−5.6
(21.9)
−8.9
(16)
−2.9
(26.8)
Record low °C (°F) −27.8
(−18)
−28.9
(−20)
−27.2
(−17)
−20.6
(−5.1)
−10.6
(12.9)
−2.2
(28)
0.6
(33.1)
−1.7
(28.9)
−5.6
(21.9)
−12.8
(9)
−17.8
(0)
−26.7
(−16.1)
−28.9
(−20)
Precipitation mm (inches) 83.8
(3.299)
66.0
(2.598)
86.4
(3.402)
63.5
(2.5)
88.9
(3.5)
81.3
(3.201)
78.7
(3.098)
94.0
(3.701)
149.9
(5.902)
144.8
(5.701)
116.8
(4.598)
78.7
(3.098)
1,132.8
(44.598)
Source: Sistema de Clasificación Bioclimática Mundial[5]

Trivia[edit]

Ivittuut holds the record for Greenland's highest recorded temperature of 30.1 °C (86.2 °F).[6] The lowest recorded temperature was −28.9 °C (−20.0 °F).

Ivittuut and Kangilinnguit are connected by a road (which is roughly 5 km long), the only two towns in Greenland to do so.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sermersooq Municipality[dead link]
  2. ^ Mindat – the Mineral and Locality Database. "Cryolite". Accessed 5 May 2012.
  3. ^ a b Doody, Richard. The World at War. "GREENLAND 1721 - 1953". Accessed 28 Apr 2012.[dead link]
  4. ^ arsukfjorden.gl. (Danish)
  5. ^ "GREENLAND -DNK- - IVIGTUT". Centro de Investigaciones Fitosociológicas. 
  6. ^ meteorologyclimate.com