Soapstone workshop
Soapstone workshop in the fjord near Nuuk: the workshop was held at a locality with high quality soapstone and evidence for modern and historical soapstone quarrying.

Soapstone in Nuuk for Nuuk

GEUS Nuuk and Greenland Perspective cooperate to re-enhance the interest in soapstone in the Nuuk area (southern West-Greenland). Soapstone has been quarried during the entire history of Greenland (Saqqaq, Dorset, Norse, and Morovian cultures) for its use in lamps, pots, and other water-tight containers. Today, soapstone is still used for art objects and carving stone for the tourist industry. However, most soapstone is imported, rather than being mined locally. This project aims to inform the citizens of Nuuk and other towns and villages in Greenland about the potential for small-scale mining of soapstone.

GEUS Nuuk performed boat-based fieldwork in the Nuuk area, where several soapstone localities were visited. The aim of the fieldwork was to investigate and document the quality of known soapstone localities, to take samples of the soapstone and to find a suitable location for a citizen-science event on soapstone. During the fieldwork, several localities with evidence for historical mining were visited.

By establishing a geochemical fingerprint of the soapstone from the Nuuk area, we aim to be able to recognise which soapstone artefacts were traded far away from Nuuk in the past.

Some other soapstone localities are ideal for small-scale mining. So far two public outreach events have been held to make the larger public aware of the potential of soapstone.

Nynke Keulen
Senior Researcher
Mapping and Mineral Resources
Majken Djurhuus Poulsen
Mapping and Mineral Resources