Reading the Wikipedia entry for the Australian town of Broken Hill, I came across the following piece of trivia (emphasis mine):

The "broken hill" that gave its name to Broken Hill actually comprised a number of hills that appeared to have a break in them. The broken hill no longer exists, having been mined away.

Surely there must be many other examples of this happening over the course of human history? I haven't been able to find any.

Is there a term for mountains or hills that have been wiped out of existence due to mining or some other human activity? Or perhaps a list of such instances?


3 Answers 3


Of course it happens elsewhere! However, I'm not sure there's a specific term, generally. Even in the "montaintop removal" country of Appalachia, there is no more prosaic term for the practice other than MTR. Too bad! It surely deserves a better term!

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And...despite the complete excising of an entire mountain within the Oquirh mountains, even the Salt Lake City population has no term for Complete Mountain Removal!

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It happened and it is still happening:

In the USA, there's the Bingham Canyon copper mine in Utah.

In Australia, there's the Mount Whaleback and Mount Tom Price iron ore mines in Western Australia and former mines like Iron Knob and Iron Monarch in the Middleback Ranges of South Australia, near Whyalla.

In West Papuan province of Indonesia there's the Grasberg gold and copper mine.

The Ok Tedi copper and gold mine in Papua New Guinea is well into the process of mining the mountain.


Not only have we mined mountains out of existence (and are still doing so), we have also done the same with at least one mineral. Cryolite was once present as a large deposit in Greenland, where it was mined as an aluminum ore and later for a flux in the electrowinning of aluminum from refined oxide ores. In 1987 this source became too depleted for commercial mining to continue, and while the mineral still technically exists in Greenland and elsewhere it is now considered rare and not commercially mineable. As if in a real-life version of the 2012 sequel of The Lorax, cryolite used today is now made artificially using fluorite as the fluoride sourflce.


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