Ytterby Quarry

This summer I took yet another trip to sunny Sweden. Having already been to Stockholm many times before, on this occasion we rented a house on the small island of Resaro, near Vaxholm (just in time to see England beat Sweden in the sportsball world cup).

Vaxholm, Slacks Off

We didn’t have have any fixed plans, just to chill out, go swimming and see the archipelago sights. However, there’s not much to see on this sleepy holm. Apart from only the single greatest site of elementary discovery on the planet!

Ytterby map

Eight elements have been isolated from ores mined at the Ytterby quarry and mine (gruva) on the island. These are the inventively named:

  • Yttrium - Y
  • Erbium - Er
  • Terbium - Tb
  • Ytterbium - Yb
  • Holmium - Ho
  • Thulium - Tm
  • Gadolinium - Gd

They may be some of the more obscure elements, however they do have many interesting uses. For example, Yttrium is a crucial component of YBCO “high-temperature” superconductors and Terbium was used in the first CDRWs.

It’s a fairly small rocky and hilly site but there are a few info boards and plaques to read. The steep slope has been kitted out with sturdy steps and the view from the top is pretty good.

Ytterby steps

Ytterby quarry

Ytterby vent

The mine entrance has been filled in but there appears to be some sort of vent.

I wouldn’t make a dedicated trip out here but if you’re in the area then it’s definitely worth a visit. The history of the site is very interesting.

We also visited Uppsala, the home of Celsius and Saturn in the Sweden solar system model. This is a lovely quiet university town north of Stockholm and I’d certainly return, although we were there in the summer holidays with great weather.