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Back country touring by jeep, dirt bike, or ATV is a wonderful way to experience the San Juan Mountains. The extensive network of old mining roads make Ouray the 4-wheeling capital of the US. Trails like this on on Corkscrew pass through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, with abundant wildflowers, ghost towns, abandoned mines, and wildlife all along the way.

Centralia, Pa. At its peak, this Pennsylvania coal-mining town was home to almost 3,000 people. Today, it has a population of 10. What happened? In 1962, workers set trash on fire in an abandoned mine, but an exposed vein of anthracite coal also caught fire. The fire spread throughout mines beneath the town, and for the next 20 years, numerous attempts were made to extinguish it. Then in 1981, the ground crumbled beneath 12-year-old resident Todd Domboski, and Pennsylvania basically condemne...

These days the only things that land on Hashima Island are the shits of passing seagulls. An hour or so’s sail from the port of Nagasaki, the abandoned island silently crumbles. A former coal mining facility owned by Mitsubishi Motors, it was once the most densely populated place on earth, packing over 13,000 people into each square kilometre of its residential high-risers. It operated from 1887 until 1974, after which the coal industry fell into decline and the mines were shut for good.

"These days the only things that land on Hashima Island are the shits of passing seagulls. An hour or so’s sail from the port of Nagasaki, the abandoned island silently crumbles. A former coal mining facility owned by Mitsubishi Motors, it was once the most densely populated place on earth, packing over 13,000 people into each square kilometre of its residential high-risers. It operated from 1887 until 1974, after which the coal industry fell into decline and the mines were shut for good."

The abandoned mine here, about 60 miles east of the Grand Canyon, joins the list of hundreds of such sites identified across the 27,000 square miles of Navajo territory in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico that are the legacy of shoddy mining practices and federal neglect. From the 1940s through the 1980s, the mines supplied critical materials to the nation’s nuclear weapons program. For years, unsuspecting Navajos inhaled radioactive dust and drank contaminated well water.

Singing sand dunes, volcanic cinder cones, Joshua tree forests, and carpets of wildflowers are all found at Mojave National Preserve. A visit to its canyons, mountains and mesas will reveal long-abandoned mines, homesteads, and rock-walled military outposts. Located between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Mojave provides serenity and solitude from major metropolitan areas.

Boots hang in a changing room in the partially abandoned and closed Santiago mine, as a result of the coal crisis, near Mieres, Oviedo, Spain, Monday, June 18, 2012. Spanish coal mining unions are waging a general strike as 8,000 mineworkers at over 40 coal mines in northern Spain continue their protests against government action to cut coal subsidies. EMILIO MORENATTI - AP

Centralia, Pennsylvania, is a ghost town with a twist. It was primarily a mining town built around the huge deposits of anthracite coal in the area. In 1962 a trash fire came in contact with a coal vein and spread through the maze of abandoned mines below the town.

After Namibian's diamond mines located along the nearly uninhabitable 'Skeleton coast' we're abandoned for richer marine-terrace diamond reserves, the Namib Desert moved in to slowly reclaim the buildings that were left behind. Upon hearing about these modern day ghost towns, Barcelona based photographer Alvaro Sanchez-Montañes set off to capture what was left.

Rose Hill Cemetery, in the Black Diamond Mines park. This is an abandoned cemetery that served the now non-existant nearby mining communites. Located near Antioch, CA in the San Francisco Bay Area.

A bushel grows through the rails of the Figaredo mines, abandoned and closed more than five years ago because of the coal crisis in the Turon valley near Oviedo, Spain.

Hashima Island, Japan. A tiny island where the sole occupation was coal mining. The mines were closed and the island abandoned in 1974.

The abandoned Lopatino Phosphate Mines. Located close to the Voskresensk city (70 km from Moscow),

Edward Burtynsky, Mines #13, Inco-Abandoned Mine Shaft, Cream Hill Mine, Sudbury, Ontario

Abandoned engine houses of the tin mines at Wheal Trewavas near Porthleven, south west Cornwall.

Dangerous abandoned mines in Nevada, NV. When you're out in the Nevada outback, don't even think about exploring abandoned mines.

The Abandoned Ghost Mines Of Kennecott Alaska

Abandoned mines in the Namib desert - Álvaro Sánchez-Montañes

The abandoned gold mines of Rodalquilar, Spain