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ECONOMIC GEOLOGY AND Environmental Geology and Earth ...Environmental Geology and Earth Resources...

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1 Environmental Geology and Earth Resources Chapter 11 ECONOMIC GEOLOGY AND MINERALOGY • Metals – Metals consumed in greatest quantity by world industry (metric tons annually): • Iron (740 million) Aluminum (40 million) Manganese (22.4 million) Copper and Chromium (8 million ea) Nickel (0.7 million) Strategic Metals and Minerals Durable, highly valuable, and easily portable, gemstones and precious metals have been a way to store and transport wealth. These valuable materials have bankrolled despots, criminal gangs, and terrorism in many countries. Much of the illegal trade ends up in the $100 billion per year global jewelry trade, two-thirds of which sells in the U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS OF RESOURCE EXTRACTION Mining Placer Mining - Hydraulically washing out metals deposited in streambed gravel. Destroys streambeds and fills water with suspended solids. Strip-Mining or Open-Pit Mining Large scars on land surface. Tailings Toxic runoff Underground Mining Very Dangerous Gas Inhaling Particulate Matter Tunnel Collapse Environmental Dangers… http://geology.cr.usgs.gov/pub/open-file-reports/ofr-95-0023/summit.htm Polluted waters over 70 km downstream After making $98 Million in gold, declared bankruptcy in 1992 EPA Superfund site- over $120 million to clean it up
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Page 1: ECONOMIC GEOLOGY AND Environmental Geology and Earth ...Environmental Geology and Earth Resources Chapter 11 ECONOMIC GEOLOGY AND MINERALOGY •Metals –Metals consumed in greatest

1

Environmental Geology and Earth

ResourcesChapter 11

ECONOMIC GEOLOGY AND

MINERALOGY• Metals

– Metals consumed in greatest quantity by world industry

(metric tons annually):

• Iron (740 million)

• Aluminum (40 million)

• Manganese (22.4 million)

• Copper and Chromium (8 million ea)

• Nickel (0.7 million)

Strategic Metals and Minerals

• Durable, highly valuable, and easily portable, gemstones and precious

metals have been a way to store and transport wealth.

– These valuable materials have bankrolled despots, criminal gangs, and

terrorism in many countries.

– Much of the illegal trade ends up in the $100 billion per year global

jewelry trade, two-thirds of which sells in the U.S.

ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS

OF RESOURCE EXTRACTION• Mining

– Placer Mining - Hydraulically washing out metals deposited in streambed gravel.• Destroys streambeds and fills water with suspended solids.

– Strip-Mining or Open-Pit Mining• Large scars on land surface.

• Tailings– Toxic runoff

– Underground Mining• Very Dangerous

– Gas

– Inhaling Particulate Matter

– Tunnel Collapse

• Environmental Dangers…

http://geology.cr.usgs.gov/pub/open-file-reports/ofr-95-0023/summit.htm

Polluted waters over 70 km

downstream

After making $98 Million in gold,

declared bankruptcy in 1992

EPA Superfund site- over $120

million to clean it up

Page 2: ECONOMIC GEOLOGY AND Environmental Geology and Earth ...Environmental Geology and Earth Resources Chapter 11 ECONOMIC GEOLOGY AND MINERALOGY •Metals –Metals consumed in greatest

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Restoration

• Surface Mining Control and Reclamation

Act (1977) requires better restoration of

strip-mined lands, especially if land classed

as prime farmland.

– Difficult and expensive.

• Often more than $10,000.00 per hectare.

– 50% of U.S. coal is strip-mined.

CONSERVING GEOLOGIC

RESOURCES• Recycling

– Aluminum must be extracted from bauxite by electrolysis.

• Recycling waste aluminum consumes 1/20 the energy of extraction from raw ore.

– Nearly two-thirds of all aluminum beverage cans in U.S. are recycled.

– Other metals commonly recycled:

• Platinum, gold, copper, lead, iron, steel.

• Reduce metal consumption by using new materials or new technologies.– Plastic pipes in place of metal pipes.

– Fiber-optics in place of metal wires.

– Metal alloys in place of traditional steel.

Tectonic Processes

Tectonic Processes GEOLOGIC HAZARDS

• Earthquakes

– Tsunami - Seismic sea swells.

• Volcanoes

– “Ring of fire”

• Floods

– 70% of population lives along coast, ~20% in flood-

prone areas.

• Landslides

Review all in the text.

Page 3: ECONOMIC GEOLOGY AND Environmental Geology and Earth ...Environmental Geology and Earth Resources Chapter 11 ECONOMIC GEOLOGY AND MINERALOGY •Metals –Metals consumed in greatest

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Recent earthquakes

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/

‘Tidal’ Waves…Tsunami

“harbor wave”

Tidal wave Dec 26th, 2004- Indonesia

Deaths: 321,000; Injured: 125,000

Missing: 45,752; Displaced: 1.69 million

Page 4: ECONOMIC GEOLOGY AND Environmental Geology and Earth ...Environmental Geology and Earth Resources Chapter 11 ECONOMIC GEOLOGY AND MINERALOGY •Metals –Metals consumed in greatest

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“Ring of Fire” Volcanoes

• Volcanoes and undersea magma vents are the sources of most of the earth’s crust.– Many of world’s fertile soils are weathered volcanic material.

• Human / Environmental Dangers

– Volcanic Ash

– Mudslides

– Sulfur Emissions

Floods

• Excess water that overflows stream/lake banks and

covers adjacent land.

– Biggest economic loss is usually contamination, not

direct property losses.

• Carpet, furniture, drywall, etc.

– Many human activities increase both severity and

frequency of floods.

• Soil compaction, habitat loss

• Floodplains often help mitigate flooding.

– Usually flat, fertile, and easily farmed.

New Orleans, Sept 2005

80% of was flooded

Erosion• Landslides

– A general term for rapid down-slope movement of soil or rock.

• Many human activities such as forest clearing and building homes on steep,

unstable slopes increase both frequency and damage done by landslides.

http://landslides.usgs.gov/recent/images/laconchita/LaConchita0105_sm.mov

http://landslides.usgs.gov

Nara Prefecture (Japan), August 2004.


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