Environmental Geography: Geology, Minerals, And Mining

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BIO 121
Environmental Biology
Review Sheet for Exam 2

Disclaimer: Please be aware that this guide is intended as review to assist you as you study for your exam. Please make sure to study the lecture notes in addition to the information in the textbook. This summary is my attempt to assist your studies, but it may be incomplete and includes only the main points of the material.

Chapter 11 – Geology, Minerals, and Mining

I. What is Geology?
The study of earth’s physical features, processes, and history
II. Layers of the Earth
Core- solid iron in the center
Mantle- less dense-elastic rock
Lithosphere- harder rock that contains the mantle and crust
III. Plate Tectonics
The process by which Earth's surface is shaped by the extremely slow movement of tectonic plates, or sections of crust a. Types of Plate Boundaries 1. Divergent
Area where tectonic plates push apart from one another as magma rises upward to the surface, creating new lithosphere as it cools and spreads. 2. Convergent
Area where tectonic plates converge or come together i. Subduction
The plate tectonic process by which denser crust slides beneath other ii. Mountain formation/uplift
In a convergent plate boundary, if continental crust from two plates collide, the buckling of rock can form mountain ranges 3. Transform
Area where two tectonic plates meet and slip and grind alongside one another, creating earthquakes.
IV. Rock Cycle Very slow process, in which rocks and the minerals that make them up are heated, melted, cooled, broken, and reassembled, forming…
Igneous rocks (forms when magma cools)
Sedimentary rocks (forms when coal and limestone weathers away)
Metamorphic rocks (forms with temperature and pressure)

V. Circum-Pacific Belt (aka ‘Ring of Fire’)
9 out of 10 earthquakes and over half of the world's volcanoes occur along this 40,000km arc of subduction zones and fault systems

VI. Mining
The systematic removal of rock, soil, or other material for the purpose of attracting minerals of economic interest
VII. Ore and Tailings
Ore- a mineral or grouping of minerals from which we extract metals
Tailings- portions of ore left over after metals have been extracted
VIII. Types of Mining Operations a. Strip Mining
Layers of soil and rock are removed to expose the resource below the surface b. Subsurface Mining
Mineshafts are drilled deep into the ground to dig out resources (most environmentally friendly) c. Open Pit
Also called quarries, are pits for clay, gravel, sand and stone (cause huge habitat loss) d. Placer Mining
Miner sift through riverbeds to find metals and gems (causes erosion) e. Mountaintop Removal (MTR)
Entire mountain tops are blasted off in search of coal
Coal slurries consists of solid and liquid waste and is a by-product of the coal mining
Causes health problems
Destroys habitats f. Acid drainage
Sulfide in newly exposed rocks react with oxygen and rainwater to produce sulfuric acid
IX. Reclamation
Efforts to bring a mining site back to its pre-mining conditions
Complex communities can be simplified/ water can be replaced
X. Technically Recoverable vs. Economically Recoverable Minerals
Technically recoverable- hard, expensive to mine
Economically Recoverable- easy, inexpensive to mine

Chapter 12 –Fresh Water, Oceans, and Coasts

I. Fresh water
2.5% of all water is fresh a. Aquifers
Sponge-like formations of rock, sand or gravel that hold water 1. Ground Water
Water beneath the surface held within pores in soil or rock 2. Water table
The surface of the water where the of the aeration and saturation zone meet b. Surface Water
1% of all water is surface 1. Watershed
The area of land where all of the water that is under it or drains off of it goes into the same place (tributaries- small river flowing into larger river) 2. Lakes and Ponds
Littoral- shore
Limnetic- high water
Benthic- bottom water
Oligotrophic and Eutrophic
Oligotrophic- low nutrients/ high oxygen
Eutrophic- high nutrients/ low