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ESC110 Chapter Eleven: Environmental Geology & Earth Resources. Principles of Environmental Science - Inquiry and Applications, 1st Edition by William and Mary Ann Cunningham. Chapter Eleven Readings.

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ESC110 Chapter Eleven:Environmental Geology & Earth Resources

Principles of Environmental

Science - Inquiry and Applications,

1st Edition

by William and Mary Ann Cunningham

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Chapter Eleven Readings

Required ReadingsCunningham & Cunningham, Chapter Eleven: Principles of Ecology: Matter, Energy, and Life

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Chapter Eleven Key TermsMcGraw-Hill Course Glossary

  • Acids

  • Atom

  • Bases

  • Biological community

  • Biomass

  • Carbon cycle

  • Carnivores

  • Cellular respiration

  • Compound

  • Conservation of matter

  • Consumers

  • decomposer

  • ecology

  • ecosystem

  • Energy

  • First law of thermodynamics

  • Food web

  • Herbivores

  • Ions

  • Kinetic energy

  • Matter

  • Metabolism

  • Molecules

  • Nitrogen cycle

  • Omnivores

  • Organic compounds

  • pH

  • Photosynthesis

  • Potential energy

  • Primary producers

  • Productivity

  • Second law of thermodymanics

  • Species

  • Tropic level

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Chapter Eleven Topics

  • A Dynamic Planet;

  • Minerals and Rocks;

  • Economic Geology and Mineralogy;

  • Environmental Effects of Resource Extraction;

  • Conserving Geologic Resources; and

  • Geologic Hazards.

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Pangea: the



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Part 2: Minerals and Rocks

  • Mineral - a naturally occurring, inorganic solid with a definite chemical composition and a specific internal crystal structure

  • Rock - a solid, cohesive aggregate of one or more minerals

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Weathering and Sedimentation

  • Mechanical weathering - physical breakup

  • Chemical weathering - oxidation, hydrolysis

  • Sedimentation - deposition of loosened rock

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Part 3: Economic Geology and Mineralogy

  • Economic mineralogy is the study of minerals that are valuable for manufacturing and trade.

  • Public policy in the U.S. has encouraged mining on public lands as a way of boosting the economy and utilizing natural resources.

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  • Strategic metals and minerals - those that a country uses but cannot produce itself

  • Wealthy industrial nations often stockpile strategic resources, especially metals.


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Nonmetal Mineral Resources

  • Sand and gravel production for road and building construction - greatest volume and dollar value of all nonmetal mineral resources.

  • Evaporites - halite (rock salt), gypsum, potash

  • Sulfur deposits - mined mainly for sulfuric acid production (industry, car batteries, some medicinal products)

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Part 4: Environmental Effects of Resource Extraction

  • Geologic resource extraction involves the physical processes of mining and the physical or chemical processes of separating minerals, metals, and other geologic resources from ores or other materials.

  • Ore - a rock in which a valuable or useful metal occurs at a concentration high enough to make mining it economically attractive

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  • Placer mining

  • Strip-mining or open-pit mining

  • Tailings - surface waste deposits

  • Groundwater contamination

  • Spoil banks - acid and sediment runoff

  • Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (1977)

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Smelting - roasting ore to release metals

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  • Earthquakes - sudden movements in the earth’s crust that occur along faults

  • Soil liquefaction

  • Tsunamis

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  • Volcanoes and undersea magma vents are the sources of most of the earth’s crust.

  • Hazards: nuees ardentes (“glowing clouds”), mudslides, ash and dust, sulfur emissions

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Flood - excess water that overflows stream banks and covers adjacent land

Biggest economic loss: contamination

Many human activities increase both the severity and frequency of floods.

Flood control - locks, dams, levees - problem transferred downstream


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  • Landslides

  • Gullying

  • Agricultural soil erosion - “an invisible crisis”

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Construction on Beaches and Barrier Islands

  • People place high value on ocean views and beach access.

  • Construction directly on beaches and barrier islands can (1) cause irreparable damage to entire ecosystems and (2) worsen storm damage.

  • Government policies often encourage people to build in risky places.

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beaches and