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How Will We Manage Our Nonrenewable Mineral Resources in the Future?. How Do We Find Mineral Resources?. Aerial Photos Measuring radiation Magnetometer (Iron) Core Samples Seismic Surveys (set off a bomb and see how seismic waves move in the ground) Chemical analysis of water and plants.
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How Do We Find Mineral Resources? • Aerial Photos • Measuring radiation • Magnetometer (Iron) • Core Samples • Seismic Surveys (set off a bomb and see how seismic waves move in the ground) • Chemical analysis of water and plants
How Are Buried Mineral Deposits Removed? • Surface Mining (shallow deposits) • Open-Pit Mining: Machines dig holes and remove ores • Dredging: Chain buckets and draglines scrape up underwater mineral deposits • Area Strip Mining: A giant earth mover strips land creating a trench which is then filled in with the overburden creating a wavy series of highly erodible hills of rubble called spoil banks. • Contour Strip Mining: Used on hilly or mountainous terrains. Power shovel cuts a series of terrains, overburden from the terrace above is dumped below
Open Pit Mining Area Strip Mining Contour Strip Mining Dredging
Mountaintop Removal: Uses explosives, massive shovels and huge machinery called draglines • Subsurface Mining: (Deep minerals) Miners dig a deep vertical shaft, blast tunnels and chambers and remove minerals using machinery • Disturbs less than 1/10 as much land • Leaves much of the resources in the ground • Hazards include cave-ins, explosions, lung disease
Mountaintop Removal Subsurface Mining
Some Definitions • Spoil: Rock and soil removed during surface mining • Gangue: Waste or undesired material in an ore • Tailings: Waste material removed as impurities when waste mineral material is separated from the metal in an ore • Smelting: Melting of ore to refine it
How Do We Conserve Our Mineral Resources? • Recycle • Minimize Waste • Find Substitute Materials (Nanotechnology) • Do Without
Can We Use Nanotechnology to Create New Materials? • Uses atoms & molecules to create substances (stain resistant and wrinkle free materials for pants, sunscreens that block UV light) • Designer molecules that seek out and kill cancer cells • Nanoparticles that provide super thermal insulation • Bathrooms that never need cleaning, and so on
What’s the Catch? • Smaller molecules become more reactive and potentially more toxic • Nanosize particles can get through the natural defenses of our body • Little is known about how nanoparticles behave in our body