Chapter 15

Geology and Nonrenewable Mineral Resources


1.      Briefly describe the layers of the earth's interior. Describe the internal and external earth processes responsible for forming earth's landscape. Be sure to distinguish three different tectonic plate boundaries and the geologic features often found at each. Explain how this knowledge is significant for understanding mineral deposits and evolution.


2.      Distinguish between internal and external geologic processes.  Discuss how these processes affect human activities and natural ecosystems.


3.      List and define three broad classes of rock. Briefly describe the rock cycle and indicate interrelationships among these classes.


4.      Describe how earthquakes are caused. Describe how tsunamis are formed. Describe the role of  volcanoes in the rock recycling process.


5.      List three types of mineral resources, and give one example of each. Clarify the relationship between identified resources and reserves.


6.      Distinguish between subsurface and surface mining. Briefly describe the environmental impacts of mining.


7.      Draw a hypothetical depletion curve. Project how this curve would be affected by the following changes in assumptions: (a) recycling of the resource is increased, (b) discoveries of new deposits of the resource are made, (c) prices rise sharply, (d) a substitute for the resource is found.


8.      Describe the economics of nonrenewable minerals. Explain the limitations of mining lower-grade ores. Discuss the option of getting more minerals from the ocean.


9.      Describe how mineral resources can be used more sustainably. Summarize the nanotechnology revolution and its implications.


Key Terms  (Terms are listed in the same font as they appear in the text.)

area strip mining (p. 345)

contour strip mining (p. 345)

convergent plate boundary (p. 338)

core (p. 336)

crust (p. 336)

depletion time (p. 348)

divergent plate boundary (p. 339)

earthquakes (p. 339)

economically depleted (p. 348)

geology (p. 336)

high-grade ore (p. 342)

igneous rock (p. 342)

lithosphere (p. 336)

low-grade ore (p. 342)

magma (p. 337)

mantle (p. 336)

metamorphic rock (p. 343)

mineral (p. 341)

mineral resource (p. 341)

mountaintop removal (p. 345)

nanotechnology (p. 335)

open-pit mining (p. 345)

ore (p. 342)

overburden (p. 345)

rock (p. 342)

rock cycle (p. 343)

sedimentary rock (p. 343)

smelting (p. 347)

spoils (p. 345)

strip mining (p. 345)

subduction zone (p. 339)

subsurface mining (p. 345)

surface mining (p. 345)

tectonic plates (p. 336)

transform fault (p. 339)

tsunamis (p. 339)

volcanoes (p. 339)

weathering (p. 340)