Natural Resources: Origins, Economics and Environmental Impact (3) Geologic, economic and environmental issues related to exploitation of non-renewable natural resources (metals, minerals, rocks, and fossil fuels).
GEOSC 451 Natural Resources: Origins, Economics and Environmental Impact (3)
All the materials needed for health and prosperity in our complex society come from the earth, such as water, iron and other metals to make steel, silica to make glass, limestone to make concrete, potash and phosphate to make fertilizers, and oil, natural gas, coal and uranium to generate heat and electricity. Most of these natural resources are non-renewable, and easily recoverable quantities are limited. The main purpose of this course is to increase understanding and appreciation of geological, economical and environmental aspects of exploitation of mineral and energy resources. Approximately two-thirds of the lectures/discussions will focus on geological, geochemical and biological processes that have governed the concentration and dispersion of economically important elements and natural materials on Earth, including water, heavy metals (aluminum, iron, copper, zinc, lead, etc.), precious metals (gold, silver, platinum, etc.), industrial minerals and rocks (clays, limestone, gypsum, salts, etc.), nuclear-energy sources (uranium and thorium) and fossil fuels (petroleum, natural gas and coal). The remaining one-third of the lectures/discussions will focus on: (i) exploration methods to discover new mineral (and fossil fuel) deposits; (ii) economic aspect of mineral commodities (usages, production statistics, economic of mining and concentration); and (iii) environmental issues related to mining, nuclear waste disposal, and constructions. There will be two half-day field trips to study the nature of sulfide mineralization and acid-water pollution.
Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.