Nonfuel Minerals

This glossary is provided as a tool for studying this chapter. Keep it handy while you read, in order to find definitions of unfamiliar words, or of familiar words that may have an unfamiliar meaning in the context of this chapter.

If you do not find the term you are looking for on this page, try the complete glossary.
  • Clean Air Act: The name given to a series of air-quality improvement laws and their amendments passed in the United States beginning in 1963.
  • Critical mineral: A mineral necessary for defense of the United States and available partly in America or partly from friendly nations.
  • Hydrothermal mineralization: A process of concentration of metallic ores caused by high-temperature geochemical processes in underground waters.
  • Law of the Sea Treaty: A treaty establishing jurisdiction over marine resources in coastal and deep-sea areas.
  • Placer deposit: A deposit of a mineral formed by a concentration of heavy minerals in flowing water, such as by a stream or waves.
  • Recycling: Reprocessing of a used product for reuse in a similar or different form.
  • Reserve: In the context of mineral resources, a deposit of known location and quality that is economically extractable at the present time.
  • Stockpiling: Amassing amounts of some substance well beyond present needs in anticipation of a shortage of that substance. 
  • Strategic mineral: A mineral necessary for defense purposes for which the United States is totally dependent on foreign sources. 
  • Subeconomic resource: A resource that at present is unavailable for use because of the high cost of extraction.
  • Substitutability: The degree to which one material can be substituted for another in end uses. 
  • Tailings: Solid waste products derived from mineral extraction or refinement.
  • Unidentified resource: A mineral resource assumed to be present within known geologic districts, but not yet specifically located or characterized in detail.
  • Weathering: The breakdown of rocks into smaller particles or new chemical substances as a result of exposure to water and air at the earth's surface.
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Exploitation, Conservation, Preservation
A Geographic Perspective on Natural Resource Use
Susan L. Cutter and William H. Renwick
Web site by James Hayes-Bohanan
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