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Earth Resources and Environmental Impacts

Earth Resources and Environmental Impacts

Kieran D. O'Hara

ISBN: 978-0-470-56491-2 January 2014 560 Pages


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Earth Resources and Environmental Impacts uses everyday examples and current issues to help readers understand how mineral, water and energy resources – and the impacts of their use and extraction – affect their daily lives. A historical perspective makes the material in this text fascinating by showing readers that the earth’s resources have always been fundamental to society, even as far back as the Stone Age. Environmental impacts and sustainable use of energy and mineral resources are emphasized. With the increase of public interest surrounding environmental impacts, readers will appreciate the knowledge gained from this text.

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Preface vii

Part 1 Earth Systems and Earth Materials

1 Introduction 2

2 Earth-System Science 31

3 Earth Materials I—Minerals 63

4 Earth Materials II—Igneous, Sedimentary, and Metamorphic Rocks 98

Part 2 Mineral Resources

5 Ore Deposits and Mineral Exploration 132

6 Abundant and Scarce Metal Resources 167

7 Nonmetals and Industrial Minerals 211

8 Environmental Impacts of Metal Resources 248

Part 3 Energy Resources

9 Energy Perspectives 274

10 Carbon-Based Energy Resources 293

11 Environmental Impacts of Carbon-Based Energy 346

12 Noncarbon-Based Energy Resources 383

13 Environmental Impacts of Noncarbon-Based Energy 430

Part 4 Freshwater Resources

14 Water Resources 464

15 Environmental Impacts on Water Resources 506

Index 529

  • Earth’s resources are discussed within the broader context of Earth-system* science.
  • Introductory material (Part I) means no prerequisite Earth science courses are needed.
  • Parts II, III and IV address mineral, energy, and water/soil resources, respectively.
  • By classifying energy resources as carbon-based (fossil fuels) versus non carbon-based, man’s role in the global carbon cycle is emphasized. 
  • Four of the 15 chapters address environmental impacts of resource use and extraction.
  • On nuclear energy and fossil fuels, three nuclear accidents and three major oil spills are compared and contrasted.
  • Case studies on water resources include the United States, the Middle East, China and eastern Australia.
  • Simple quantitative examples (such as the power of a wind turbine or a hydroelectric plant) are provided in text boxes throughout the book.
  • Fundamental ideas on energy are outlined and the concepts of energy and power density are introduced (Chapter9).