Earth Resources

 

3.1 Earth Resources

 

Describe a variety of energy resources, including fossil fuels, nuclear fuels, solar and biomass

Energy Resources- Renewable and non-renewable

1. What is Energy?

2. What is Electricity?

3. Resistance and Static Electricity

4. Circuits

5. Stored Energy and Batteries

6. Turbines, Generators and Power Plants

7. Electricity Transmission System

8. Fossil Fuels: Coal, Oil and Natural Gas

9. Natural Gas Distribution System

10. Biomass Energy

11. Geothermal Energy

12. Hydro Power

13. Nuclear Energy

14. Ocean Energy

15. Solar Energy

16. Wind Energy

17. Renewable vs. Non-Renewable Energy

18. Energy for Transportation

 

 

Nuclear Fuels

Award winning video- Splitting Atoms: an electrifying experience - SUMMARY OF THE NUCLEAR PROCESS: you will be downloading a 34 MB file from a safe site. It is an award-winning video that provides an interesting overview of the nuclear process as a source of electric power. It takes 10 minutes to download the entire file and it goes to a temporary folder on your computer...both a sound and video file... the name of the files is atomnew[1].rm and can be removed by selecting the properties of the file and unchecking "archive". Then delete the file to the recycle bin.

Glossary of Nuclear Terms

Uranium Facts and Nuclear Energy Timeline and History of the Uranium Program

Nuclear Fuel Information

US Nuclear Reactors

US Nuclear Generation of Electricity

US Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel

 

Solar Energy- Energy Facts

Summary for kids from 6 to 106

Summary for older kids

Details of how solar cells work - Advanced concepts (9 pages plus more links)

 

Wind Energy

Wind Powering America

Quick Facts About Wind Energy Potential

How Does A Wind Turbine Work

Advanced concepts- Wind Turbines

 

Biomass

Biomass Facts

Ethanol from plants

Types of Biomass and the Carbon Cycle

 

Recognize earth materials as resources (e.g. rocks, minerals, soils, and water)

Rock and mineral resources

Mineral Resources - summary

Mineral Deposits

Types of Mineral Deposits

Some Mineral and Rock Resources and Their Uses

List of Uses for 48 Common Minerals

Environmental Issues with Mining and Mineral Processing

Meeting Future Demands

Uses of Phosphate Rocks

 

Soil resources

Soil

Subdivision of soil

Climate and soil types

Three main types of soil

Effect of soil type on shaking hazard - California

Living with the Land - 7 pages

 

Water resources

Daily water conditions - USA

Freshwater Facts

Wetlands Facts

Groundwater Facts- The first twelve statements may be true or false. See how much you know about Groundwater. (Answers are on the same page...below question 12.)

Sources of contamination, types of contaminants, monitoring

 

Energy resources- see "Energy Resources" above

 

 

Describe natural resources such as open space, potable water, and wildlife

Parks, Forests, and Wildlands (Introduction and in-depth links)

In-depth links accompany all of the topics below

 

Identify resources as renewable vs nonrenewable.

Renewable Resources

Geothermal Energy

Hydro Power

Nuclear Energy: Fission and Fusion

Ocean Energy

Solar Energy

Wind Energy

Renewable vs Non-Renewable Resources

 

 

Compare extraction and recycling in relation to energy, cost, and demand.

 

Types of Waste Disposal Approaches
Wasting*
Recycling
Effects on Wasting
Economic/ Environmental Impact
Effects on recycling
Economic/Environmental Impact
Input approach: a) reduced consumption b) increased product durability c) decreased materials in products
If it were done by all there would be a significantly decreased wasting
Impact if it worked: Decreased resources mean ultimate cost savings to producers and users. Decreased revenues for industry. Decreased impact on sanitary landfills. Reduction of pollution.
Decreased impact on wasting means less need to recycle and less air pollution. Overall costs for programs decrease. Current reality indicates no real change. We are a wasting rather than recyling nation (see to the right). Thus, increased need to recyle is created.

If you grew up in an industrial society you grew up with the paradigm that we had abundant resources. We saw little need for recylcing except in times of war. The entire production- consumption system was built WITHOUT recycling in mind. Even today, this mindset is strongly rooted in today's society. If you doubt that, ask any public high school what they do with the 100 old non-functional computers and monitors that were removed from their computer labs when they updated their computers.

The second problem why we have so much difficulty beginning to recycle is that the nation's tax laws have grown up around extraction. The laws work against recycling. Mining companies, for example, receive generous tax breaks (depletion allowances) that give them an unfair advantage over recyclers. These tax breaks often make verigin materials cheaper than recycled ones (have you ever compared the price of recycled printer paper?)

Logging companies that supply wood for paper mills (and other uses) are also heavily subsidized by the Federal Government (so our taxes are at work here, too). The Forest Service, for example, charges $2.00 for a giant old-growth tree, which they sell at enourmous profit. Logging roads in national forest are paid for by taxpayers.

Finally, traditional extractive industries receive another hidden subsidy (economic externality).- a cost that is passed onto the public from pollution and other harmful effects of these activities. Because the traditional ways of making paper, tin cans, etc. produce more pollution, they have a bigger impact on our health and our environment than recyling, which uses less energy and produces far less pollution.. But the higher cost of the virgin materials is not reflectied in the price of the product. It is, instead, paid in federal taxes that go to clean up our air and water. It is paid in higher health bills and in other ways. Were externalities part of the products made from raw materisl, recycled materials would outcompete them.

 

Output approach: a) incineration, b) Sanitary Landfills
Increased Wasting
Impact: Increased resource use means increased costs to industry and to users. Increase in air pollution from CH4 in sanitary landfills and toxic substances in air through incineration. Landfill space depletion.
Increased need to recyle and overall costs to public increase. As of data obtained in 2001, recycling rates are decreasing and wasting rates are increasing
RECYCLING: Throughput Approach: a) Reuse (source separation at home e.g. composting by individuals) , b) Reuse (end point separation by cities (extraction)
Increased Wasting if done by individuals because very few take the time to seriously recycle their waste products.
Impact: Increased a) resource use, b) costs to producers and users, c) air pollution and decreased space in landfills. Composing by cities difficult. Needs large areas of open fields and workers to help. THE DEMAND FOR composting is low.
Increased need to recyle and overall costs to public increase.
RECYCLING: Throughput approach c) resource extraction (separation of virgin resources from a mixture of waste products)
Increased Wasting
Impact: Too much energy to be financially appealing to industry. Costs are high and taxpayers subsidize extraction and wasting. These are unfunded mandates. Resource extraction produces many toxic by-products with potential for great environmental damage.
Increased need to recyle and overall costs to public increase.

*Wasting is the approach of discarding products once they have outlived their useful purpose.

 

 

Identify the natural origins and spatial distribution of material resources for common objects, including common ore minerals such as copper, lead, zinc and aluminum, and industrial mineral resources such as sand, gravel, rock, aggregate, gypsum and limestone.

 

Spacial distribution of material resources -Click on THE CONTERMINOUS USA MAP. Once the map appears, make sure "USA" and "Elevation Shaded Relief" are selected. Individually click on "mineral resources data", "igneous rocks" and "mineral availability system". Do this individually so you can differentiate what the different-colored dots represent. Use the zoom tool to zoom closer to see what the spatial relationships are in regards to the topography throughout different regions of the United States. Describe any patterns you see in the distribution of mineral resources and where they are located and explain why those spatial distributions exist.

 

List of Uses for 48 Common Minerals

 

 

Describe the presence and distribution of earth resources in California, including but not limited to fossil fuels, sand, gravel, rock and metal.

Spacial distribution of material resources -Click on THE CONTERMINOUS USA MAP. Once the map appears, make sure "USA" and "Elevation Shaded Relief" are selected. Click on the region of California after you select the zoom tool. Once you are close, individually click on "mineral resources data", "igneous rocks" and "mineral availability system". Do this individually so you can differentiate what the different-colored dots represent. Describe any patterns you see in the distribution of mineral resources and where they are located and explain why those spatial distributions exist.

Distribution of minerals and rock types throughout California -PDF File: Page 1. Contains the description of the different rock types according to the geologic time scale. Page 2 contains the map of California with keys to the different colors on the maps. Page 3 contains a geologic time scale document.

Distribution of fossil fuels in California

Oil and Gas Issues- California

La Brea Tar Pits1

La Brea Tar Pits 2

 

List of Uses for 48 Common Minerals

 

 

 

 

Explain sustainable uses of resources with respect to utility, cost, human population, and environmental consequences.

 

Sustainable Development of Earth's resources- Overview

An opposing view of Sustainable Development of Earth's resources

 

Sustainable Forestry Home Page

Fisheries

Sustainable source of energy (see renewable resources above)

Creating sustainable lifestyles

Principles of a Sustainable Society

Sustainable Suppy of Mineral Resources- an industry perspective

 

 

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