Guided Exploration: Natural Resources

 

HoPE Tour Map: Natural Resources

 

1. Groundwater Video

One of the most important processes in the formation of Earth’s resources — from oil and gas to metal ores and freshwater — is the flow of fluids through rock. Watch the videos to learn why and how scientists model groundwater flow.


2. Ore Specimens (#1-8, 18-25)

Explore this group of specimens, which illustrates how ores form, and find out what resources they provide.

Gold in conglomerate

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Gold in conglomerate

Since their discovery in 1886, the Witwatersrand deposits have yielded more than 40,000 tons of gold (enough to fill this hall to a depth of 2 meters).


Coal

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Coal

Coal is the most abundant fossil fuel. It forms when dead and decaying plants are buried in swamps and marshes. 


Salt

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Salt

Salt beds form in sedimentary basins where water collects and evaporates.


Chromium Ore

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Chromium Ore

Layers of chromite (black) are found near the bottoms of some magma chambers and are a source for the element chromium.


Vandium Ore

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Vanadium Ore

This rock is composed almost entirely of the iron oxide mineral magnetite, so named because it is naturally magnetic.


Platinum Ore

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Platinum ore

About 75 percent of the world’s platinum is mined from the Merensky Reef — a layer, usually only a few tens of centimeters thick, in the Bushveld Complex.


Bauxite

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Bauxite

Bauxite forms in tropical environments where warm groundwater leaches and dissolves nearly everything out of the rocks except for aluminum and silicon.


Oil Shale

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Oil shale

Oil shales form when organic matter trapped in layers of clay sediment is transformed by bacteria into petroleum.


Layers of chromite

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Layers of chromite

Chromite is usually one of the first minerals to crystallize in basaltic magma, and is thus commonly found as a layer near the bottom of magma chambers.


Tourmaline Pegmatite

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Tourmaline pegmatite

The large groups of pink crystals of the boron-bearing mineral tourmaline and the tiny purple crystals of the lithium-bearing mineral lepidolite grew from a melt consisting of lithium, boron, and water-rich silicate.


Silver-Rich Veins

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Silver-rich veins

The veins in this rock contain white calcite, milky quartz, and microscopic silver, cobalt, and arsenic-rich minerals, which make up the metallic part of the veins.


Ores in Granite

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Ores in granite

Water leached the metal molybdenum out of hot granite and deposited it in cooler granite, in veins that can be seen to crisscross the rock.


Giant Quartz Vein

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Giant quartz vein

This boulder of nearly pure quartz formed when hot silica-bearing waters flowing through a fracture deposited quartz.


Stringer Ore

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Stringer ore

This rock contains brassy veins of chalcopyrite (the yellow copper-iron sulfide mineral) in dark metamorphosed volcanic rocks.


Fragmented Ore

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Fragmented ore

Underwater steam explosions and the collapse of the vent structures resulted in great piles of fragmented sulfides.


Peacock Ore

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Peacock ore

This massive ore is composed of the copper-rich sulfide minerals covellite (purple and blue) and bornite (blue-black).


3. Water Cycle Diagram

Identify groundwater and investigate its role in creating Earth’s resources.

The Water Cycle

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The water cycle

Water is part of the Earth, its atmosphere, and all of its living organisms.