Where do the Earth’s riches come from?
The Earth’s resources — everything from oil and gas to metal ores to fresh water — are the basis of modern civilization. One of the most important processes in the formation of these resources is the flow of fluids through rock. Flowing hot water dissolves metals and concentrates them in ore deposits. Decayed organic matter flows through cracks and pores in rocks to accumulate in oil reservoirs. Water flowing underground collects in porous rocks and forms aquifers, which are tapped for fresh water.
Topic: Earth Science
Subtopic: Minerals and Resources
Keywords: groundwater, Hydrogeology, Natural resources, ore deposits, Petroleum reserves
In This Section
A major ore deposit that was formed by the flow of metal-laden seawater through hot rocks is at the Kidd Creek Mine in Ontario, Canada.
Near Timmins, Ontario, geologists discovered one of the world’s largest deposits of zinc, copper, lead, silver, and tin.
Driven by heat from bodies of molten rock in the crust, hot water circulates through cracks, dissolving minerals in the rocks through which it passes.
As molten granite crystallizes, the melt that remains becomes enriched in water and rare elements such as boron, lithium, tantalum, and niobium.