Where do the Earth’s riches come from?

Part of Hall of Planet Earth.

Ores from Hot Water AMNH/R.Mickens

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.

Computer Model of Groundwater Flow

Scientists study groundwater flow, or the movement of freshwater through the Earth, in order to better understand and predict how and where freshwater flows and collects.

This video includes interviews with Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists Dr. Chick Keller, Dr. Elizabeth Keating, and Dr. Bruce Robinson.


This video was produced in 1999 for the David S. and Ruth L. Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth at the American Museum of Natural History, as part of a series about computer modeling at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Video credits:
American Museum of Natural History
University of California at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Dr. Charles F. Keller
Ballentyne Brumble Communications