What are earth's natural resources and what is the impact of human activities?

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The Earth is rich in natural resources that we use every day. These resources are any valuable material of geologic origin that can be extracted from the earth.
1. Earth’s Natural Resources
and Human Impacts
Designed to meet South Carolina
Department of Education
2005 Science Academic Standards
2. Table of Contents
 Earth‟s natural resources (slide 4) (Standard 3-3.7)
 Energy resources
 Nonmetallic resources
 Metallic resources
 Common uses of earth resources (slide 5)
 Nonrenewable vs. renewable resources (slides 6-7) (Standard 7-4.6)
 Humans and conservation (slide 8) (Standard 5-3.6)
 Humans and pollution (slide 9)
 Humans vs. the coast: A South Carolina example (slides 10-12)
 The Conservation Movement (slide 13)
 Conservation = Recycling (slides 14-15)
 Ores, minerals and fossil fuels (slide 16) (Standard 8-3.5)
 Physical properties
 Chemical properties
 Fossil Fuels (slides 17-18)
 What is a fossil fuel?
 How do fossil fuels form?
 How can we find fossil fuels?
 Extracting oil (slide 19)
 Extracting coal (slide 20)
3. Table of Contents, continued
 Future resources (slide 21)
 Nuclear fusion
 Methane hydrates
 Resources versus reserves
 Using renewable resources (slides 22-23)
 Solar
 Wind
 Water
 Geothermal
 Biomass
 Metallic and nonmetallic resources (slide 24)
 South Carolina Standards (slide 26)
4. Earth’s Natural Resources
Standard 3-3.7: Exemplify Earth materials that are used as fuel, as a resource for building materials, and as a medium for growing plants
The Earth is rich in natural resources that we use everyday. These
resources are any valuable material of geologic origin that can be
extracted from the earth.
 Energy resources: A major natural resource that all Americans rely
on is petroleum fuel (oil or natural gas). Petroleum is an earth material
that forms within the Earth and can be burned to produce heat and
electricity or made into gasoline. Other fuels are coal, uranium, and
alternative energy (wind, tidal, solar).
 Nonmetallic resources: Another natural resource that is very
important to us is rock. We depend on sandstone, granite and other
types of bedrock formed within and on the Earth to build our schools,
homes, and skyscrapers. We use the mineral calcite as a main ingredient
in cement and red clay to make bricks. We use sand, gravel gypsum and
sulfur in everyday items. Soil is yet another natural resource that is
necessary to support all plant life on Earth.
 Metallic resources: Iron, copper, aluminum, lead, zinc, gold,
silver and many more are considered valuable resources that are Copper
vital for our modern society. Aluminum Table of Contents 4
5. Common uses of Earth’s Resources
 Common uses of natural resources are everywhere. It is nearly impossible to cease consuming
natural or geologic resources altogether. Here are just a few examples of things you commonly use,
but probably don‟t think about:
 A pencil uses zinc and copper (to make the brass), petroleum for the
eraser, iron (in the machinery to make the pencil), pigments, clay and
graphite. The only renewable resource in your pencil is the wood!
 Your jeans, although they may be almost all cotton, are usually
blended with petroleum-based synthetic fibers to cut down on
 The zipper on those same jeans is made out of copper and zinc.
 The dye in all your fabrics come from petroleum
 Eyeglasses and windows are made of quartz sand and petroleum
 Dental fillings are made of mercury and silver
 Videotapes are made of vinyl and iron and chromium
Table of Contents 5
6. Nonrenewable vs. Renewable Resources
Standard 7-4.6: Classify resources as renewable or nonrenewable and explain the implications of their depletion and the importance of
 Natural resources that can be replaced and reused by nature are termed renewable. Natural
resources that cannot be replaced are termed nonrenewable.
 Renewable resources are replaced through natural
processes at a rate that is equal to or greater than the rate at
which they are used, and depletion is usually not a worry.
Some common examples include:
 Air (wind)
 Fresh water
 Soil
 Living organisms (trees)
Trees: A renewable resource
 Sunlight
Nonrenewable resources are exhaustible and are extracted
faster than the rate at which they formed. Some common
examples are:
 Fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas)
 Diamonds and other precious gems and minerals
 Types of metals and ores
Important: Nonrenewable resources such as these exist
in a fixed amount and can only be replaced by processes
that take millions of years. If they are depleted, they are Oil: A nonrenewable resource
depleted for good. Table of Contents
7. Standard 7-4.6
Nonrenewable vs. Renewable Resources
 Sometimes, however, renewable resources can be depleted if they are used too fast! Here are a
few examples of how this can happen:
 If an area undergoes severe deforestation and the soil
erodes quickly, this will deplete the land of fertile topsoil
needed to support plant growth, so trees and shrubs
cannot grow back.
 If trees and vegetation are removed without being
replanted, this can have effects on the land, air, and water.
Common effects include runoff and water quality.
 While fresh water is a renewable resource, in some
areas, overpopulation and increased demand on the
water supply, lack of water conservation practices,
and pollution of the water source can cause water to
become scarce. This is especially a big problem in
cities situated in dry areas. A decrease in water
availability can affect agriculture, farmland,
livestock, and other living organisms (including
humans) in the area.
Table of Contents 7
8. Humans and Conservation
Standard 5-3.6: Explain how human activity (including conservation efforts and pollution ) has affected the land and oceans of the Earth.
 Because of the severe impact that we impose on the land, air, and water, conservation has
become increasingly important.
 Conservation is using natural resources wisely and not contributing to pollution of the land, air
or water. Human activities can benefit the environment and help preserve resources.
 Conservation can include small-scale clean-up projects along roadways or building fences to
prevent dune erosion to large-scale beach renourishment. Planting trees is another way to support
conservation as trees are too often removed without being replanted.
 The phrase “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” has been a catch phrase of the late 20 th and early 21st
Reduce: Don‟t use a resource if there is an alternative (walking vs. driving)
Reuse: Use a resource again without changing it or reprocessing it: Use glassware
as opposed to paper plates and styrofoam
Recycle: Reprocess a resource so that the materials can be used in
another item. People can recycle just about anything from
cardboard to old shoes!
Protect: Prevent the loss of a resource (wildlife) by
managing its environment. Rapid deforestation can wipe
out both animals and plant life. By controlling the
environment, we can control the resources. 8
Table of Contents
9. Humans and Pollution
 Unfortunately, humans have done more harm than good over the past 50 years by contributing
extreme amounts of pollution into Earth‟s atmosphere, land, and water ways. Pollution is
anything that harms or degrades the natural environment.
 Water: The ocean supplies billions of living organisms and
Water Pollution
animals with nourishment and is a sensitive ecosystem that can be
polluted very easily. Oil spills, such as the Exxon Juan-Valdez
spill in 1989, can upset this delicate balance for decades to
centuries. The wetlands and salt marshes are also home to
protected species and are susceptible to the affects of pollution. It
is easy to forget that all streams flow to the oceans. People
dumping trash in a mountains stream can affect plants and
animals (and humans!) at the coast hundreds of miles away.
Land Pollution
 Land: Landfills occur all over the U.S., and contaminants in the
landfill can leach into the nearby soils and groundwater,
contaminating the ground we walk on and the water we drink.
Reservoirs and dams retain valuable sediment that would
otherwise make it to the coast, resulting in coastal erosion. They
also prohibit fish migration upstream and downstream.
 Atmosphere: We pollute the atmosphere mainly by burning
fossil fuels. This produces greater than 10 times the amount of
Air Pollution
greenhouse gases that make it to the atmosphere through natural
processes. The industrial revolution sparked the rise in man-
made air pollution and as a result, the world is now counting it‟s
“emission points.” Pollution also comes from agriculture (animal
waste), construction, and mining. Table of Contents 9
10. Humans vs. the coast: A South Carolina example
 Humans have also negatively impacted the earth and earth processes in other ways, especially in
sensitive coastal regions. Over a decade ago, engineers noticed that if they built a wall, also known
as a jetty or groin, perpendicular to the shoreline, sand would be trapped on the upstream end and
the beach would grow! This was wonderful for property owners and beach-goers alike. The
engineers believed they were contributing to the conservation of beaches; however, they did not
think about the severe erosion it caused on the downstream side.
 In the late 19th century, Charleston Harbor, a busy shipping port in South Carolina, started to fill
up with large amounts of sediment from the rivers and the sea. Engineers designed a large wall on
either side of the shipping passage to keep the sediment out of the shipping channel, thereby
keeping it at the same depth.
 In order to prevent sand from collecting in
the shipping channel and the harbor, the
Charleston Harbor Jetties, were constructed in
1898. The structures extend for 2.5 to 3 miles
in length from Sullivan‟s Island and Morris
 The engineers did not realize that when
coastal structures are constructed in the sandy
nearshore, they alter the natural movements of
beach sediments and cause erosion. The
modification upsets the natural equilibrium of
sediment and the shoreline configuration
changes in response to this imbalance.
Table of Contents 10
11.  For 25 years after construction, no erosion was seen
on Folly or Morris Islands, and the beaches actually
grew due to sand bars moving onshore by wave action.
Within 30 years, however, the growth of Morris and
Folly Island contributed to the demise of Charleston‟s
delta, the source of sediment for Morris and Folly
Islands, which receives its sediment via longshore
currents from upstream rivers.
 By the 1930‟s, the sediment supply from the Charleston delta was depleted and Folly and Morris
Islands began to experience erosional rates of approximately 4-6 feet per year.
 As a direct result, the Morris Island Lighthouse, once situated 1300 feet inland, is now located
over two thousand feet in the ocean!
 South Carolina has the 3rd highest rate of coastal erosion in
the U.S. While hard engineering structures contribute to
beach loss, large storms, sea-level variation, sand dredging,
and sediment starvation by upstream dams are other factors
that affect our coast.
 The southeast Atlantic coast has undergone episodes of
erosion and subsequent artificial beach nourishment over
the past few decades. Sand that has been added through
beach nourishment episodes is greater than 100 million Beach nourishment project locations in S.C.
highlighted in red. Beach nourishment is
cubic yards. Enough to fill over 21,000 football fields 1 foot
considered a method of conservation.
high! 11
Table of Contents
12.  Hard engineered structures called groins are similar to jetties.
Groins, though outlawed now in most states, were also
constructed at the time of the Charleston jetty construction and in
1950, the spacing of groins along the coast was increased to every
500 feet. These also contributed to the massive rates of erosion to
the adjacent barrier islands.
 Seawalls are another type of coastal engineering structure
used to protect property directly behind it; however, due to the
partial reflection of the incoming wave, the sediment in front of
the wall is scoured and removed, thus facilitating erosion. http://www.cofc.edu/CGOInquiry/human.htm
Groins along the SC shoreline
Steps showing
the erosive
brought about by
sea wall
1 construction,
which can be
seen on Folly
Island. Beaches
can rebuild
2 themselves;
Seawall in front of Holiday Inn, Folly Beach
however, if a sea
wall is present,  Over the past 150 years, Folly Beach has,
they will at times, retreated at rates of up to 10 feet
continue per year. Table of Contents 12
eroding. http://www.cofc.edu/CGOInquiry/human.htm
13. The Conservation Movement
 “The conservation movement is a political, social and, to some extent, scientific movement that seeks to protect
natural resources including plant and animal species as well as their habitat for the future.” Source:
 “The early conservation movement included fisheries and wildlife management, water, soil conservation and
sustainable forestry. The contemporary conservation movement has broadened from the early movement's
emphasis on use of sustainable yield of natural resources and preservation of wilderness areas to include
preservation of biodiversity. “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservation_movement
 The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) runs the
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). They‟re
committed to “helping people help the land.”
 Since 1935, the NRCS (originally called the Soil Conservation
Service) has provided leadership in a partnership effort to help
America's private land owners and managers conserve their soil,
water, and other natural resources.
 NRCS employees provide technical assistance based on sound http://photoga
science and suited to a customer's specific needs. They also provide llery.nrcs.usda.
financial assistance for many conservation activities. More
information can be found at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/.
 In South Carolina, the Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) is
committed to conservation efforts within the state. More information
can be found at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/conservation.html
Table of Contents
14. Conservation = Recycling
One of the ways that everybody can help with the conservation effort is by recycling. The
following information was taken from http://www.recycle.com/faqs.html.
 “Recycling has really been around for perhaps thousands of years! For example,
ancient cultures that began making metal products, could melt down old broken
items like pots or swords and make new ones. More recently, during World War I
and II, people would have paper drives and metal drives to collect materials for
the war effort. Nothing was wasted! When landfilling became a cheap way to
dispose of trash in the 1940's and 1950's, recycling was less popular. But modern
recycling of glass, paper, cans, became more popular again in the 1970's with
drop-off recycling centers, and in the late 1980's and 1990's with curbside
collection. Mother nature is, of course, the ultimate recycler... without the natural
decay or composting process, we'd all be covered in leaves and other dead organic
 “Recycling helps the environment by slowing down the rate at which we have to burn garbage or
put it in landfills. With fewer landfills we can have more space for people to farm, live, and work.
Recycling also helps by reducing our need to consume fresh natural resources to make new
products. As a result we can save these resources for use by future generations. Most importantly,
recycling saves energy and reduces pollution. This could help slow down global climate change,
another environmental problem caused by burning fossil fuels like oil and gas.”
Table of Contents 14
15.  “Clothes that you have outgrown can be "reused" by
donating them to charities. Aluminum cans are nearly as easy.
They need only be sorted and cleaned. Special recycling
facilities then melt them down and make new cans. “
 “Some consumer products such as tennis shoes or even
milk cartons are more difficult to recycle because they are
made from multiple types of materials. Shoes contain many
different types of plastics for example, and milk cartons
contain a plastic-coated paper, and sometimes metal foil.
Generally, in the recycling process these materials must be
physically separated before things like plastic can be recycled
into new products. Sometimes, however, this process is
expensive. “
Thousands of aluminum cans, ready for recycling
 “Participation in recycling programs reached a new peak in the 1990's as
most communities in the United States started up curbside or drop-off
recycling programs. Now, many of these communities are evaluating their
programs to see what additional materials can be collected. For example, the
City of Ann Arbor, Michigan now collects 30 different materials in its
curbside program, including paperback novels, milk cartons, textiles
(clothing), shoes and other household items.”
Table of Contents 15
16. Ores, Minerals and Fossil Fuels
Standard 8-3.5: Summarize the importance of minerals, ores, and fossil fuels as Earth resources on the basis of their physical and chemical
Earth‟s resources have properties that make them important and useful. The two properties are:
1. Physical property: Hardness, luster, color, texture, cleavage, and density (see section on
2. Chemical property: Ability to burn or reactivity to acid.
Three of the most common earth resources that have importance on the basis of these properties
1. Minerals: Natural, solid materials found on Earth that are the building blocks of rocks. Each
has a chemical makeup and set of properties that determine value and use (quartz, sapphires,
talc, gypsum).
2. Ores: Minerals that are mined because they contain useful metals or nonmetals (iron, copper).
3. Fossil Fuels: Natural fuels that come from the remains of living things. Fuel gives off energy
when burned (coal, peat, petroleum).
Problems with our energy sources and supply (i.e. pollution, foreign oil) have become an important
conservational and political topics over the past 25 years. Alternate energy sources such as wind,
water, and solar have been investigated, but only a fraction of the U.S.‟s energy comes from these
alternate sources. 16 Table of Contents
17. Fossil Fuels
1. What is a Fossil Fuel?
Because coal, oil, and natural gas form from ancient organic matter, they are called fossil fuels.
Coal is actually a sedimentary rock that was originally formed from ancient plant matter through
decomposition and millions of years of compaction. Coal, made of carbon, is by far the most
abundant fossil fuel in the world. The eastern and midwestern U.S. have abundant coal seams that
formed during the Pennsylvanian Period (300 ma), when the region was located close to the
Petroleum: A broad term that includes both crude oil and natural gas. Crude oil is a thick, black
liquid mixture of naturally occurring hydrocarbons (compounds containing hydrogen and carbon)
that forms from the buried remains of marine organisms. Natural gas forms under similar
conditions but is in a gaseous state. These two products form the bulk of the U.S.‟s energy
Oil Natural Gas Coal Nuclear Hydroelectric Biomass Geothermal, wind,
solar and other
39.4% 23.6% 22.7% 8.3% 2.7% 2.8% 0.5%
The United States’ energy consumption resources as of 2007
Table of Contents
18. 2. How do fossil fuels form?
 Although we know that fossil fuels form from the decomposed remains of past life over millions
of years, large amounts of pressure and high temperatures are also necessary. As marine
organisms, called plankton, die and fall to the seafloor, they are covered by sediment. After they
are buried deeply enough, pressure and heat cause the dead plankton to change to oil and gas.
3. How can we find fossil fuel?
 There are specific but known conditions that must be met in order to find the oil and gas. Oil
and gas are usually found within a permeable rock such as sandstone. Permeable simply means
that the rock is porous, and liquids or gases can easily flow through it.
 A finer grained sedimentary rock, like shale, is relatively impermeable. Fluids cannot easily flow,
but they form good boundaries for trapping gas or oil. These rock boundaries are sometimes called
a roof or trap rock. If a layer of sedimentary rocks is tilted upwards with a shale on top of a
sandstone, the natural gas will rise upward since it is less dense than water, the gas is trapped by
the layer of shale.
Shale boundary
(roof rock) Oil
Rock Table of Contents
19. Extracting Earth’s Resources: Oil
 Once oil or gas is found beneath earth‟s surface by geologists, it
must be extracted. Usually this is done by drilling through the rock to
where the resource is trapped. When the well is completed, oil or gas
can flow into the well and the resources are pumped up to the
 Oil companies drill for oil, and they employ geologists who usually
Solitary oil rig pumping
identify the favorable areas that may have oil or gas. These geologists beneath the ground
include stratigraphers, sedimentologists, and geophysicists. Many (source: Wikipedia commons)
times, however, dry holes are drilled and geologists must move on to
other locations.
 In 2005, the United States produced an estimated 9 million barrels of crude oil per day and
imported 13.21 million barrels per day from other countries. This oil gets refined into gasoline,
kerosene, heating oil and other products. To keep up with our consumption, oil companies must
constantly look for new sources of petroleum, as well as improve the production of existing wells.
Current Event
 The U.S.‟s dependence on foreign oil, primarily from the Middle East, has
been a major concern for over 3 decades. Politicians have presented the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, home to thousands of migratory animals
and precious woodlands, as a potential source for American oil. If Congress
approves development, it would take 10 years for oil production to commence.
If production were to commence, oil production would peak at 780,000 barrels
per day in 19 years and decline to 710,000 barrels per day in 22 years.
Currently, the United States consumes about 20 million barrels of oil per day! The Arctic national Wildlife
Drilling for oil beneath the pristine tundra of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (source: U.S. fish and
Refuge would do little to ease world oil prices and destroy thousands of acres wildlife service)
of wilderness. Table of Contents
20. Extracting Earth’s Resources: Coal
 While oil and gas is pumped from the earth, coal is removed through excavation. Two common
methods are underground mining and strip mining, or open-pit mining.
Underground mining requires tunneling into the ground in a process called drift mining or slope
mining. This is a very dangerous process if done incorrectly or if the area is subject to earthquakes.
In addition, toxic methane and carbon monoxide gases are associated with coal mining.
 Strip mining: This method is used when the deposits are close to the surface. Layers of rock and
soil are dug up and the coal is removed, or stripped, before returning the rock and soil back to the
earth. Trees are re-planted in a processes called “land reclamation” and, if possible, a natural
habitat is re-introduced.
Current Event
 The Sago Mine disaster occurred in Sago, West
Virginia, on January 2, 2006. It was not a tunnel
collapse, but an explosion. The cause of the explosion is
still unknown; however, some think a lightning bolt
struck the mine and ignited a pocket of methane gas.
Thirteen men were trapped for over 2 days — only one
survived. The Sago coal mine, Sago, West Virginia
Table of Contents
21. Future Resources?
 Another type of energy source comes from nuclear
energy, which is produced from atomic reactions. Energy is
formed when a nucleus from a heavy element is split
creating lighter elements and releasing energy. The splitting
of heavy elements is called nuclear fission and often uses
Uranium-235 as the fuel to carry out the process.
Nuclear power plant
Unfortunately, uranium is a nonrenewable resource. In
addition, nuclear energy produces radioactive waste
products that stay radioactive for thousands of years.
Currently, research is ongoing in hopes of harnessing http://commons.wikim
nuclear fusion, the same process that fuels the sun, which The process of uclear_fission.svg
can create electricity without any waste. nuclear fission
 A potential fuel source currently undergoing research is “methane hydrate”. These resources are
located beneath the seafloor in the form of hydrocarbon ice. It is estimated that more carbon is
contained in methane hydrates than in all current fossil fuel deposits combined.
Resource vs. Reserve
 A resource is classified as a „reserve’ when the resource can be extracted for a profit using current
 Current reserves of coal will last about 250 years and natural gas can last the U.S. about 60 more
years. This is why is it imperative that we not only conserve nonrenewable resources today to
ensure their presence for future generations, but find alternate forms of fuel as well.
 Everybody can do their part to help conserve, even if it simply means turning off your bedroom
light or not using the air-conditioning if it‟s not necessary. Table of Contents 21
22. Using Renewable Resources
Because the world will not be able to depend on oil, gas, and coal forever, we must find other ways
to power the kind of life style that we are accustomed to.
Solar Power
 Solar energy is energy from the sun. We know that global wind
and ocean currents are powered by solar energy. More and more,
people are investing in solar panels on the roof of their home,
whereby solar cells actively collect energy and transform it into
 Unfortunately, solar cells work less efficiently on cloudy days and
not at all during the night. Batteries can be used to store solar
energy, but they cannot hold very much and disposing properly of
old batteries can be an issue.
Solar panels
(source: Wikepedia commons)
Wind Power
 Wind has been used fro thousands of years as a source of energy
on sailing ships and windmills to pump water. Today, windmills
can be used to generate electricity, usually located on a wind farm.
 Wind produces no waste; however, not many regions of the world
A wind farm
have strong and persistent enough winds to generate electricity.
(source: Wikepedia commons) Table of Contents 22
23. Water Power
 Water wheels have been used for over 100 years to help create
energy to ground grain or cut lumber, creating microhydropower.
 Hydroelectric energy is created releasing large amounts of water
through a man-made dam, which turn turbines, or generators, to
create electricity. Lake Murray Dam (photo right) in Columbia is
an example of a hydroelectric dam.
Dam and hydroelectric powerhouse
 Most hydropower dams in the U.S. were built in the mid-1900‟s and we are now learning about
the detrimental effects that they have on the environment, including sedimentation of the upstream
reservoir, migration of fish, and sediment starvation as far downstream as the coast!
Geothermal Energy
 Large reservoirs within the ground contain heated water from internal heat
in the earth. This heated water can create steam, thereby producing
geothermal energy.
 Only certain regions of the earth have these geothermal hotspots, usually
in tectonically active areas or volcanic areas, such as Hawaii and Iceland.
Yellowstone National Park would be a very good resource for geothermal
Biomass Energy
 While not heard about very often, biomass energy, which is energy
derived from burning organic material like wood, alcohol, or garbage, is
a common renewable energy resource. A drawback of burning these
items, however, is that particles are released into the atmosphere, 23
potentially increasing air pollution. Table of Contents 23
24. Metallic and nonmetallic resources
 We know that mineral resources include zinc, silver, copper, aluminum and many other metals
that we rely on everyday. Ores are deposits in which a mineral or minerals exist in large enough
amounts to be mined at a profit. Normally, these are metallic deposits.
 The key components of classifying a resource as an ore is that the mineral in question must be in
demand and enough of it must be present in the deposit to make it worth removing. Economic
factors, such as supply and demand, usually determines what is an ore and what is not.
 Extracting the resource, or separating it from the
surrounding rock, must be feasible. The waste rock is called
gangue. The separation process is called concentrating. The
next step, refining, is the step that produces the product from
the ore. Refining can be done by smelting, which removes
unwanted elements from the metal that is being processed.
This relies on chemical processes, but also on the burning of
fossil fuels in order to produce the heat for the smelting Vulcan Iron mine. (USGS)
 Unlike ores, which are mined for their metallic physical
properties, nonmetallic resources can be just as useful and Smelting
valuable. The two types of non-metallic mineral resources are process
1) industrial minerals and 2) building materials, although
some belong to both groups.
Table of Contents
25. Nonmetallic mineral resources
1. Industrial minerals include halite (table salt), silica (glass), and
sylvite (fertilizer). All naturally occurring minerals have a variety of
physical properties like hardness, texture, and cleavage, and these can
be used in a variety of everyday items. The mineral talc is very soft
and is used to make baby powder. In contrast, corundum is very hard
and scratches most other surfaces, so is a main ingredient in some
cleaning abrasives. Small garnets can be attached to paper to make
Table salt is made from
heavy duty sand paper. Kaolinite, which is has a very low Ph, is used
the mineral halite (NaCl)
in Kaopectate, to soothe stomach discomfort.
2. Building materials include crushed stone, gravel, and sand, also
known as aggregate. Aggregate is a component for making
concrete. Limestone is also used in concretes and paving stones.
Gypsum is used in dry wall and plaster. Metamorphic (marble),
igneous (granite), and sedimentary rock (sandstone) are used for
building material. Marble, which is metamorphosed limestone, is
used in statues and headstones.
A granite building with carved
Although metallic and nonmetallic resources come from the ground, these are nonrenewable
resources because they take millions to billions of years to form.
Table of Contents
26. South Carolina Science Academic Standards
Grade 3:
Standard 3-3: The student will demonstrate an understanding of Earth‟s composition and the changes that occur to the features of
the Earth‟s surface.
Indicators: Exemplify Earth materials that are used as fuel, as a resource for building materials, and as a medium for
growing plants.
Grade 7:
Standard 7-4: the student will demonstrate an understanding of how organisms interact with and respond to the biotic and abiotic
components of their environments (Earth Science, Life Science).
Indicator 7-4.6: Classify resources as renewable or nonrenewable and explain the implications of their depletion and
the importance of conservation.
Grade 5:
Standard 5.3: The student will demonstrate an understanding of features, processes and changes in Earth‟s land and oceans (Earth
Indicator: 5-3.6 Explain how human activity (including conservation efforts and pollution ) has affected the land and
oceans of the Earth.
Grade 8:
Standard 8-3: The student will demonstrate an understanding of materials that determine the structure of Earth and the processes
that have altered this structure (Earth Science).
Indicator 8-3.5: Summarize the importance of minerals, ores and fossil fuels as Earth resources on the basis of their
physical and chemical properties.
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