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Figure 1. Aluminum is made from the aluminum-bearing minerals in bauxite. Some minerals are very useful. An ore is a rock that contains minerals with useful elements. Aluminum in bauxite ore figure 1 is extracted from the ground and refined to be used in aluminum foil and many other products.
The cost of creating a product from a mineral depends on how abundant the mineral is and how much the extraction and refining processes cost. It is important to use mineral resources wisely. Geologic processes create and concentrate minerals Find Mineral are valuable natural resources. Geologists study geological formations and then test the physical and chemical properties of soil and rocks to locate possible ores and determine their size and concentration.
A mineral deposit will only be mined if it is profitable. A concentration of minerals is only called Find Mineral ore deposit if it is profitable to mine. There are many ways to mine ores. Overlying rock is blasted and the rock that contains the valuable minerals is placed in a truck and taken to a refinery. As pictured in figure 2, surface mining includes open-pit mining and mountaintop removal.
Other methods of surface mining include strip mining, placer mining, and dredging. Strip mining is like open pit mining but with material removed along a strip. Figure 2. Placers are valuable minerals found in stream gravels. The gold weathered out of hard metamorphic rock in the western Sierra Nevada, which also contains deposits of copper, lead, zinc, silver, chromite, and other valuable minerals.
The gold traveled down rivers and then settled in gravel deposits. Currently, California has active mines for gold and silver and for non-metal minerals such as sand and gravel, which are used for construction. Miners blast and tunnel into rock to gain access to the ores.
How underground mining is approached — from above, below, or sideways — depends on the placement of the ore body, its depth, concentration of ore, and the strength of the surrounding rock. Underground mining is very expensive and dangerous. Fresh air and lights must also be brought into the tunnels for the miners, and accidents are far too common.
Figure 3. The de Young Museum in San Francisco is covered in copper panels. Copper is mined and extracted from copper ores. Rocks are crushed so that the valuable minerals can be separated from the waste rock. Then the minerals are separated out of the ore. A few methods for extracting ore are:. Extracting metal from rock is so energy intensive that if you recycle just 40 aluminum cans, you will save the energy equivalent of one gallon of gasoline.
Although mining provides people with many Find Mineral resources, the environmental costs can be high. Surface mining clears the landscape of trees and soil, and nearby streams and lakes are inundated with sediment. Pollutants from the mined rock, such as heavy metals, enter Find Mineral sediment and water system. Acids flow from some mine sites, changing the composition of nearby waterways figure 4. This is not true of older mines.
Pits may be refilled or reshaped and vegetation planted. Pits may be allowed to fill with water and become lakes or may be turned into landfills. Underground mines may be sealed off or left open as homes for bats. Some minerals are valuable because they are beautiful. Jade has been used for thousands of years in China.
Diamonds sparkle on many engagement rings. Minerals like jade, turquoise, diamonds, and emeralds are gemstones. A gemstoneor gem, is a material that is cut and polished for jewelry. Many gemstones, including many in figure 5, are minerals.
Gemstones are usually rare and do not break or scratch easily. Most are cut along cleavage faces and then polished so that light bounces back off the cleavage planes figure 6. Light does not pass through gemstones that are opaque, such as turquoise. Figure 6. Uncut left and cut right ruby. The cut and polished ruby sparkles. Gemstones are not just used in jewelry. Diamonds are used to cut and polish other materials, such as glass and metals, because they are so hard. Find Mineral mineral corundum, of which ruby and sapphire are varieties, is used in products such as sandpaper. Minerals are used in much less obvious places.
The mineral gypsum is used for the sheetrock in homes. Window glass is made from sand, which is mostly quartz. Halite is mined for rock salt. Copper is used in electrical wiring, and bauxite is the source for the aluminum used in soda cans.
Geological Implications. Search for:. Figure 4. Acid drainage from a surface coal mine in Missouri. Figure 5. Gemstones come in many colors. s and Attributions. CC d content, Shared ly.Find Mineral
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