Mining and Fracking

Joel and Nathan

Differences between Surface and Subsurface Mining

The difference between surface and subsurface mining is surface mining is used where the ore or material to be extracted is located fairly close to the surface. The overlying ground cover is removed, material mined, and the ground cover is ordinarily replaced. Surface mining is safer and or easier than subsurface mining, does more damage and creates less of a mess. Subsurface mining is used in veins deep beneath the surface, or obstructed (by rock layers, water tables) in a way that make surface access impractical. Subsurface is expensive and has very dangerous conditions including releasing gases.

Surface Mining

Surface mining is a system of mining used to extract resources that are near the surface of the earth. There are many types of surface mining, the most common types are strip mining and open pit mining. Strip mining works by taking off layers of earth and extracting the ore from them. Open pit mining involves making cuts in the ground and working around their circumference. While relatively inexpensive, surface mining is extremely harmful to the environment by destroying topsoil and landscapes.

Strip Mining

Process involves the method of extracting the mineral by removing soil and rock which are deposited on the surface. Strip mining destroys landscapes, forests and wildlife habitats at the site of the mine when trees, plants, and topsoil are cleared from the mining area. This leads to soil erosion and destruction of agricultural land.

Big image
Strip mining destroys environments and landscapes.

Open Pit Mining

Extracting rock or minerals from the earth by their removal from an open pit or borrow. This method requires tunneling into the Earth. Used when deposited on commercially useful minerals of rocks are found near the surface. Dangerous because when rock is crushed, these rocks expose radioactive elements. During separation rocks slurries (mixes of pulverized producing toxic and radioactive elements from these liquids.
Big image

Mountain Top Removal

Involves the mining of summit or summit ridge of a mountain. Coal seams are extracting from a mountain by removing the land, or burden above the seams. Displaying earth goes into valleys affecting the streams that run them. The dust blown into the air on the mountain top removal sites, meanwhile, is suspected to be unhealthy for mine workers and nearby communities.
Big image

Subsurface Mining

Subsurface mining involves digging holes and shafts into the earth to retrieve ore. Subsurface mining is used to get gold, zinc, and copper, etc. All types of subsurface mining are very bad for the environment, and also for humans, because the toxic water ends up under ground. The toxic water flows in the rivers and streams, which harms wildlife. Also, the air deep in the mines is very toxic and can cause lung cancer.
Big image

Slope Mining

Slope mining is a type of subsurface mining which involves digging a tunnel at an angle into the ground until it reaches the desired drilling location. This is different from tunnel and shaft mining because the tunnel is at an angle and not directly horizontal or straight down.
Big image

Drift Mining

Similar to slope mining, drift mining also works through a tunnel that is dug close to horizontally into the ground near a vein of coal or ore. Drift tunnels tend to be much flatter and closer to the vein than slope tunnels however.
Big image


Fracking, which is short for Hydraulic fracturing, is a process where fluid is injected into the ground at extremely high pressure to break shale rocks and release natural gas. The process requires around 8 million gallons of water. This water is mixed with chemicals, many of which are known carcinogens to create fracking fluid. The fluid is injected into 10,000 feet of rock where it cracks the shale and releases natural gas. Fracking release lots of methane, which contaminates groundwater which is often sent to cities, causing damage to humans.
Big image