Types of Mining and Fracking

By Annie and Jordan

Surface Vs. Subsurface Mining

There are two types of mining: surface and subsurface. Surface Mining occurs when the minerals being mined are close to the surface while Subsurface Mining is when the minerals are far below the surface. Surface mining falls into 3 categories: Strip, Open Pit, and Mountaintop Removal.

  • Open Pit Mining is when the overburden is removed and explosives are used break apart the ore bed and the diameter and depth expands.
  • Strip Mining is similar to Open Pit Mining at first, but there are two parallel tunnels in which one's waste goes into the others and the process is repeated.
  • Mountaintop Removal is where, literally, the mountain's top is removed until all of the minerals have been excavated.

Subsurface Mining also has 3 different categories.

  • Slope The tunnels used to access the minerals slope diagonally.
  • Drift This has horizontal access tunnels.
  • Shaft This has vertical access tunnels.


Fracking is when you drill and inject fluids into the ground so that the pressure is high enough for the shale rocks to fracture and release the natural gases that are inside of them. Fracking is harmful to the environment because it uses a lot of water and it can release harmful carcinogens and toxins into the atmosphere.
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