Types of Mining and Fracking

Felicia and Natalie


The process or industry of obtaining coal or other minerals from a mine

Types of Mining

  • Surface: when soil and rock overlying the mineral deposit are removed
  • Subsurface: when minerals are extracted from underground

Differences between Surface and Subsurface Mining


  • Safer and easier
  • Does more damage
  • Creates more of a mess


  • Not as much damage
  • Difficult
  • Expensive
  • Very dangerous

Surface Mining

Subsurface Mining

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The process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside

Steps of Fracking:

  1. A well is drilled vertically to the desired depth, then turns ninety degrees and continues horizontally for several thousand feet into the shale believed to contain the trapped natural gas.
  2. A mix of water, sand, and various chemicals is pumped into the well at high pressure in order to create fissures in the shale through which the gas can escape.
  3. Natural gas escapes through the fissures and is drawn back up the well to the surface, where it is processed, refined, and shipped to market.
  4. Wastewater (also called "flowback water" or "produced water") returns to the surface after the fracking process is completed. In Michigan, this water is contained in steel tanks until it can be stored long-term by deep injection in oil and gas waste wells.

Effects of Fracking on the Environment

-Releases harmful VOCs

-Up to 600 types of chemicals are used

-About 40,000 gallons of chemicals are used each time

-Groundwater can be contaminated

-Methane gas and toxic chemicals leach out from the system and contaminate nearby groundwater

-Methane concentrations 17x higher than usual

-Causes sensory, respiratory, and neurological damage

-Methane emissions from wells raise global warming concerns.