Types of Mining and Fracking

Makenna Lanier and Madison Nygren

Surface Mining vs Subsurface Mining

Surface mining is used when materials are easily accessed on or near the top of the surface of the earth's crust. Subsurface mining is used when minerals need to be extracted from deeper inside of the earth, and different methods are used to more efficiently access them.

Types of Surface Mining

In STRIP mining, you remove the top layer of rock and soil from an area and collect the minerals. Strip mining can destroy landscapes and wildlife habitats.

In OPEN PIT mining a literal, open pit is used to extract rocks and minerals. Open pit mining can cause erosion to take place and sinkholes to form.

In MOUNTAIN TOP REMOVAL the tops of mountains are blown off and the excess is dumped in nearby valleys. The landscape must be restructured in order to reach the strip of coal. Mountain Top Removal can destroy forests and bury streams.

Types of Subsurface Mining

In SLOPE mining, valuable materials are accessed through shafts located on a sloping surface. Slope mining can cause runoff to become contaminated by chemicals located on the slope of the mine.

In DRIFT mining, deposits of valuable materials are accessed underground, through entries above sea level. Drift mining can cause erosion of soil on top of the access entry, without layers of support underneath it can wash away easily.

In SHAFT mining, is the extraction of valuable minerals through a vertical tunnel starting above the surface of earth.


FRACKING is when liquid is pushed into hole is the ground at high pressures, causing them to break and release the gas that they contain. Water is mixed with sand and chemicals to produce the liquid that is pumped down through the holes. The pressure of this mixture then causes the rock to crack and release gas into a well. Fracking can cause the air to become contaminated, acid rain and unsafe ozone. It can also contaminate drinking water.