Types of Mining and Fracking

Robin Batsuli, Elizabeth Durkee, Heli Kavi

Surface Mining

There are three types of surface mining: strip mining, open pit mining and mountaintop removal series. Soil and rock on top of the mineral are moved to extract the resource.

Effects: For strip mining, scraping away layers of the Earth destroys landscapes and leads to soil erosion. This destroys agricultural land. For all types of mining, chemical contamination from the extraction can also destroy the land. The dust and noise pollution from heavy machinery is problematic as well.

Subsurface Mining

There are three types of subsurface mining: slope, drift and shaft. Subsurface mining is digging tunnels into the earth to reach mineral deposits. The ore is brought to the surface through the shafts.

Effects: Underground mining can cause waste to be brought up to the surface. The mine could collapse and cause serious damages to the surroundings. Coal mining also creates greenhouse gases.


Drilling and injecting liquid into the ground to break shale rocks and release the natural gas stored inside. During this process, we burn gallons of chemicals. Harmful chemicals such as methane, lead, hydrochloric acid, radium, mercury etc. Hundreds of trucks are required to take supplies to the site of the fracking, which wastes gas and causes pollution.

Fracking causes controversy because as we find this new resource, we also waste water and release carcinogenic chemicals. 1-8 million gallons of water are used EACH fracking job. 40,000 gallons of chemicals are used for each fracking job. This process can also cause small earth tremors. It distracts us from finding a renewable and non-damaging resource. Fracking also has advantages such as making oil production go up and reducing gas prices. However, the source of oil is not permanent.