Alyssa and Julia

Surface vs. Subsurface

Surface mining is when a mineral bed is near or on Earth's surface. It is cheaper and safer than subsurface mining.

Subsurface mining is when the mineral bed is hundreds of feet in Earth's crust. To dig this deep, the miners need to make tunnels supported with blocks of wood.

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Surface Mining

Strip Mining: To strip mine, remove a strip of land that is rich in minerals. It is used mainly for coal. It destroys the land and topsoil of the strip used.


Open Pit Mining: To open pit mine, they make a pit and extract minerals until there are no minerals left. This effects the surface and groundwater.


Mountain Top Removal: The miners destroy the surface of a mountain, tearing up trees and bushes. Holes are made to find the coal in a mountain. This explodes the top of mountains off of the mountain. It flattens the mountains and pushes rock and debris into valleys, harming the area around it.


Subsurface Mining

Slope Mining: Slope mining is when a conveyor belt brings coal and other resources at a slanted angle from the Earth.

Shaft Mining: Shaft mining is when a conveyor belt brings coal and other resources at a vertical angle from the Earth.

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Drift Mining: Drift mining is a horizontal passage into a mine.


For all subsurface mining, they damage the environment and cause cracks in the ground. They create holes and tunnels underground. It can also harm the people in the surrounding area.


Fracking is drilling in Earth's crust to release the natural gas inside of it. To do this, a mixture of high-pressure water is directed at the rocks. The diagram shows this process and how it is done. It uses a ton of water and causes water pollution. Some say fracking can cause small Earth tremors.


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