Mining - Dangers of Fracking

Cayleigh Brown, Lauren Knepp, Ellie Georgeson

Surface vs. Subsurface

SURFACE

  • Most common type is area stripping -> used on a flat terrain

  • Used to mine coal and brown coal

  • The bucket wheel excavators move 12000 cubic meters of earth per hour
SUBSURFACE
  • Requires digging into the earth to reach buried ore deposits

  • Also known as underground mining

  • Ore and waste rock are brought to the surface afterwards through tunnels and shafts

Strip

  • Removing a long strip of soil and rock layers

Environmental effects: destroys forests, landscapes, and wildlife at the mining site and when the topsoil is removed which leads to erosion and destruction of of agriculture land

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Open Pit

  • A method of removing rocks or minerals from earth through a open pit or borrow

Environmental Effects: erosion, formation of sinkholes, loss of biodiversity, and contamination of soil and groundwater.
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Mountain Top Removal

  • A type of coal mining where explosives are used to blow “overburden” off the top of the mountain

  • Can reach coal 400 feet underneath the earth

  • Negatively affects the environment-> major changes in topography and disturbance of already existing environments and habitats

Environmental effects: ruins the headwaters and poisons the streams, has destroyed 1.4 million acres of Appalachian forests
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Slope

  • Uses diagonally sloping access shafts

Environmental Effects: damages water sources, ruins wildlife and habitats.
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Drift

  • Uses horizontal access tunnels

Environmental Effects: damages water sources, ruins wildlife and habitats.
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Shaft

  • Uses vertical access shafts

Environmental Effects: damages water sources, ruins wildlife and habitats.
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Fracking

  • The process of injecting fluid into high pressure ground area to fracture shale rocks to release gas

  • Water brought in is mixed with sand and chemicals to create fracking fluid about 40,000 gallons of chemicals are used per fracturing.

  • 600 chemicals are used in fluid fracking including lead, mercury, hydrochloric acid, methanol

  • 72 trillion gallons of water and 360 billion gallons of chemicals are needed to run our current of chemicals

Environmental Effects:
  • Methane gas and toxic chemicals leach out from the system and contaminate nearby groundwater.

  • Methane concentrations are 17x higher in drinking-water wells near fracturing sites than in normal wells.

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