Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources A renewable resource can be replenished over fairly short time spans such as months, years, or decades. By contrast, a nonrenewable resource takes millions of years to form and accumulate.
Fossil Fuels A fossil fuel is any hydrocarbon that may be used as a source of energy. They include coal, oil, and natural gas.
Coal Coal forms when heat and pressure transform plant material over millions of years. Power plants primarily use coal to generate electricity.
Petroleum and Natural Gas Petroleum and natural gas form from the remains of plants and animals that were buried in ancient seas. Petroleum formation begins when large quantities of plant and animal remains become buried in the ocean floor sediments.
Tar Sands and Oil Shale Energy experts believe that fuels derived from tar sands and oil shales can become good substances for dwindling petroleum supplies.
Tar Sands Usually mixtures of clay and sand combined with water and varying amounts of black, thick tar called bitumen. Mining tar sand causes substantial land disturbance.
Oil Shale Oil shale is a rock that contains a waxy mixture of hydro carbons called kerogen. It can be mined and heated to vaporize the kerogen.
Formation of Mineral Deposits Practically every manufactured product contains substances that come from minerals. Ore is a useful metallic mineral that can be mined for a profit.
Mineral Resources and Igneous Processes Igneous processes produce important deposits of minerals such as gold, silver, mercury, lead, platinum, and nickel.
Hydrothermal Solutions Generate some of the most best-known ore deposits. Most form from hot, metal-rich fluids that are left during the late stages.
Placer Deposits Form when eroded heavy minerals settle quickly from moving water while less dense particles remain suspended and continue to move.
Nonmetallic Mineral Resources Nonmetallic mineral resources are extracted and processed either for the nonmetallic elements they contain or for their physical and chemical properties.