Questions tagged [economic-geology]

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15 votes
5 answers
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Geothermal instead of fossil and nuclear?

Why aren't we taking advantage of geothermal heating to produce electricity around the world, instead of burning fossil fuels and using nuclear? Wouldn't it be a lot cheaper than building new power ...
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3 votes
1 answer
57 views

What questions to ask to students from a mineral guide dataset?

I am programming an app that consist in 180 mineral sheets of interest for geology students. My database have the following fileds: Identifier Name Name 2 Type Class Formula System Environment1 ...
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4 votes
2 answers
251 views

Interpreting Prospecting Ore Test Result

I need help in explaining the commercial viability of this potential Tantalum lab test result from Africa.
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4 votes
1 answer
40 views

Why were Fe-oxides not usually used for finding skarn Fe ore deposits in geochemical exploration?

I found that Fe-oxides were usually not used for vectoring Fe mineral deposits of skarn type in geochemical exploration. As an indicator element, the common practice told us Fe-oxides should be the ...
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1 vote
0 answers
28 views

Ore prospecting and the low-hanging fruit effect

I'm trying to acquire an understanding of how the difficulty of prospecting for useful ore has increased over historical timescales. Intuitively, I would expect that centuries or millennia ago, you ...
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1 vote
1 answer
54 views

Ore Deposit Identification

What type of ore deposit does this rock best represent? A rock with a porphyritic texture is cross cut by a stockwork of quartz veins. Bordering the veins is extensive alteration of the host rock. ...
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19 votes
3 answers
4k views

Are metals and other elements in every continent?

I originally thought that you can only find certain things like iron, copper, and other things in certain places in the world and deep in mines but I saw in a few YouTube videos that you can find iron ...
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0 votes
4 answers
382 views

Can garbage be sent into the (near-)center of the world?

I've been thinking about how difficult it is to eliminate toxic chemical waste -- it usually needs high temperatures and pressures. So: would it be feasible (and maybe cheaper) to send it into the ...
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1 vote
0 answers
67 views

What is the most expensive project related to Earth's geology and/or to engineering geology on the Earth? [closed]

Costs related to space exploration are well documented. However, what about the costs of Earth projects like dam/mines/tunnels? What has been the most expensive projects? I know that nuclear power ...
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  • 302
4 votes
1 answer
189 views

Are the precious metals (silver, gold, platinum) present everywhere throughout the Earth's crust at least in the trace quantities?

Do some rocks, soils, sands or waters exist that contain fewer than one atom of gold per cubic meter or tonne of their mass?
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7 votes
2 answers
596 views

Non-invasive techniques to find rock composition

If we had access to a totally new kind of rock (maybe a new meteorite), is it possible to tell what the rock is composed of without touching it / drilling into it? I'm thinking of something like ...
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4 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why does Morocco have so much phosphate?

I read that Morocco/Western Sahara has 75% of the world's known phosphate reserves, but I couldn't find an explanation of what mineral is responsible for it and how it all ended up there.
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0 answers
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What are the favourable conditions for the formation of porphyry copper deposits?

Favourable condition for the formation of porphyry copper deposits is : 1. Extremely low oxygen fugacity in initial magma 2. High water content in initial magma 3. Crystallization of magama at deep ...
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4 votes
1 answer
71 views

Is it feasible to 'harvest' the clathrates from the permafrost before they evaporate?

We can see that there are large buildups of methane clathrates in permafrost regions. Climate scientist James Hansen has predicted that the release of the permafrost methane clathrates could cause ...
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1 vote
1 answer
143 views

What is the Carbon Footprint of not changing car oil?

I am on my second vehicle that I have stopped changing my oil after the car has been broke in or around 90k. The first car I made it 400k miles before the rear end went out. The second car I'm at 130k ...
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0 votes
1 answer
113 views

How many mines are there on Earth, and what is their output in tonnes?

I am writing a space colonization game, and I need some guidance on default values for mine productivity. If you also know an estimate of how much people work on them, that's a bonus. Thanks in ...
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5 votes
2 answers
383 views

Why is lithium so unevenly distributed?

According to the US Geological Survey, nearly all of the world's lithium reserves are in Chile/Argentina, China, and Australia. Why is this? Lithium seems to be mostly harvested from brine pools, so ...
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5 votes
2 answers
1k views

Can I use diamonds as fossil fuel?

Aside from cultural implications (correct me if I'm wrong but artificial diamonds are not so hard to obtain, right?) diamonds are pure carbon and are more unstable than graphite. So, why not use ...
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6 votes
5 answers
265 views

Which Earth minerals would Moon colonists miss the most?

In my science-based novel, Moon colonists need to return to Earth to collect some rare or absent mineral(s) Ideally, something they could derive from seawater. Which minerals might they be...?
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7 votes
4 answers
935 views

Why is helium only found in wells mixed with natural gas?

Does all commercially available helium come from natural gas wells? Is it theoretically possible to have a pure helium well? Helium is produced by the radioactive decay of primordial uranium and ...
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1 vote
1 answer
1k views

How gold deposits can be formed in Himalayas?

I have heard that gold is found in the water coming out of glaciers in Skardu region of Pakistan. Given that this area is part of Himalaya, what processes could result into ores of gold in this area?...
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1 vote
2 answers
909 views

Specific Chemical Composition of Nero Marquina Marble

I'm looking to understand the chemical composition of the Spanish Nero Marquina Stone. Specifically, are the white veins of different composition than the black? We are design studio pursuing work in ...
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2 votes
1 answer
653 views

What does it take to make a diamond?

I have constantly been told through my K-12 Education that diamonds are a product of carbon, time, pressure, and temperature. If this is true, what is stopping someone from building a high-pressure, ...
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3 votes
4 answers
1k views

Importance of meteorite impact craters in geology?

What is the economic importance of large meteorite impact craters with a diameter over 100 m? Can they form diamonds or produce other economic deposits?
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3 votes
1 answer
54 views

Is there an estimation how much organic matter there is still in the ground?

Oil, gas and coal are produced from organic matter. But is there an estimation how much is there still under the Earth's surface?
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3 votes
1 answer
48 views

How should I start studying about 'successful transitions in post-drought economies'?

Accept my apologies for weak formulation of my question. I do not have any background in environmental sciences, but since recently a lot of coverage in the media has been devoted to future droughts ...
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16 votes
3 answers
29k views

How do geologists find ore deposits?

From my research, there is lots of information on how to extract ore, but I can't find any information on how these ore deposits are found in the first place, apart from 'looking for surface ...
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  • 263
11 votes
1 answer
823 views

The youngest and oldest source rock for hydrocarbons in economic quantities

Most famous and productive source rocks for hydrocarbons are Paleozoic or Mesozoic, but there are also examples from the Neogene. Time is needed for the rock to reach the right depth and temperature ...
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9 votes
1 answer
966 views

Why does Australia have extensive uranium ore deposits?

According to the World Nuclear Energy page about Australia's uranium deposits, the continent's known uranium resources are the world's largest – 31% of the world total. Of which In 2013 ...
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13 votes
2 answers
846 views

Are there known ore deposits under cities?

Occasionally there are news about a major ore deposit for a specific commodity being found. Some of these recent discoveries are underground, and the "geophysics" aspect of their exploration is more ...
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10 votes
2 answers
953 views

Where does the lithium in Salar de Uyuni comes from?

Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia holds a large percentage of the world's lithium reserves. Since the lithium is dissolved as LiCl in the brine, it makes extraction much easier than the alternative: Li ...
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11 votes
1 answer
212 views

When did/will peak conventional oil happen?

Global oil reserves are, for practical purposes, limited. We're using them at a rate far exceeding the rate of deposition. At some point, we will have to spend more energy to extract remaining ...
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9 votes
3 answers
8k views

Why is there so much oil in Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Canada, but almost none in Europe?

Why do some countries have a lot of oil reserves, while some others don't?
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8 votes
2 answers
282 views

What are the tectonic implications of the Quaternary Igwisi Hills, Tanzania, kimberlite volcanics?

The Igwisi Hills Kimberlite volcanic features in Tanzania are described in the article Mapping the Igwisi Hills kimberlite volcanoes, Tanzania: understanding how deep-sourced mantle magmas behave at ...
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12 votes
1 answer
112 views

viable geothermal energy supply from exhausted fracked gas wells?

The UK legislator with primary responsibility for energy has claimed that exhausted fracked natural-gas wells will be suitable for re-use as a geothermal energy supply (not necessarily geothermal for ...
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18 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why are minerals found in "large" quantities and not scattered throughout the earth as individual atoms?

Heavier elements are created in stars. After stars die they scatter these heavier elements throughout the universe. These elements eventually gather to form planets. But why do we find "chunks" of ...
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12 votes
1 answer
135 views

How much methane clathrates are buried in continental deposits?

Methane clathrates are solid clathrate compound (more specifically, a clathrate hydrate) in which a large amount of methane is trapped within a crystal structure of water, forming a solid similar ...
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13 votes
1 answer
5k views

What is it about ancient craton geology that results in associated kimberlite pipes containing economic diamond deposits?

According to the Australian Geological Survey Organisation paper Kimberlite and lamproite diamond pipes (Jaques, 1998), economic deposits of volcanically-formed diamonds are restricted to ancient ...
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12 votes
1 answer
290 views

How many joules are required to mine a unit of coal?

Coal is still a major source of energy for generation of electricity. So how much energy is used to extract a unit (tonne/kilogram etc) of coal? And thus what is the efficiency of coal as a source of ...
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18 votes
5 answers
36k views

Why do gold deposits form only in certain areas of the earth?

In the map above you can find that most elements are spread evenly throughout Earth's crust and that they are available all around the Earth. However, gold can only be found in certain areas of the ...
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21 votes
2 answers
3k views

In what geological situations can I find gold?

I've heard that gold ore is often associated with quartz veins. What geological processes enable gold particles to naturally cluster together like this? What characteristics/properties should I look ...
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20 votes
2 answers
1k views

How are the banded-iron-formation iron-ores formed?

Many of the richest and purest iron ores are found in so called banded iron formations, cm thick magnetite or hematite layers intermixed with iron poor rock layers. Since these are usually of pre-...
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20 votes
3 answers
1k views

What are rare earths and why do they cluster near alkaline magmatism?

'Rare earths' play a vital role in the modern economy, and they are becoming more of a point of focus in geopolitical realms. What are 'rare earths' and why do they appear to cluster in association ...
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