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25 votes
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Are metals and other elements in every continent?

Metals occur on every continent . The issue is whether or not they occur in sufficiently large deposits for them to be mined economically. The difference between a mineral deposit and an ore body is ...
Fred's user avatar
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20 votes

Geothermal instead of fossil and nuclear?

By way of example, the Habanero geothermal pilot plant was investigated in Australia from 2003 to 2013. It as a 1 MW plant in the Cooper Basin, in the central region of Australia. The heat source rock,...
Fred's user avatar
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16 votes

Are metals and other elements in every continent?

All stable elements (and the radioactive U and Th) exist everywhere on Earth. They're in the sand underneath your feet, they're in your bones, they're in the dust in the air, they're in the ocean. The ...
Gimelist's user avatar
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16 votes

Geothermal instead of fossil and nuclear?

We certainly couldn't replace all of the world's energy consumption with geothermal; there literally isn't enough energy coming out of the Earth. The mean thermal energy flow through continental ...
Michael Seifert's user avatar
13 votes

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

Helium is produced by the radioactive decay of primordial uranium and thorium. It should not be strongly associated with non-primordial 'fossil' hydrocarbons. The first statement is correct. The ...
David Hammen's user avatar
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12 votes
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Can I use diamonds as fossil fuel?

Diamonds are expensive. Really expensive. Even "cheap" synthetic diamonds are orders of magnitude more expensive than conventional fossil fuel. By using them as fuel, you will increase ...
Gimelist's user avatar
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11 votes
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Non-invasive techniques to find rock composition

You are looking for a portable XRF. It does (almost) exactly what you said. It sends electromagnetic radiation to the rock (X-rays), which excites electrons in the atoms and when they bounce back ...
Gimelist's user avatar
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8 votes

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

No. In fact, I don't know why David Hammen didn't say that instead of commenting. The deepest hole that mankind ever dug was barely a scratch on the Earth's surface when you look at its size. They ...
Bruzote's user avatar
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8 votes

Which Earth minerals would Moon colonists miss the most?

The composition of Moon rocks is pretty much the same as that of Earth. However, none of the processes that concentrate specific minerals in one location (i.e. into a mineral deposit useful for mining)...
Camilo Rada's user avatar
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7 votes

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

David Hammen's answer explains why He is extracted from natural gas. But, it is not found only there. Helium exists just about everywhere on earth. You find it in volcanoes, in subseafloor ...
Gimelist's user avatar
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6 votes

Which Earth minerals would Moon colonists miss the most?

It is unlikely anything other than salt would be derived from sea water. The largest deposit of gold is dissolved within the worlds oceans - in terms of tonnes of metal. The problem with extracting ...
Fred's user avatar
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5 votes
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Importance of meteorite impact craters in geology?

Impact diamonds Yes, diamonds can form in meteorite impacts. For this several things need to happen: A meteorite of the correct size and velocity, The stuff it hits needs to contain carbon. If you ...
Gimelist's user avatar
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5 votes

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

Skarn is metamorphosed sedimentary rock, it's iron deposits are in the form of sulfides. This means two things; There almost certainly will be iron oxide contamination throughout the unit, at least I ...
Ash's user avatar
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5 votes

Interpreting Prospecting Ore Test Result

One lab result does not an orebody make. In terms of economic potential nothing can be ascertained from data in the question. When it comes to minerals and economics there are two terms that need to ...
Fred's user avatar
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4 votes

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

I do agree with Gimelist how gold is accumulated through hydrothermal fluids, adding that the main driver is for this process is volcanism. There is, however, something interesting to be noted. We ...
Erik Bloem's user avatar
4 votes
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What does it take to make a diamond?

what is stopping someone from building a high-pressure, high-temperature system and dumping graphite in and making millions of diamonds? What is stopping someone from making these HPHT machines ...
Gimelist's user avatar
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4 votes

Why is lithium so unevenly distributed?

Start by reading my answer on a different website: https://chemistry.stackexchange.com/a/96630/8083 This is a quick explainer on what "reserves" actually are. Lithium is mined from two main sources:...
Gimelist's user avatar
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4 votes
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Why is lithium so unevenly distributed?

The term "reserves" doesn't mean what most people think it does. A mineral deposit is simply a concentration of a mineral; a reserve is a deposit that is both known and economical to extract. As an ...
Mark's user avatar
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4 votes

Are metals and other elements in every continent?

Part of the problem is in the question itself. In the title, you ask about "in every continent" while in the text, you imply that you are talking about smaller areas. One premise we can ...
Kevin Keane's user avatar
4 votes

Geothermal instead of fossil and nuclear?

Asking whether we can replace the major energy sources we are using today today with one single source is a flawed question. It is obvious that there is not one single solution and anything that can ...
FluidCode's user avatar
  • 231
4 votes
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Is or was there oil on Sakhalin?

Onshore oil deposits, on the island of Sakhalin have existed. The were discovered in 1928 by a Russian-Japanese venture. Oil production from onshore deposits began in 1930. There has been oil ...
Fred's user avatar
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4 votes
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Is there any iron ore in New Guinea?

The island of New Guinea is effectively divided into two entities, the country of Papua New Guinea occupies the eastern half and the Indonesian province of West New Guinea occupies the western half. ...
Fred's user avatar
  • 24.7k
3 votes

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

One of the flaws with using subduction zones as dumps for toxic chemicals so they can be broken down by heat and pressure at depth is the rate of sinking of the subducting plate. Subduction is a very ...
Fred's user avatar
  • 24.7k
3 votes

Non-invasive techniques to find rock composition

To piggyback on Gimelist's answer: Another important tool X-ray diffraction. XRD is used to determine crystalline structures. Specifically, XRD sees the dimensions of different crystals (and most "...
CPO's user avatar
  • 31
3 votes

Which Earth minerals would Moon colonists miss the most?

Which Earth minerals would Moon colonists miss the most? tl;dr All of them. As mentioned in the other answers here, it's about economics. Extracting an element from a mineral requires energy, ...
Gimelist's user avatar
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3 votes
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Which Earth minerals would Moon colonists miss the most?

Feels like a space-ex question and I think a fair bit is likely to be missed in my post, but it's a fun question, so: The biggest problem with the Moon is no atmosphere. Other problems are no ...
userLTK's user avatar
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3 votes

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

The helium in natural gas wells is created from uranium and thorium (as you correctly state) contained in the underlying granite basement rock or radioactive black shales that allows the natural gas ...
BillDOe's user avatar
  • 2,187
3 votes

Interpreting Prospecting Ore Test Result

In all likelihood it has no commercial viability in Africa. The lack of infrastructure will be a very large barrier to any production. No comment on political instability. To illustrate: in about 1970 ...
blacksmith37's user avatar
  • 1,043
2 votes

Are there known ore deposits under cities?

Quite a few cities were built overtop of ore deposits. They often started out as a series of small workings and larger, deeper deposits were found as the cities grew up to support the mining. An ...
haresfur's user avatar
  • 4,419
2 votes

Importance of meteorite impact craters in geology?

Nowadays impact craters are of little significance. Back in the Hadean era of early planetary crust formation, bolide impacts were the defining process of planetary evolution. As for diamonds, one ...
Gordon Stanger's user avatar

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