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Environmental Science Worksheet Essay

1800 words - 8 pages

University of Phoenix Material

Environmental Resources Worksheet

Using the assigned readings from Week Four, write a 50- to 75-word response to each of the following questions. Your responses will be assessed according to the accuracy of the content.

Minerals

How do minerals affect society?
The extraction, processing, and disposal of minerals clearly harm the environment. Mining disturbs and damages the land, and the processing and disposal of minerals pollute the air, soil, and water. Although pollution can be controlled and damaged lands can be restored, these remedies are costly. Mining has contaminated thousands of kilometers of streams and rivers in the United States. ...view middle of the document...

Open-pit surface mining, in which a giant hole, called a quarry, is dug in the ground to extract the minerals. In strip mining, a trench is dug to extract the minerals, then anew trench is dug parallel to the old one, and the overburden from the new trench is put into the old one, creating a hill of loose rock called a spoil bank. In a shaft mine, a hole is dug straight through the overburden to the ore, which is removed up through the shaft in buckets
.1 What effect does extracting minerals have on the environment?

Surface mining destroys vegetation across large areas, increasing erosion. Open-pit mining uses huge quantities of water. Mining also affects water quality. Acid mine drainage is pollution caused when dissolved toxic materials wash from mines into nearby lakes and streams. Rainwater seeping through the sulfide minerals in mine waste produces sulfuric acid, which dissolves the heavy metals and other toxic substances in the spoil banks. These acids, called acid mine drainage, are highly toxic and are washed into soil and water, including groundwater, by precipitation runoff.

Soil

.1 What is your definition of soil? What is soil composed of? Why is soil important to the environment?

The relatively thin surface layer of Earth's crust is soil, which consists of mineral and organic matter modified by the natural actions of agents such as weather, wind, water, and organisms. Soil is composed of four distinct parts: mineral particles, organic matter, water, and air. Vast numbers and kinds of organisms, mainly microorganisms, inhabit soil and depend on it for shelter, food, and water. Plants anchor themselves in soil, and from it they receive essential minerals and water. Terrestrial plants could not survive without soil, and because we depend on plants for our food, humans could not exist without soil either.

What types of organisms are found in soil? Determine the relationship between soil and organisms.
The diversity of life in fertile soil includes plants, algae, fungi, earthworms, flatworms, roundworms, insects, spiders and mites, bacteria, and burrowing animals such as moles and groundhogs. The relationship between soil and organisms is that soil organisms provide several essential ecosystem services, such as maintaining soil fertility, preventing soil erosion, breaking down toxic materials, and cleansing water

What is soil erosion? How can soil become polluted? What effect does soil erosion and pollution have on the environment?
Water, wind, ice, and other agents promote soil erosion, a natural process often accelerated by human activities. Water and wind are particularly effective in moving soil from one place to another. Rainfall loosens soil particles, which are transported by moving water. Wind loosens soil and blows it away, particularly if the soil is barren and dry. Soil erosion reduces fertility because essential minerals and organic matter are removed. Erosion causes...

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