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Subsurface mining

Mining techniques used when the desired resource is more than 100m below the surface of the earth

Placer mining

A mining technique in which metals and precious stones are sought in river sediments

mountaintop removal

A mining technique in which the entire top of a mountain is removed with explosives

open-pit mining

A mining technique that uses a large pit or hole in the ground, visible from the surface of the earth

strip mining

The removal of strips of soil and rock to expose ore

Mining Spoils (Tailings)

Unwanted waste material created during mining


A concentrated accumulation of minerals from which economically valuable materials can be extracted

Soil Degradation

The loss of some or all of a soil's ability to support plant growth


The property of soil determined by relative proportions of sand,silt, and clay

parental material

Rock underlying soil; the material from which the inorganic components of a soil are derived


The accumulation or depositing of eroded material such as sediment, rock fragments, or soil

Acid rain

Precipitation high in sulfuric acid and nitric acid from reactions between sulfur dioxide and water vapor and nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere

Richter Scale

A scale that measures the largest ground movement that occurs during an earthquake


The exact point on the surface of Earth directly above the location where rock ruptures during an earthquake

divergent plate boundaries

An area beneath the ocean where tectonic plates move away from each other

convergent plate boundaries

An area where plates move toward one another and collide


The outermost layer of Earth, including the mantle and crust


The layer of Earth located in the outer part of the mantle, composed of semi-molten rock

plate tectonics

The theory that the lithosphere of earth is divided into plates, most of which are in constant motion


A fracture in rock caused by a movement of Earth's crust


The physical removal of rock fragments from a landscape or ecosystem

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