Environmental Science: A Summary of Natural Resources

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What is Natural resources?
Natural resources occur naturally within environments that exist relatively undisturbed by mankind, in a natural form. A natural resource is often characterized by amounts of biodiversity and geodiversity existent in various ecosystems. Natural resources are derived from theenvironment. Many of them are essential for our survival while others are used for satisfying our wants. Natural resources may be further classified in different ways.

Examples of Natural Resources
Some examples of natural resources include the following:
* Air, wind and atmosphere
* Animals
* Coal, fossil fuels, rock and mineral resources
* Forestry
* Ranges and pasture
* Soils
* Water, oceans, lakes, groundwater and rivers [3]
* Solar power

Difference between rocks an minerals?
A mineral is a solid formation that occurs naturally in the earth while a rock is a solid combination of more than one mineral formations which is also occurring naturally. A mineral has a unique chemical composition and is necessarily defined by its crystalline structure and shape. On the other hand, since a rock can be composed of several minerals it is classified according to the process of its formation. A rock can also contain organic remains and mineraloids apart from regular mineral formations. There are some rocks that may include just one mineral formation though. The commercial value of minerals is immense and rocks are mined to extract these minerals. Such rocks are known as ores and the residue of the rock after the mineral has been extracted is called tailing. The classification of rocks also depends on their mineral and chemical composition, texture and the process of formation. Rocks are therefore classified as igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic. A rock cycle defines how one rock form changes to another. For example, a sedimentary rock form is limestone that is composed only of the mineral calcite.
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