Planet Earth

Topics: Coal, Air pollution, Water Pages: 4 (733 words) Published: April 13, 2013
Joseph Yoon
Chapter 11

Fossil Fuels: combustible deposit found with Earth’s curst * Composed of remnants of prehistoric organisms that existed millions of years ago * Deposits are usually no older than 400 million years of age * Nonrenewable resources: finite, limited supply

* Types: coal, oil natural gas (methane)
* Lignite (lowest quality)
* Subbituminous coal
* Bituminous coal (sedimentary rock)
* Anthracite (highest quality- metamorphic rock)

Coal Reserves
* The most abundant fossil fuel in the world
* The United States has 25% of the world’s coal reserves * Coal reserves could last about 200 years at the present consumption levels. * Reserves could last upwards of 1000 years if new technology allows us to dig deeper and much more affordably.

Two Basic types of Coal Mining:
1) Subsurface mining
- 40% of coal mining in US
2) Surface mining
- Including mountaintop removal, strip mining
- 60% of coal mining in US
* Incased risk of cancer
* Black lung disease
Environmental Impacts of the Mining Process:
* Prior to 1977, most surface mines were abandoned
* Leading to water pollution and acid mine drainage
* Current law requires all surface mines to be reclaimed
* Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977
Environmental Impacts of Burning Coal:
* Increases co2 concentration in atmosphere
* Releases mercury into the atmosphere
* Lower quality coals release sulfur and nitrogen dioxides, causing acid deposition * NOx and SOx
Air Pollution
* Various chemicals added to the atmosphere by natural events or human activities in high enough concentrations to be harmful. * Primary air pollutions: are harmful chemicals that enter directly into the atmosphere * Secondary air pollution: are harmful stuff that are around, but not directly into the atmosphere * Major Classes if Air Pollutants

* Particulate matter
* Nitrogen oxides...
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