Minerals & Energy

The earth’s resources of water, soil, energy, and minerals are the basis of our modern civilization and a consequence of major earth processes.  Understanding the processes that produce resources provides a basis for understanding historical and future resource use and a fascinating window into the operation of the atmosphere-ocean-biosphere-solid earth system.  This lecture series proceeds from fundamental principles, describes the major categories of resources, and explores associated social and political issues, with a focus on how humanity can best be supplied with its energy and mineral needs.  A familiarity with physics, chemistry, and math at an introductory level is assumed.  An introductory geology background is helpful but not necessary.

Lecture 1: Our current situation (Skeptical Environmentalist, Club of Rome, The Ultimate Resource)

Lecture 2: Earth Energetics (Energy: the basis for everything)

Lecture 3: Resource needs and supply (mineral needs for energy, calculating minimum energy needs following MacKay)

Lecture 3s:  Whither Mongolia?

Lecture 4: Natural Climate Change

Lecture 5: Anthropogenic Climate Change

Lecture 6: Constant Human Change (a brief history of humanity)

Lecture 7: Economic Analysis (how we make decisions)

Lecture 7s0: NPV – simple mine example

Lecture 7s1: unitized cost of electricity excel spreadsheet

Lecture 7s2: Net Present Value Homework

Lecture 7s3: Homework Answers

Lecture 8: Can we sustain 10+ billion?

Lecture 9: Food, Water, Fertilizer

Lecture 10: Placer Gold- the Rand

Lecture 11: Uranium Placers, The Oklo Reactor, Life and the start of organic reduction

Lecture 12: Iron (iron, cold iron, is the master of them all)

Lecture 13: The history of oil (The Prize)

Lecture 14: How petroleum is produced in nature, and how much do we have

Lecture 15: The Marcellus shale (gas, gas everywhere, issues and non-issues)

Lecture 16 and 17:  Sedimentary copper and base metal deposits (the Kupferschiefer, Mississippi Valley or MVT lead Zinc Deposits)

Lecture 18 and 19: Volcanic-associated Massive Sulfide or VMS deposits

Lecture 19s: Ocean Resources, the Law of the Sea, REE resources

Lecture 20: Geothermal and Bonanza Gold

Lecture 21: The Giant Porphyry Coppers

Lecture 22: Magmatic (flood basalt) Nickel

Lecture 23: Heap Leaching and Acid Mine Drainage

Lecture 24: Radioactive Waste Disposal