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Geo-Words

Geological and Mining Terms

Aggregates

In construction, rock fragments that range from sand-sized grains to gravel-sized.

Alloy

A compound of two or more metals, usually produced by fusion.

Anode

A rectangular plate of copper (or other metal) cast in a shape suitable for electrorefining.

Asphalt

A caramel-like hard or solid form of petroleum.

Atmosphere

Gaseous mass surrounding Earth’s surface.

Bit

The cutting edge of a boring instrument. In rock drilling, it is frequently made with ultra-hard material such as diamonds or tungsten carbide.

Blast hole

A hole drilled for the purpose of blasting rather than for exploration or geological information.

Clay

Natural materials composed of very small mineral particles which can be molded when wet.

Coal

Black combustible rock consisting mainly of carbon derived from ancient compressed layers of organic vegetation.

Concentrate

A product containing the valuable metal from which most of the waste material in ore has been eliminated.

Core

The central region or nucleus of the Earth which is divided into an inner and outer core. The inner core is thought to be solid and the outer is thought to be liquid. ‘Core’ is also a term used in mining to describe a long cylinder of rock, recovered through drill sampling.

Crude

Oil that comes straight out of the ground as a liquid. Crude can come in a range of compositions and colours.

Crusher

A machine used for crushing rock.

Crust

The outermost layer or shell of the Earth which varies from 6 to 60 kilometres in depth/thickness.

Diamond

A mineral form of the element ‘carbon’. Clear varieties are valued as gems.

Earth Science

The study of Earth and all of its materials both above and below the Earth’s surface.

Element

The basic building block of ‘matter’.

Erosion

The breaking down and subsequent removal of either rock or earthy surface material by the forces of nature.

Geology

The study of the planet Earth, specifically its properties, and the related science, history, research and exploration of how and where those properties developed over time.

Granite

A common igneous rock.

Gravel

An unconsolidated or loose natural accumulation of rounded rock fragments which are coarser than sand.

Hardness Scale

A scale used to measure the hardness of any mineral material, also referred to in geology as the Mohs' Scale.

Hematite

A mineral composed of iron oxide.

Hydrocarbons

Chemical compounds of the elements, hydrogen and carbon.

Hydrosphere

A term referring to the waters of the Earth.

Igneous Rock

‘Extrusive’ igneous rock is rock formed as a result of magma being forced out of the Earth’s crust and hardening on the surface. ‘Intrusive’ igneous rock is rock formed as a result of magma solidifying within the Earth’s crust.

Industrial Minerals

A group of minerals and rocks, largely non-metallic, that are of economic value (e.g., gravel, sand, clay, potash, building stone).

Inorganic matter

Materials that are not derived from living organisms.

Lava

Magma forced through volcanic action to the Earth’s surface.

Lithosphere

The solid outermost shell of the Earth.

Lustre

The way light reflects from a mineral surface.

Magma

Molten rock formed in the interior of the Earth.

Magnetism

The ability of a mineral to be attracted to a magnet.

Malleable

Capable of being shaped by a hammer.

Mantle

The layer of the Earth’s interior that separated the crust and core.

Metallurgy

The various methods of preparing metals for use by separating them from their ores.

Metamorphic Rock

Rock that has been altered by heat, pressure, or hot molten rock like magma from the Earth’s interior.

Mineralogist

A scientist who studies the properties of minerals.

Minerals

Naturally occurring chemical elements or compounds with a crystal-like structure.

Natural Resource

Any raw material that is used to meet human needs.

Non-Renewable Resource

A resource that cannot be replaced within a human’s lifetime.

Ore

A natural concentration of minerals which can be mined with profit.

Petroleum

A complex mixture of chemicals, containing both oil and gas, made up of the elements hydrogen and carbon (combined as chemical compounds called hydrocarbons).

Prospector

A person who searches for mineral deposits.

Pyrite

A bright brass-yellow mineral often called ‘Fool’s Gold’ and made up of the elements iron and sulphur.

Reclamation

The reclaiming and reuse of materials from waste products from a mining operation or the restoration of land areas once used for extracting natural resources.

Renewable Resource

A resource that can be replaced within a human's lifetime.

Rock Cycle

A sequence of events explaining how rock can change (e.g., from sedimentary rock to metamorphic rock).

Rock Quarry

A surface pit site for the extraction of rock.

Sedimentary Rock

Rock formed during the compression and cementation staged of loose sediments (e.g. sandstone) or by deposition from a solution (e.g. salt).

Seismic

A term used to describe any phenomena related to vibrations caused by earthquakes.

Shaft

A vertical or inclined excavation for the purpose of opening and servicing a mine.

Silt

Very fine particles of rock fragments between sand and clay sizes, which are often carried by moving water and deposited as sediment.

Sustainable Development

Sustainable development is the development of industry and natural resources in such a way as not to damage the ability of future generations to meet their basic needs for food, shelter, products, etc. (see The Green Mining Initiative Video)

Tailings

Material which is rejected from a mill after the recoverable valuable minerals have been extracted.

Vein

Mineral filling that fills a crack in a rock, or masses of rock which occupy fissures in other rocks. Veins may have originated in many different ways and can present a great variety of forms and structures. They are often classified in three groups: (i.) veins of igneous rock, (ii.) of sedimentary, and (iii.) of minerals deposited by water or by gases.

 

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