• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What natural resources does Antarctica have?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Antarctica is the southern-most continent on the Earth and the one that we know the least about geologically. Two factors make it difficult to study the geology and mineral resources of Antarctica. First, the cold temperatures and strong winds, along with the 24 hour period of darkness during the Antarctic winter, make it an inhospitable difficult place to work and collect geological data. Second, less than 3% of Antarctica is ice free, which makes the study of geology very difficult. What we know about the geology of Antarctica comes from studying the small percentage of rocks that are exposed either at the coast or the tops of mountain ranges which extend above the ice. Our understanding of the Antarctic region is based on the theory of plate tectonics. This theory argues that the earth's crust is made up of a series of pieces. Each piece is called a plate. These plates float on top of the mantle like rafts. Because of this theory, most geologists believe that up until about 180 million years ago, South America, Africa, India, Australia, and New Zealand were all joined together in one very large mass called Gondwanaland. ...read more.

Middle

One side argues by the time it is feasible to use an Antarctic resource, alternative sources will exist. Instead of using oil for energy there will be development of fusion reactors, solar, or geothermal energy. The other view is that increasing economic pressure will force mineral and oil exploration into more and more remote regions as resources are used up elsewhere. ICE: One of Antarctica's most important resources is ice. It is said that Antarctica's ice accounts for 90% of the world's fresh water. As a resource it has potential as a fresh water supply. Some people have considered towing icebergs from Antarctica to parts of the world in need of fresh water. At present the delivery costs make these ventures unprofitable. Another possible use of the ice on Antarctica is as a long term deep freeze storage site for grain and other foods. Again the costs of shipping and handling are currently prohibitive. COAL: There are coal deposits found along the coast of Antarctica. They are also wide-spread throughout the Trans-Antarctic Mountains. These deposits were formed between 35 million and 55 million years ago when Antarctica was covered by ancient swamps. ...read more.

Conclusion

METALLIC MINERALS: Mineral resources have not been found in great quantities so far due to the small amount of rock that is exposed. It is believed that, since the other continents that were once attached to Antarctica to form Gondwana have metallic and non-metallic minerals; Antarctica probably has similar supplies. It is also known that rock layers such as those in Antarctica commonly contain large amounts of cobalt, chromium, nickel, vanadium, copper, iron and platinum group minerals. The search for sizable concentrations of metallic minerals below the ice will be a difficult prospecting venture which would require costly geophysical and geochemical surveying and core drilling. Geologists have found small deposits of minerals in Antarctica but these deposits are low in quality and occur in widely scattered places. The peninsula seems to have the highest probability of containing economic base-metal deposits. Most of the minerals were formed or deposited during the formation of Antarctica and the other continents that made up Gondwana. Below is a table containing just 5 of the many metallic deposits geologists have speculated may lie under Antarctica's ice. Mineral Use Iron Steel Making Chromium Heat and Corrosion Resistant Steel Platinum Jewellery Copper Electrical Equipment and Alloys (Bronze) Nickel Stainless Steel With Technology advancing so fast, it will not be long before Geologists can ascertain what lie underneath the remaining 'untouched' continent. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Production - Location & Change section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Production - Location & Change essays

  1. The Role and Importance of Agriculture In the Carribean. Organisations involved in its ...

    The CEC cation exchange value can be used in evaluating soil fertility. Soils with higher CEC are usually more fertile for example soil with high clay and or organic matter content. Anion such as sulphates, nitrates and phosphates are not attach to the soil particles therefore they are easily leached from the soil.

  2. Why is Africa the least economically developed continent in the World?

    Processing industries developed, as did ports and administrative centers. Despite the expansion of commerce and industry and the importance of these activities to the economy, most Africans remain farmers and herders. South of the Sahara, shifting agriculture was popular; a method in which small areas were burned, cleared, and planted

  1. Scientific investigation of Antarctica

    (The claims had been made by Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, and Norway.) II THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT Antarctica exists today in an ice age. Future economic development of the ice-covered land mass is highly unlikely. Resource exploitation on the continental shelf is possible, but certainly not for many years to come.

  2. Opportunities in the big emerging markets (BEMs) such as India, Brazil and China.

    A CFJV in China can be an exciting and profitable enterprise for interested companies, particularly those in the advance technology, construction and manufacturing industries. Laws concerning corporations and commerce are developing quickly and the legal environment for foreign investment has improved tremendously.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work