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Earth and Human Activity: Home

Project Guidelines

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Your class has been asked to create an advertisement for natural resources.  Your job is to select and research one natural resource and prepare an informational tour that describes the resource, its current global supply, opportunities and obstacles to its use, and its importance to the world.  Should we protect this resource or exploit it?

1’s                            2’s                             3’s

Gold                    Titanium                    Coal

Silver                 Aluminum                 Uranium

Quartz                Iron                            Lithium

Zinc                    Nickel                         Magnesium

Copper              Zinc                             Petroleum

*Diamonds     *Coal                         *Natural Gas

                           *Oil                              *Groundwater

*Nixon’s classes only




Geology is the study of our planet, Earth.

  • How it was made
  • What it is made of
  • How it has changed over time

In more scientific terms, geology is the study of the Earth's origin, structure, composition and history, (including the development of life) and the nature of the processes which have given rise to the Earth as we know it today.

In geology, rock is a naturally occurring mixture of minerals. The Earth's crust is made of rock.

Natural forces have the power to change our landscape by weathering, erosion and deposition.

Resources are materials found in the environment that humans use for food, fuel, clothing, and shelter. These include water, soil, minerals, vegetation, animals, air, and sunlight. People require resources to survive and thrive.

Resource distribution refers to the geographic occurrence or spatial arrangement of resources on earth. In other words, where resources are located. Any one place may be rich in the resources people desire and poor in others.

Geological Sites Around the World

Geologic Time Scale 

U.S. Geological Survey

The USGS conducts national and global assessments of renewable and nonrenewable resources to support decision making. Mineral resource assessments provide a synthesis of available information about where mineral deposits are known and suspected in the Earth's crust, what commodities may be present, and amounts of undiscovered resources.

Consequences of Uneven Resource Distribution

What are The Consequences of Uneven Resource Distribution?

Human settlement and population distribution.People tend to settle and cluster in places that have the resources they need to survive and thrive. The geographic factors that most influence where humans settle are water, soil, vegetation, climate, and landscape. Because South America, Africa, and Australia have fewer of these geographic advantages, they have smaller populations than North America, Europe, and Asia.

Human migration. Large groups of people often migrate (move) to a place that has the resources they need or want and migrate away from a place that lacks the resources they need. The Trail of Tears, Westward Movement, and the Gold Rush are examples of historical migrations related to the desire for land and mineral resources.

Economic activities in a region relate to the resources in that region. Economic activities that are directly related to resources include farming, fishing, ranching, timber processing, oil and gas production, mining, and tourism.

Trade. Countries may not have the resources that are important to them, but trade enables them to acquire those resources from places that do. Japan is a country with very limited natural resources, and yet is one of the richest countries in Asia. Sony, Nintendo, Canon, Toyota, Honda, Sharp, Sanyo, Nissan are successful Japanese corporations that make products that are highly-desired in other countries. As a result of trade, Japan has enough wealth to buy the resources it needs.

Conquest, conflict and war. Many historical and present-day conflicts involve nations trying to control resource-rich territories. For example, the desire for diamond and oil resources has been the root of many armed conflicts in Africa.

Wealth and quality of life. The well-being and wealth of a place is determined by the quality and quantity of goods and services available to people in that place. This measure is known as standard of living. Because natural resources are a key component of goods and services, standard of living also gives us an idea how many resources the people in a place have.

It is important to understand that while resources are VERY important, it is not the presence of or lack of natural resources within a country that makes a country prosperous. In fact some of the wealthier countries lack natural resources, while many poorer countries have abundant natural resources!

So what does wealth and prosperity depend on? Wealth and prosperity depend on: (1) what resources a country has access to (what resources they can get or end up with) and (2) what the country does with them (the efforts and skills of workers and the technology available for making the most of those resources).

How has Industrialization Led to a Redistribution of Resources and Wealth?

As nations began to industrialize in the late 19th century, their demand for resources increased and imperialism was the way they got them. Imperialism involved a stronger nation taking complete control of a weaker nation. Imperialists exploited and profited from the abundant natural resources of the acquired territories. Imperialism led to a major redistribution of world resources from Latin America, Africa and Asia to Europe, Japan, and the United States.

This is how industrialized nations came to control and profit from most of the world's resources. Since citizens of the industrialized nations of Europe, Japan, and the United States have access to so many goods and services, that means they consume more of the world's resources (about 70%) and enjoy a higher standard of living and most of the world's wealth (about 80%). Citizens of non-industrialized countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia control and consume far fewer of the resources they need for survival and well-being. As a result, their lives are characterized by poverty and a low standard of living.

This unequal distribution of resources, the legacy of imperialism, is the result of human rather than natural conditions.


MS-ESS3-1. Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how the uneven distributions of Earth’s mineral, energy, and groundwater resources are the result of past and current geoscience processes.

ESS3.A: Natural Resources  Humans depend on Earth’s land, ocean, atmosphere, and biosphere for many different resources. Minerals, fresh water, and biosphere resources are limited, and many are not renewable or replaceable over human lifetimes. These resources are distributed unevenly around the planet as a result of past geologic processes. (MS-ESS3-1)

All human activity draws on natural resources and has both short and long-term consequences, positive as well as negative, for the health of people and the natural environment. (MS-ESS3-1),(MS-ESS3-4)

Emphasis is on how these resources are limited and typically non-renewable, and how their distributions are significantly changing as a result of removal by humans. Examples of uneven distributions of resources as a result of past processes include but are not limited to petroleum (locations of the burial of organic marine sediments and subsequent geologic traps), metal ores (locations of past volcanic and hydrothermal activity associated with subduction zones), and soil (locations of active weathering and/or deposition of rock).

Students articualte a statement relating a given phenomenon to scientific ideas, including that past and current geoscience processes have caused the uneven distribution of the Earth's resources, including:

i.  That the unenven distributionsof the earth's mineral, energy, and groundwater resources are the results of past and current geologic processes.

ii.  That resources are typically limited and nonrenewable due to factors such as the long amounts of time required for some resources to form or the environment in which resources were created forming once or only rarely in Earth's history.


Personal id = BV username

Password - BV ID #

If you're prompted to revalidate your Noodlebib account:

school/library = psms

password = panthers

Geological Maps

OneGeology has put all of the geological maps from around the world into one place! This is exciting as these geological maps can tell you:

  • About the rocks beneath the soil and what the environment used to be like a long time ago (like when dinosaurs lived on the Earth).
  • Where to find fossils , minerals  and oil, gas  or water .
  • Geological maps also tell you where rocks have moved and been folded and squashed into mountains like metamorphic rocks. The Earth has developed and changed a lot over time.

Maps that feature major physical features, and major national resources in each region in North America. 

Maps of the World (lots of ads)