Unit 4: Earth Resources, Sustainable Energy and Water Supplies

Environmental Geology is divided into 5 units and each unit is based on some of the chapters in the open textbook “Environmental Geology”. For those of you taking the course for credit, each unit also has an associated assignment. You can start working on the assignment as you are going through each unit, the textbook readings, exercises and chapter-end questions, or you can wait until you are finished the readings and other activities.

Topics of Unit 4

  • Geological resources: metals and mining, acid-rock drainage, sustainable energy resources, and surface water and groundwater supplies.

Learning Activities

  • Review Course Unit 4 (this document).
  • Read Chapters 8, 9 and 11 in the Environmental Geology textbook and complete the embedded exercises.
  • Read a short article on the state of water quality in Canada’s first nation communities on the Human Rights Watch website:
  • Answer chapter-end questions for textbook Chapters 8, 9 and 11.

Learning Assessment

Complete Assignment 4 (in the Assessments Overview tab in Moodle) and submit that for marking to your instructor.

Intended Learning Outcomes

  • Explain the origins of some metal resources and the implications of their use including acid rock drainage.
  • Describe and evaluate various types of sustainable energy systems.
  • Describe water supplies in general and trace the origins of the water that comes out of our own taps.
  • Explain why there are problems with water supplies in first-nations communities.

The three topics of Unit 4 are Earth’s mineral resources and the environmental implications of their use, the increasing importance of developing sustainable energy resources, and the supply of water and the imperative to ensure that our water is uncontaminated and sufficient for our needs.


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GEOL 2391 SW3: Course Units Copyright © by Thompson Rivers University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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