Thursday, May 28, 2015

A map of where stuff is mined in Canada

Above is a map (direct link) I've put together. It shows where natural resources have been mined in Canada. I've categorized the resources into metals (red), gemstones (orange), other minerals (yellow), clay/stone (green), and fossil fuels (blue). This is the sort of thing I do for fun, folks.

Mining is a fundamental part of Canada's economy. The country has a wide variety of geological formations bearing all kinds of useful substances: coal beds out east, diamond-bearing kimberlite pipes up north, oil and gas fields to the west, far east, and in a little pocket above Lake Erie, potash all up in the middle, and a metal-rich shield of ancient rock covering the northeastern half of the country.

A couple of particularly interesting regions include:
  • the world's second largest impact crater, the rim of which is crammed full of metals
  • a bunch of asbestos in southeastern Quebec, which even after being recognized as a potent lung poison was mined for use overseas
  • deposits of gem-quality sapphires (e.g. on Baffin Island) and emeralds (e.g. in the Yukon Territory at a place called Tsa Da Glisza, which means "green stones")
  • a remote tungsten mine on an island in Great Slave Lake
Mining often results in contamination of the environment with harmful substances (e.g. abandoned mine drainage, naphthenic acids) that can appreciably impact wildlife and people. Each of the dots on the map represents the possibility of ecological damage and/or human illness (take, for instance, Mount Polley). Of course, each dot also represents being able to enjoy pretty much every item the modern world has to offer. C'est la vie.

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