Environmental Mineralogy II
Editors: David J. Vaughan and Roy A. Wogelius
Minerals, as the inorganic solids that comprise the rocks, sediments and soils of Earth, are an essential part of our environment. So, in a sense, all mineralogy is environmental mineralogy. However, the term environmental has come to be employed (particularly in combination with terms such as science, issue or problem) to refer to those systems at or near the surface of Earth where the geosphere comes into contact with the hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. This is, of course, the environment upon which the human race depends for survival and, hence, is now sometimes referred to as the critical zone. It can be subject to disruptions due to human activity, particularly activity associated with the exploitation and utilization of Earth's resources. This is the sense in which we use the term environmental in this book.