The ocean floor contains energy sources (petroleum and gas) and raw materials (sand and gravel, phosphorite, corals and other biogenic carbonates, heavy metal ores). Also, the sea floor is used as a dump site for waste, which represents a considerable economic value. In terms of dollars and cents, energy (hydrocarbons) is the most important resource, while (at present) raw materials are of regional importance only. Nothing as yet has been gained from deep sea ores, although they are of great scientific interest and are potentially valuable. The various resources are summarized in Table 10.1. Many of the figures given are rather crude guesses: resources within the ground are difficult to quantify. We shall briefly treat the geologic background for seafloor resources here, with some mention of the economic and the political problems associated with the use of the sea floor.
KeywordsClay Cobalt Hydrocarbon Drilling Sewage
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