The solid part of the Earth is made of rocks that can be collected directly from the Earth’s surface or that can be extracted from mines and by deep drilling both on dry land and on the ocean floors. The rocks can be those forming the mountain we climb up, and can also be formed by deposits created by a large number of fragments, cemented together, that we walk upon every day. Rocks are formed from the combination of a number of minerals, solid substances defined by a precise chemical formula that can be found in nature. Consequently the study and analysis of rocks and minerals is very important because it enables us to define the structure and the composition not only of the Earth’s surface by also what lies inside the Earth. Hydrocarbons are a particular type of sedimentary rock, present in nature in the solid, liquid and gaseous form, as bitumen, oil (petroleum) and gas respectively. Since a long time, man has learnt to exploit these resources. In particular, in the energy section, we shall examine in detail how these deposits are utilized and how important they are. The mineral resources are important for industrial development. These consist of minerals or rocks whose concentration is suited for extraction and utilization by man for various purposes. In the subsoil we do not only find rocks and minerals, but also another resource that is very important: water, that is concentrated mainly in the layer that is no more than 750 metres deep. As it is one of the principal resources that has enabled the development of life on the Earth, we have dedicated it a special section, which you can refer to for more detailed information.

subjects dealt with in Subsoil

terra_400x225_0008_rocce e minerali

Rocks and minerals

Minerals are solid substances that are present in nature and can be made of one element or more elements combined…

terra_400x225_0006_terremoti

Earthquakes

An earthquake, as the word itself describes, is a quake or a movement of the Earth, also known as seism…

terra_400x225_0009_il sottosuolo una risorsa

Subsoil: a resource

Easily pliable limestones, sandstones and igneus rocks are often used for some specific constructions, like frames, building fronts, columns and…

terra_400x225_0010_i giacimenti del sottosuolo

Mineral deposits

Modern industrial society consumes high quantities of energy for heating, transport and industries. The main energy sources are natural fuels,…

special reports

  • 8 November 2013 / Earth

    Magnets and superconductors

    The phenomenon of magnetism Which one of us has not played at attracting small pieces of iron with a magnet?…

    16 July 2013 / Earth

    Van Allen belts

    The spectacular phenomenon of polar auroras The Van Allen belts are responsible for polar auroras, one of the most fascinating…

    13 May 2013 / Earth

    Small steps, great footprints

    Which one takes up more space, an apple or a steak? Have you ever wondered how much space is taken…

  • 10 November 2011 / Earth

    Landslides

    Water and gravity in action Very punctually, with the arrival of the spring and autumn precipitations, the topic of landslides…

    2 October 2011 / Earth

    The hydrogeological risk

    Inundations On the sides of  watercourses are plains known as flood plains, that get flooded only occasionally after large amounts…

    20 March 2011 / Earth

    The earthquake in Japan

    In-depth on the earthquake in Japan Japan is one of the countries in which earthquakes occur most frequently. The reason…

  • 7 January 2010 / Earth

    Alps and Appennines

    How a mountain chain is born The term orogeny was born from the Greek words oros (mountain) and genesis (origin);…

    18 May 2009 / Earth

    Sauropods

    40 meters long and 17 high, huge but peaceful, the Branchiosaurus were a masterpiece in genetic Engineering. Survival machines in…

    5 September 2007 / Earth

    The Mediterranean sea

    What is hidden below? The warm blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea and its varied coasts, attract millions of tourists…

  • 8 November 2013 / Earth

    Magnets and superconductors

    The phenomenon of magnetism Which one of us has not played at attracting small pieces of iron with a magnet?…

    16 July 2013 / Earth

    Van Allen belts

    The spectacular phenomenon of polar auroras The Van Allen belts are responsible for polar auroras, one of the most fascinating…

  • 13 May 2013 / Earth

    Small steps, great footprints

    Which one takes up more space, an apple or a steak? Have you ever wondered how much space is taken…

    10 November 2011 / Earth

    Landslides

    Water and gravity in action Very punctually, with the arrival of the spring and autumn precipitations, the topic of landslides…

  • 2 October 2011 / Earth

    The hydrogeological risk

    Inundations On the sides of  watercourses are plains known as flood plains, that get flooded only occasionally after large amounts…

    20 March 2011 / Earth

    The earthquake in Japan

    In-depth on the earthquake in Japan Japan is one of the countries in which earthquakes occur most frequently. The reason…

  • 8 November 2013 / Earth

    Magnets and superconductors

    The phenomenon of magnetism Which one of us has not played at attracting small pieces of iron with a magnet?…

  • 16 July 2013 / Earth

    Van Allen belts

    The spectacular phenomenon of polar auroras The Van Allen belts are responsible for polar auroras, one of the most fascinating…

  • 13 May 2013 / Earth

    Small steps, great footprints

    Which one takes up more space, an apple or a steak? Have you ever wondered how much space is taken…

from the Multimedia section

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    Caves tales

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    Exploring caves

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    Karst landscape

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    Subsoil resources

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    Subsoil and rocks

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  • earth

    Activities in the subsoil

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    earth

    Subsoil structure

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  • earth

    Soil health and sustainability

    Look

    earth

    What are caves?

    Look
  • earth

    Subsoil resources

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  • earth

    Subsoil and rocks

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  • earth

    Activities in the subsoil

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curiosities

  • Mountains on the Earth

    The different landscapes that we analysed in the previous section are distributed in the five continents of the Earth. Observing…

    A small domestic experiment

    In order to understand the number of factors that make a water undersaturated or oversaturated, there is an experiment that…

    The climate underground

    Going down deep in the Earth’s crust, the temperatures increase gradually (about 3°C every 100 m): this phenomenon is well-known…

  • A walk underground

    The longest caves in the world are in Kentucky, the caves of Mammoth, which are 560 metres long. Other long…

    The most populated cities in the world

    In the last 50 years the world population has passed from 2.5 billion to 6 billion, and estimates say that…

    The most spectacular waterfalls

    The highest waterfalls in the world are located in Venezuela. The famous Salto Angel is 979 metres high. The widest…

  • Can you breathe in a cave?

    One of the most common beliefs is that in caves the air is often stuffy, unhealthy, low in oxygen content…

    Volcanic activity of Vesuvio

    One of the most famous volcanic disasters was the eruption of Vesuvio in 79 A.D., which destroyed the cities of…

    Different plains

    In South America plains are different from North to South. Plains in the north are called llanos and they are…

  • Mountains on the Earth

    The different landscapes that we analysed in the previous section are distributed in the five continents of the Earth. Observing…

    A small domestic experiment

    In order to understand the number of factors that make a water undersaturated or oversaturated, there is an experiment that…

  • The climate underground

    Going down deep in the Earth’s crust, the temperatures increase gradually (about 3°C every 100 m): this phenomenon is well-known…

    A walk underground

    The longest caves in the world are in Kentucky, the caves of Mammoth, which are 560 metres long. Other long…

  • The most populated cities in the world

    In the last 50 years the world population has passed from 2.5 billion to 6 billion, and estimates say that…

    The most spectacular waterfalls

    The highest waterfalls in the world are located in Venezuela. The famous Salto Angel is 979 metres high. The widest…

  • Mountains on the Earth

    The different landscapes that we analysed in the previous section are distributed in the five continents of the Earth. Observing…

  • A small domestic experiment

    In order to understand the number of factors that make a water undersaturated or oversaturated, there is an experiment that…

  • The climate underground

    Going down deep in the Earth’s crust, the temperatures increase gradually (about 3°C every 100 m): this phenomenon is well-known…

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