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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.


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