Pennsylvania's Natural Resources

Pennsylvania has a wealth of natural resources for Pennsylvanians and others to use. Resources are split into two types, renewable and nonrenewable resources. Renewable resources are those that can be replaced. Examples of those resources are soil, forests, and water. Nonrenewable resources can not be made again for use in our lifetime. It takes millions of years for the Earth to make a nonrenewable resources.Those resources include rocks and minerals, oil and natural gas. We must use our resources carefully. If we do not, nonrenewable resources may become scarce or limited in supply. That means we may not have enough of the resources for everyone or may run out of a resource entirely.

Pennsylvania's Renewable Resources

Soil

Pennsylvania has rich soil which allows for farmers to plant and harvest crops such as corn, soybeans, and tomatoes. The soil provides food for those who live in Pennsylvania and others around the area.

Forests

There are many types of trees in Pennsylvania. In fact over 48 kinds of trees grow in our state. Trees are forested for several reasons. When a lumber company cuts down trees those trees are replanted so that the lumber can be renewed.

Water

Water is a necessity for life and is used for a wide variety of things. Think about the ways that you use water. You drink water, use it for washing and watering your plants as well.

*Visit the Discovery Streaming Videos folder on the shareable to watch a video about how these renewable resources are used. You will need to visit the 3rd grade folder, then the social studies folder, and finally the state unit folder to find the video.

Pennsylvania's Nonrenewable Resources

Rocks and Minerals

You've heard of rocks and minerals, but what exactly are these commonly found items?

*Visit the Discovery Streaming Videos folder on the shareable to watch a video about rocks and minerals. You will need to visit the 3rd grade folder, then the social studies folder, and finally the state unit folder to find the video.

One of Pennsylvania's most important rocks is coal. Coal is a black rock that is found in layers of the earth. It is taken from underground through mining. Miners either go underground to get the coal, gather coal from a huge open pit in the ground, or use something that looks like a drill bit to bring the coal up from underground. In Pennsylvania, most mining is done underground because they can get the largest quantity of coal that way.

There are two kinds of coal, soft coal and hard coal. The western portion of Pennsylvania has large deposits of soft coal. The eastern portion of the state has some small hard coal deposits. It is estimated that Pennsylvania once had 107 billion tons of coal reserves. As of 2005, our coal reserves have approximately 76 billion tons of coal.

Pennsylvania's coal is used for several different things. 77% of our coal is burned to generate electricity. About 4% is used in the furnaces that produce steel from iron ore. Only a small portion of our coal is used to heat homes. Watch the video below to see how coal is used.


Oil and Natural Gas

Oil/Petroleum

Did you know that the first oil well in the United States was drilled right here in Pennsylvania? Edwin L. Drake drilled the first oil well in Titusville, PA in 1859. Oil or petroleum is a natural resource taken from the ground was first used for things such as heat and light but now there are many uses for oil. Watch the video below to learn what types of things are made from oil.


Natural Gas

Natural gas is another resources taken from the ground. Like coal, and oil, natural gas is a nonrenewable resource. Similarly to coal and oil, natural gas has several common uses.

*Visit the Discovery Streaming Videos folder on the shareable to watch a video about oil and natural gas. You will need to visit the 3rd grade folder, then the social studies folder, and finally the state unit folder to find the video.