How geology made America greatCoal, along with iron ore, has played a key role in making the US "a great country". Photo: Ben Scherjon, Pixabay

How geology made America great

A combination of political, social and economic events is used to explain the rise of the United States into an industrial power. However, there is another factor that played a major role in this development, Rick Miller writes.

That factor is the geological history of North America, which provided a vast array of natural resources to support industrial development.

Fortuitous abundance and close geographic distribution of natural resources such as iron ore, coal, oil and natural gas were discovered during the mid-1800s to the early 1900s. These resources were exploited and used to develop a rapidly expanding industrial network in the eastern and Great Lakes portions of the United States.

Distribution of natural resources in North America has played a major role in advancing the fortunes of the United States. Resources such as precious metals, rare earth elements, uranium, and others are abundant, but the initial industrial growth of the country was initially based on iron ore and coal. Geologic occurrence and distribution of these two resources and their proximity to one another played a pivotal role in this development.

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