CHM 140 Geochem & Politics of Ky(SENS)

Prerequisite: MAT 012 (or waiver) or permission of instructor.

This course will look at the basic chemistry and geology of Kentucky’s mineral resources as well as the social and economic dislocations that often result from their exploitation. Kentucky, along with much of southern Appalachia, has been blessed (some would say cursed) with an abundance of natural resources, including coal, oil, gas, limestone, iron ores and others. Extraction of that mineral wealth has caused significant pollution problems, often lasting long after the mineral wealth is exhausted and most of the money has left the state. Right now, and right here in Madison County, many residents are selling mineral rights to possible oil deposits in a shale formation two miles deep and only accessible through the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing or "fracking". On the other side of the state, the former uranium enrichment plant at Paducah has left radioactive contamination that will require costly cleanup. In this course we’ll study the basics of Kentucky geology and chemistry, with the goal of producing a well-informed and knowledgeable citizenry. Basic math skills will be needed in the course, and some experience in the study of chemistry will be helpful but not essential.


1 Course Credit