The inevitable control of Earth resources over nations and individuals

A landmark interdisciplinary study of interest to —

SOCIOLOGISTS: Mineral and energy sources and supplies determine lifestyles and support social structures of societies. Societies built on non-renewable resources have a tenuous future. Important social legacies are left from mineral exploitation.

GEOLOGISTS: Where is the search for energy and minerals today? How is the world Earth resource base changing? What new roles will alternative energy sources play?

ECOLOGISTS: The environmental impact of mineral and energy production now. Effects of alternative energy development on the environment. Population and the environment. Conservation of non-renewable resources — for whom?

ECONOMISTS: Huge transfer of the industrial world's money to the Persian Gulf region; its effects on the world banking system, and international balances of payments. How the resource wealth of each nation directs its .economy domestically and internationally. Prospects for renewable resources as a basis for a “sustainable economy.” “Growth” — for how long?

POLICYMAKERS, PLANNERS, FUTURISTS: The Twentieth Century was unique in its exponential use of Earth resources. It cannot be duplicated again against the demands of huge population growth. How long will we have enough to go around? What solutions might exist?

POLITICAL SCIENTISTS: International relations and alliances as determined by competition for mineral and energy resources — the Persian Gulf War example. Russia is mineral rich but needs western technology — how this affects its policies. Japan’s foreign policy is based on a critical need for raw materials. The economic rise of Southeast Asia and China – their increasing demands for energy and minerals, and probable future impacts.

This unique volume provides essential data on energy and mineral resources and population issues including:

  • World petroleum reserves. How long will they last?
  • World trends in the use of two most vital materials: water and soil
  • Current myths and realities about energy and mineral resources
  • Future prospects for balancing resources to population, lifestyles, living standards, and the environment
  • Conflicts over resources
  • The realistic possibilities for alternative energy sources to replace oil
  • Minerals and health
  • Minerals and war . . . and economic warfare
  • World trade and strategic minerals

A comprehensive bibliography for each chapter adds further reading suggestions for all topics.


A. R. "Pete" Palmer, Institute for Cambrian Studies, Boulder, Colorado, in Geotimes, March 1998

Tim Campbell, Economic Historian, at, March 10, 1998

Kenneth Watt, University of California at Davis

Robert M. Whelan, Oregon Geology, Jan/Feb 1998 / Response by R.E. Corcoran, Mar/Apr 1998

Laurence R. Kittleman, Oregon Geology, March/April 1998

Robert G. Russell, Oregon Geology, March/April 1998

Sheila Newman, The Social Contract, Fall 2002

Related Author Publication

Spending Our Great Inheritance -- Then What?, Geotimes, July 1998, pp.24-27

Quotes from GeoDestinies

“The question of conserving mineral and energy resources . . . is one which cannot easily be answered. We conserve these resources for whom? And for how long?” Chapter 23

“NO other material has so profoundly and universally changed the world in so short a time as has oil.” Chap. 12

“At present, we are living on a great mineral resource inheritance. We must begin to live on current income . . .” Chapter 22

“. . . a major and increasing cause of human migration is the exhaustion of natural resources.” Chapter 2

“Water, for which there is no substitute, may be the ultimate limiting factor in the growth of world population.” Chapter 15

“The great hope is that alternative energy sources will be found to gradually fill the void left by diminishing oil supplies.” Chapter 12

“It takes a one-ton lead-acid battery to give an electric car the same energy as a gallon of gasoline.” Chapter 14

“Using corn to produce ethanol as a fuel makes no economic, energy efficiency, environmental, nor ethical sense.” Chapter 14

“. . . worldwide, land degradation is proceeding much above the rate of soil replacement.” Chapter 17

“. . . most of the world's oil will have been consumed in a period of less than one lifetime . . .” Chapter 12

An Important Refence; A Unique Text


    Preface -- x
    1 -- Minerals Move Civilization -- 17
    2 -- Minerals Move People -- 32
    3 -- Minerals and War, and Economic and Political Warfare -- 44
    4 -- The Gulf War of 1990-1991: Iraq Invades Kuwait -- 67
    5 -- The Current War Between the States -- 73
    6 -- Mineral Microcosms -- 82
    7 -- The One-Resource Nations -- 91
    8 -- The Good Geo-fortune of the USA -- 104
    9 -- The Extraordinary Geodestiny of Saudi Arabia and the Other Persian (Arabian) Gulf Countries -- 113
    10 -- Mineral Riches and How They are Spent -- 125
    11 -- Minerals, Money, and the Petro-Currencies -- 147
    12 -- The Petroleum Interval -- 163
    13 -- Alternative Energy Sources: Non-Renewable -- 210
    14 -- Alternative Energy Sources: Renewable -- 240
    15 -- Water Life s Essential Connection to the Earth -- 274
    16 -- Minerals From the Ocean -- 289
    17 -- Topsoil The Most Valuable Mineral Complex -- 294
    18 -- Minerals and Health -- 307
    19 -- Strategic Minerals How Strategic are They? -- 321
    20 -- Nations and Mineral Self-Sufficiency -- 327
    21 -- International Access to Minerals Free Trade Versus the Map of Geology -- 335
    22 -- Mineral Development and the Environment -- 342
    23 -- Efficiency and Conservation To What Purpose? -- 376
    24 -- Minerals, Politics, Taxes, and Religion -- 384
    25 -- Minerals, Social and Political Structures -- 398
    26 -- Mineral Economics -- 411
    27 -- Myths and Realities of Mineral Resources -- 422
    28 -- Earth Resources, the Future, and the Sustainable Society -- 451
    29 -- The Ultimate Resource Can it Secure Our Future? -- 479
    Epilogue -- 491
    Index -- 493


  • Table 1 -- World Oil Statistics 1994 -- 169
  • Table 2 -- Estimated World Oil Distribution In Selected Countries 1995 -- 170
  • Table 3 -- Comparative Oil Well Production, By Country 1994 -- 174
  • Table 4 -- Comparison of Average Oil Well Production In Selected States 1994 -- 175
  • Table 5 -- United States Oil Statistics 1970-1993 -- 176
  • Table 6 -- Oil Reserves In Selected Countries 1974 and 1994 -- 189
  • Table 7 -- Time to Which Current Oil Production Can Be Sustained, By Country -- 191
  • Table 8 -- Barrels of Oil Reserves Per Capita In Selected Countries -- 192
  • Table 9 -- Countries Holding Major Proved Gas Reserves 1975 and 1995 -- 194
  • Table 10 -- World Regional Natural Gas Distribution 1995 -- 195
  • Table 11 -- U.S. Energy Mix 1987 and 2000 -- 212
  • Table 12 -- Alternative Energy Sources -- 213
    Table 13 -- Percentage of Selected Strategic
  • Metal Reserves Held by South Africa and Russia -- 323
  • Table 14 -- Dependence of Major Industrial Nations on Imports of Selected Metals -- 333


  • Figure 1 -- U.S. per capita annual energy mineral consumption -- 23
  • Figure 2 -- U.S. per capita annual mineral consumption -- 24
  • Figure 3 -- Geography of Persian Gulf region -- 113
  • Figure 4 -- U.S. crude oil reserves 1947-1994 -- 177
  • Figure 5 -- Graphic history of changes in energy mix in the United States -- 211
  • Figure 6 -- Time of fossil fuel use in perspective of human history from 5000 years past to 5000 years in the future -- 225
  • Figure 7 -- Be fruitful and multiply...Now divide -- 394
  • Figure 8 -- Curves of discoveries and production during a complete production cycle of a finite resource -- 440
  • Figure 9 -- World oil supply: discoveries and production -- 454

About the Author

Dr. Walter Youngquist brings to this unique volume his studies as a geologist in 70 countries on the vital relationship of Earth resources to nations and individuals.

His professional affiliations include membership in the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the Geothermal Resources Council, and the New York Academy of Sciences. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

He makes his home near Eugene, Oregon.

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