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Book/Video: Thanatia – The destiny of the Earth’s mineral resources

Is Gaia becoming Thanatia, a resource exhausted planet? For how long can our high-tech society be sustained in the light of declining mineral ore grades, heavy dependence on un-recycled critical metals and accelerated material dispersion? Thanatia presents a cradle-to-cradle view of Earth’s abiotic resources through a novel approach based on the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Fundación CIRCE

thanatiaThis book presents a cradle-to-cradle view of the Earth’s abiotic resources through a novel and rigorous approach based on the Second Law of Thermodynamics: heat dissipates and materials deteriorate and disperse. Quality is irreversibly lost. This allows for the assessment of such depletion and can be used to estimate the year where production of the main mineral commodities could reach its zenith. By postulating Thanatia, one acquires a sense of destiny and a concern for a unified global management of the planet’s abiotic resource endowment.

The book covers the core aspects of geology, geochemistry, mining, metallurgy, economics, the environment, thermodynamics and thermochemistry. It is supported by comprehensive databases related to mineral resources, including detailed compositions of the Earth’s layers, thermochemical properties of over 300 substances, historical energy and mineral resource inventories, energy consumption and environmental impacts in the mining and metallurgical sector and world recycling rates of commodities. These are all root causes of future disruptions that need to be addressed today.

Thanatia: The Destiny of the Earth’s Mineral Resources
A Thermodynamic Cradle-to-Cradle Assessment
By Antonio Valero Capilla (CIRCE — Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain), Alicia Valero Delgado (CIRCE — Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain). Published by World Scientific
Visit the publisher’s web page


Chapter 1: The Depletion of Non-Renewable Abiotic Resources (421 KB pdf)


  • The Threads: Minerals, Economy and Thermodynamics:
    • The Depletion of Non-Renewable Abiotic Resources
    • Economic versus Thermodynamic Accounting
    • From Thermodynamics to Economics and Ecology
    • Physical Geonomics: A Cradle-Grave-Cradle Approach for Mineral Depletion Assessment
  • Over the Rainbow: From Nature to Industry:
    • The Geochemistry of the Earth
    • The Resources of the Earth
    • An Introduction to Mining and Metallurgy
    • Metallurgy of Key Minerals
  • Down the Rainbow: From Grave to Cradle:
    • Thermodynamics of Mineral Resources
    • Thanatia and the Crepuscular Earth Model
    • The Exergy of the Earth and Its Mineral Resources
    • The Exergy Replacement Costs of Mineral Wealth
    • The Exergy Evolution of Mineral Wealth
  • Tying the Rainbows: Towards a Rational Management of Resources:
    • Recycling Solutions
    • The Challenge of Resource Depletion
    • The Principles of Resource Efficiency
    • Epilogue
  • Learn more about the book at
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