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Far from prying eyes, the ground erupts; heavy equipment moving millions of tons of earth in search of something: a secret, deep underground. I'm starting with one of humanity's first elemental loves: gold; symbol Au.
Join me on my Hunt for the Elements, right now, on NOVA. They tell me that so much money flows out of this place, it's like a gold mine. It's a journey that dives deep into the metals of civilization, marvels at the mysteries of the extremely reactive, reveals hidden powers and harnesses secrets of life, from hydrogen to uranium and beyond.
Names may be assigned to reflect a physical or chemical property, such as colour, or they may be derived from various subjects deemed appropriate, such as, for example, a locality, public figure, or mineralogist.
Some examples of mineral names and their derivations follow: albite (Na Al Si) is in honour of the American chemist Benjamin Silliman.
Because of this feature, minerals are classified as crystalline solids.
Under favourable conditions, crystalline materials may express their ordered internal framework by a well-developed external form, often referred to as crystal form or morphology ( Traditionally, minerals have been described as resulting exclusively from inorganic processes; however, current mineralogic practice often includes as minerals those compounds that are organically produced but satisfy all other mineral requirements.
It turns out that nature has concealed thousands of pounds of the stuff under billions of cubic feet of earth.A mineral, which by definition must be formed through natural processes, is distinct from the synthetic equivalents produced in the laboratory.Man-made versions of minerals, including emeralds, sapphires, diamonds, and other valuable gemstones, are regularly produced in industrial and research facilities and are often nearly identical to their natural counterparts.homogeneous solid, a mineral is composed of a single solid substance of uniform composition that cannot be physically separated into simpler compounds.Ice, the solid state of water (HO), is considered a mineral, but liquid water is not; liquid mercury, though sometimes found in mercury ore deposits, is not classified as a mineral either.Such substances that resemble minerals in chemistry and occurrence are dubbed mineraloids and are included in the general domain of mineralogy.
Where do nature's building blocks, called the elements, come from? Her job is to figure out how much gold is in them there rocks. I don't see any more rocks in here, but the bad news is, I don't see any gold in here, either. Final steps: cool and clean the bars, stamp them with their unique serial numbers and their weights. The ancients first learned how to heat rocks to extract copper, at least 7,000 years ago. Traders in New York, London and Shanghai buy and sell more than 20 million tons a year. Copper has been prized for millennia for its unique properties: it conducts electricity better than any metal except silver; it's malleable and has a moderate melting temperature; it even scares away bacteria. Even with all the other modern materials available, they still choose bronze. Hasn't something better come along, after all these years? The quality of the sound depends on the atomic structure of the material.