Metals on earth.

There are many metals buried deep in the crust of the earth. Unlike gold, most of these metals have long reacted with other elements, such as oxygen and sulfur to form stable compounds. Copper can be found in the ground in the form of many stable compounds such as azurite and malachite.


Our sun and the planets were formed from a nearby supernova. It takes a great deal of energy to form heavy metals and so they are created only when a star explodes, such as happens during a supernova.


The image on the right shows a large star that has exhausted its fuel shrinking and exploding, thus creating a supernova.




Recently, a theory has been put forward to suggest that most of our heavy metals have come from elsewhere in the universe by asteroids that have collided with our planet.



Iron is particularly useful in our society as a structural material. It is strong and relatively cheap to dig out of the ground and purify.

It is found in the form of iron oxide commonly called iron ore. You may know it as, its more familiar name, rust. Iron oxide is a stable compound formed when iron reacts with oxygen.

Iron oxide is red in colour and can be mined in open cut mines by heavy machinery.

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