Taxonomy term

iron

New suspect emerges in theft of Earth's surface iron

Iron is the fourth-most common element in Earth’s crust, but why there isn’t more found near the surface in continental crust has been a long-standing question among geologists. In a new study, scientists implicate an overlooked mineral culprit in the theft of iron from continental crust: garnet. But not everybody is ready to exonerate the long-implicated magnetite.

17 Aug 2018

Searching for the volcanic origins of iron ore

Most iron ore comes from sedimentary deposits. However, a sizeable minority is mined from volcanic rocks, including those found along the Coastal Cordillera of northern Chile, and in Kiruna, Sweden.

09 Aug 2018

Mineral Resource of the Month: Iron and Steel Slag

Iron and steel slag, also known as ferrous slag, is produced by adding limestone (or dolomite), lime and silica sand to blast furnaces and steel furnaces to strip impurities from iron ore, scrap and other ferrous feed materials and to lower the heat requirements of the iron- and steelmaking processes. Ferrous slag forms as a dominantly calcium silicate melt that floats on top of the molten crude iron or steel; the slag is then removed from the liquid metal.
 
01 Jan 2016

Early Earth enriched by iron rain

Iron is one of the most common elements in the Earth’s mantle and core, most of it having come from massive collisions with asteroids and other would-be planets as the early solar system took shape. But why our planet’s rocky mantle contains so much of the metal, which theory suggests should have sunk to the core, has left researchers stumped. Now, with the help of the world’s largest radiation source, scientists have replicated the conditions of early planetary formation to take a closer look at how Earth’s iron-rich mantle — and the moon’s conversely iron-poor mantle — came to be.
 
13 Aug 2015

Mineral Resource of the Month: Iron oxide pigments

Iron oxide pigments, natural or synthetic, are inorganic materials commonly used as coloring agents. They are valued for their resistance to color-change (especially from exposure to sunlight), chemical resistance, stability under ambient environmental conditions, nontoxicity and relatively low cost.

 
29 May 2015

Mineral Resource of the Month: Iron and Steel

Iron is one of the most abundant elements on Earth, but it does not occur in nature in a useful metallic form. Although ancient people may have recovered some iron from meteorites, it wasn’t until smelting was invented that iron metal could be derived from iron oxides. After the beginning of the Iron Age in about 1200 B.C., knowledge of iron- and steelmaking spread from the ancient Middle East through Greece to the Roman Empire, then to Europe and, in the early 17th century, to North America. The first successful furnace in North America began operating in 1646 in what is now Saugus, Mass. Introduction of the Bessemer converter in the mid-19th century made the modern steel age possible.

03 Feb 2014

Benchmarks: Sept. 26, 1912: Birth of Preston Cloud, geologist who deciphered banded iron formations

Banded iron formations (BIFs) represent some of the earliest, and most controversial, evidence that the early Earth was devoid of oxygen. These deposits were recognized for their economic value in the mid-1800s, but it wasn’t until the late 1960s when Preston Cloud focused his intellect on  the origins of (BIFs).

26 Sep 2013

Ancient Egyptian artifact is otherworldly

In ancient Egypt, iron was a rare and symbolic metal, but scientists and historians have long wondered about the prehistoric civilization’s knowledge of metallurgy. Now, one part of that mystery has been solved: The oldest-known iron artifacts were made from meteorites. The evidence comes in the form of iron beads from approximately 3300 B.C., more than 2,000 years before the Iron Age in Egypt, and before there is record of trade in iron goods with other civilizations.

03 Jul 2013

Bolivia turns iron mountain into gold

In the heart of Bolivia’s tropics lies a mountain known as El Mutún. The mountain doesn’t look exceptional, but beneath its lush cover of vegetation lie 40 billion tons of iron ore — the world’s largest deposit. Although El Mutún’s riches have been known for more than 150 years, its remoteness and inaccessibility kept it safe from development — until now.  

26 Aug 2008