What minerals produce the colors in fireworks?

Mineral elements provide the color in fireworks. Barium produces bright greens; strontium yields deep reds; copper produces blues; and sodium yields yellow. Other colors can be made by mixing elements: strontium and sodium produce brilliant orange; titanium, zirconium, and magnesium alloys make silvery white; copper and strontium make lavender. Gold sparks are produced by iron filings and small pieces of charcoal. Bright flashes and loud bangs come from aluminum powder.

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What is white gold?

White gold was originally developed to imitate platinum (a naturally white metal). White gold is usually an alloy containing about 75% gold and about 25% nickel and zinc. If stamped 18 karat, it would be 75% pure gold.

Where can I find information about mineral commodities?

For statistical information about mineral commodities, visit the USGS Commodity Statistics and Information website. For locations outside the United States, the USGS International Minerals Statistics and Information website is the best starting point.

What is the meaning of the karat mark on gold jewelry?

The fineness of jewelry gold is stated as the number of parts in twenty-four that are gold. Thus, 24 karat gold is pure gold; 12 K would be an alloy that is half gold and half copper or other metals.

What is the difference between a rock and a mineral?

A mineral is a naturally occurring inorganic element or compound having an orderly internal structure and characteristic chemical composition, crystal form, and physical properties. Common minerals include quartz, feldspar, mica, amphibole, olivine, and calcite. A rock is an aggregate of one or more minerals, or a body of undifferentiated mineral...

How much silver has been found in the world?

Of the 1,740,000 metric tons of silver discovered to date, 55% is found in just four countries on earth. All the silver discovered thus far would fit in a cube 55 meters on a side. Learn more at the USGS commodity website for silver .

What is "Fool's Gold?"

Fool's Gold can be one of three minerals. The most common mineral mistaken for gold is pyrite. Chalcopyrite may also appear gold-like, and weathered mica can mimic gold as well. Compared to actual gold, these minerals will flake, powder or crumble when poked with a metal point, whereas gold will gouge or indent like soft lead. In addition, actual...

What is sterling silver?

Sterling silver is the standard of quality for articles containing 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper (and/or other alloys).

How much gold has been found in the world?

About 244,000 metric tons of gold has been discovered to date (187,000 metric tons historically produced plus current underground reserves of 57,000 metric tons). Most of that gold has come from just three countries: China, Australia, and South Africa. The United States ranked fourth in gold production in 2016. All of the gold discovered thus far...

How much copper has been found in the world?

To date, roughly 700 million metric tons of copper have been produced around the world. This would fit into a cube measuring about 430 meters on a side. Identified deposits contain an estimated 2.1 billion metric tons of additional copper, which brings the total amount of discovered copper to 2.8 billion metric tons. This would fit into a cube...

How large is a lifetime supply of minerals for the average person?

At today's level of consumption, the average newborn infant will need a lifetime supply of 800 pounds of lead, 750 pounds of zinc, 1,500 pounds of copper, 3,593 pounds of aluminum, 32,700 pounds of iron, 26,550 pounds of clays, 28,213 pounds of salt, and 1,238,101 pounds of stone, sand, gravel, and cement.

How many pounds of minerals are required by the average person in a year?

To maintain our standard of living, each person in the United States requires over 38,449 pounds of minerals each year: 9,426 pounds of stone 6,768 pounds of sand and gravel 655 pounds of cement 142 pounds of clays 338 pounds of salt 244 pounds of iron ore 195 pounds of phosphate rock 34 pounds of soda ash 28 pounds of aluminum 13 pounds of copper...

How do we extract minerals?

The primary methods used to extract minerals from the ground are: Underground mining Surface (open pit) mining Placer mining The location and shape of the deposit, strength of the rock, ore grade, mining costs, and current market price of the commodity are some of the determining factors for selecting which mining method to use. Higher-grade...
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Date published: July 17, 2017

Rich, Attractive, and Extremely Shallow

No, it’s not a title for a new reality-dating TV show, but it is real science! It also describes the ideal mineral deposit.

Date published: April 25, 2017

EarthWord–Placer

Whether you pan for gold or rare earths, you’ll get a lot of sand...and this EarthWord!

Date published: April 18, 2017

EarthWord–Ferrous

While not a Ferris wheel, this EarthWord is just as magnetic an attraction...

Date published: April 4, 2017

EarthWord–Rock vs. Mineral

Ever wondered what the difference between a rock and a mineral was? This EarthWord should cover it...

Date published: May 6, 2016

EarthWord - Mother Lode

Happy Mother's Day from EarthWords!

Date published: May 2, 2016

Fireworks Likely Caused Water Contamination at Mount Rushmore

Past fireworks displays are the probable cause of elevated concentrations of a contaminant called perchlorate in groundwater and surface water within Mount Rushmore National Memorial, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey report.

Date published: February 15, 2016

EarthWord – Ore

The naturally occurring material from which a mineral or minerals of economic value can be extracted. Usually minerals, especially metals, are mined first in ore form, then refined later.

Filter Total Items: 19
Close up of Bauxite
March 23, 2017

Bauxite

Mineral: Bauxite
Mineral Origin: Les Baux, France (Sample donated by Gary Kingston)
Primary Commodity: Aluminum and Gallium
Primary Commodity Uses: Aluminum is one of the most used metals on the planet, finding roles in transportation, construction, packaging, electronics, and other consumer

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Full view of Bauxite sample
March 23, 2017

Bauxite

Mineral: Bauxite
Mineral Origin: Les Baux, France (Sample donated by Gary Kingston)
Primary Commodity: Aluminum and Gallium
Primary Commodity Uses: Aluminum is one of the most used metals on the planet, finding roles in transportation, construction, packaging, electronics, and other consumer

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Close up of Rutile
March 23, 2017

Rutile

Mineral: Rutile
Primary Commodity: Titanium
Primary Commodity Uses: The vast majority of titanium is used in whiteners in the form of titanium oxide. Titanium metal makes up a comparatively small amount of the use for titanium, but as a metal it is used in metal coatings and medical implants.

Close up of salt, sodium, chlorine
March 23, 2017

Salt, Sodium, Chlorine

Mineral: Halite (NaCl)
Primary mineral Commodity: Salt
Commodity Uses: Highway deicing accounted for about 44% of total salt consumed in 2016. Salt is also used as feedstock for chlorine and caustic soda manufacture; these two inorganic chemicals are used to make many consumer-related end-use products, such as

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Full view of salt, sodium, chlorine sample
March 23, 2017

Salt, Sodium, Chlorine

Mineral: Halite (NaCl)
Primary mineral Commodity: Salt
Commodity Uses: Highway deicing accounted for about 44% of total salt consumed in 2016. Salt is also used as feedstock for chlorine and caustic soda manufacture; these two inorganic chemicals are used to make many consumer-related end-use products, such as

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Image shows a sample of rutile against a black background
December 31, 2016

Rutile

This is a sample of rutile, one of the primary mineral sources of titanium. While as a metal, titanium is well known for corrosion resistance and for its high strength-to-weight ratio, approximately 95% of titanium is consumed in the form of titanium dioxide (TiO2), a white pigment used in paints, paper, and plastics. Read more about titanium

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Copper
December 13, 2016

Copper

Zambia is the eighth largest copper producer in the world. USGS assessments estimated that the potential for undiscovered copper deposits in Zambia is larger than once thought. Photograph credit: USGS

Enjoy Nature's Fireworks Show...
August 8, 2016

Enjoy Nature's Fireworks Show

Littoral explosions at an ocean entry on January 30, 1996, blasted incandescent lava fragments 50 m (165 feet) high. The explosions, caused by lava delta collapses, also threw blocks of solid rock nearly 1 m (3 feet) in diameter up to 250 m (270 yards) inland. USGS-HVO photo.

April 29, 2016

Perchlorate and Selected Metals in Water and Soil within Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Author interview on report "Perchlorate and selected metals in water and soil within Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota, 2011–15," U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5030. An environmental concern to water resources within Mount Rushmore National Memorial has been the annual aerial display of fireworks at the memorial for the

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