EarthWord – Ore

Release Date:

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.

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A piece of limonite, an ore of iron.
A piece of limonite, an ore of iron. Credit: Alex Demas, USGS.

Definition:

  • 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.

Etymology:

  • Ore is the result of the merging of two Old English words: ora, meaning “unworked metal,” and ar, meaning “brass,” “copper,” or “bronze.”

Use/Significance in the Earth Science Community:

  • Ores, and the minerals that are extracted from them, are quite important to the earth science community, and to you too, if you enjoy any sort of modern technology. They are a major source of the vast majority of our mineral commodities, from iron to aluminum to platinum. Smartphones, buildings, cars, and even hoverboards would not be possible without ores.

USGS Use:

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