Calcium is very abundant throughout the Earth's crust and can be mined anywhere. Calcium can be obtained from many minerals but is most commonly taken out of limestone, marble, dolomite, gypsum, anhydrite or aragonite.
Discovered in 1808 by Sir Humphry Davy of England, calcium derives its name from the Latin word meaning lime. A soft and shiny metal, calcium makes up about 3.5 percent of the Earth's crust. It is the fifth most abundant mineral element.
Calcium is reactive when combined with oxygen and water. Calcium combined with water produces hydrogen, while calcium combined with oxygen forms lime. Calcium is used to purify zirconium, thorium, uranium and other rare metals. It is also used to remove impurities like carbon, sulfur and oxygen from molten metals. Calcium can be converted into quicklime, which can be used to produce pure metals, to treat water, in fertilizer and in building materials such as cement, wall board and plaster. Calcium is also used for dehydrating oils and as a reducing agent for beryllium. It is essential to plants, animals and humans.
Calcium is one of the six bulk elements and is the fifth most common element in humans. Calcium is present in cell walls, bones, teeth, shells and plant structures. Calcium also plays a role in regulating heartbeat and in blood clotting.