Copper, the oldest metal known to human beings, is found in ore deposits throughout the world, with the largest production occurring in Chile and the United States. Humans discovered copper about 10,000 years ago. It was first combined with tin to form the alloy bronze in about 3,000 B.C.Continue Reading
In modern times, copper is used for everything from electrical wiring to car parts. It is a durable, yet malleable metal, which makes it useful in a wide range of applications. It is also an excellent conductor.
Chile produces about 20 percent of the world's copper, while the United States produces about 9 percent. Australia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Poland are the other large copper producers.
One of the richest copper sources in the world is in Michigan. Long before white people settled in the area, Native Americans mined copper along Lake Superior and northern Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula. The Native Americans used copper to make tools. Archaeological excavations have uncovered hammering stones used to work the copper the Indians mined.
While the Native Americans eventually abandoned their mines, American prospectors had excellent luck picking up where they left off in the same mines. For decades, copper mining was an integral part of Michigan's economy.Learn more about Geology
The world's most prolific silver mines are in Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Mexico, Australia and the United States. Serbia and China also produce substantial amounts of silver. Although miners occasionally uncover nuggets of pure silver, most silver deposits develop inside copper and lead ore. Pure silver is the result of complex mechanical, thermal and chemical refinement techniques that separate it from other elements in the ore.Full Answer >
Earth is geologically active because its internal heat keeps the outer core and lithosphere molten, encouraging plate movement and volcanic activity. Earth's crust consists of tectonic plates floating atop the malleable mantle, which in turn rises and falls over the semi-liquid outer core. The intense heat forces molten rock up toward the surface, creating new crust and driving intense geologic activity.Full Answer >
As of 2014, scientists believe the Earth to be 4.54 billion years old, plus or minus 50 million years. This measurement was calculated using radiometric dating techniques on rocks found on Earth, samples from the Moon and meteorites from elsewhere in the Solar System.Full Answer >
Diatomaceous earth is a sediment composed of the fossilized skeletons of ancient aquatic microorganisms known as diatoms. These microscopic skeletons are composed of silicon dioxide, also known as silica, which is also the main chemical compound in sand.Full Answer >