How Is Sulfur Made?

Sulfur is made at very high temperatures in the depths of massive stars when the nuclei of silicon and helium fuse. On Earth, sulfur is found in its free state near volcanoes and hot springs. It is also brought to Earth via meteorites.

Sulfur is a common, non-metal element that is often found as fine crystals and granular aggregates. Pure sulfur is lemon yellow, though impure sulfur may be brown or black. The element is usually very soft to the touch and stable at room temperature. It is also a poor conductor of heat, and simply holding it in the hand can crack the crystals.

Sulfur burns at a relatively low temperature, then gives off noisome, poisonous sulfur dioxide fumes. This is probably why it is also called brimstone. Despite this, sulfur is necessary to life. It is also used to vulcanize rubber and make explosives, fertilizers and fungicides.

Though sulfur can be found in its free state, it is also a by-product of the oil industry. It can be obtained from the ground without having to dig. An area with sulfur deposits is drilled, and then steam, compressed air and superheated water are pumped into the hole. The molten sulfur then rises to the top.