Chemical element. Native mineral. Vital to all living things.Article by: Hobart M. King, PhD, RPG


What is Sulfur?

Sulfur is a chemical aspect with one atomic variety of 16 and also an atomic symbol of S. In ~ room temperature it is a yellow crystalline solid. Even though that is insoluble in water, it is among the most versatile aspects at developing compounds. Sulfur reacts and forms compounds through all elements except gold, iodine, iridium, nitrogen, platinum, tellurium, and also the inert gases.

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Sulfur is abundant and occurs throughout the Universe, yet it is rarely uncovered in a pure, uncombined kind at Earth"s surface. Together an element, sulfur is an important constituent the sulfate and sulfide minerals. It wake up in the liquified ions of plenty of waters. It is vital constituent of numerous atmospheric, subsurface, and also dissolved gases. The is critical element in all living things and is in the organic molecules of every fossil fuels.

Physical properties of Sulfur
Chemical Classification Native element
Color Yellow. Brownish yellow come greenish yellow. Red when molten at end 200 degrees Celsius. Burns v a fire that deserve to be an overwhelming to check out in daylight but is blue in the dark.
Streak Yellow
Luster Crystals are resinous to greasy. Powdered sulfur is dull or earthy.
Diaphaneity Transparent to translucent
Cleavage None
Mohs Hardness 1.5 to 2.5
Specific Gravity 2.0 come 2.1
Diagnostic Properties Yellow color, short hardness, low details gravity, very flammable burning through a blue flame, low melting temperature
Chemical Composition S
Crystal System Orthorhombic
Uses About 90% is offered to to produce sulfuric acid. The remainder is used in a selection of products that encompass hydrogen sulfide, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, pharmaceuticals, soaps, textiles, papers, processed rubber, gunpowder, leather, paint, dyes, food preservatives.

Did girlfriend Know? The Chinese discovered sulfur in around 2000 BC, used it to make gunpowder in the 7th century, and also used gunpowder to launch rockets, shooting projectiles, and make hand grenades in the 10th century.


World Sulfur Production: throughout 2015, an estimated 70 million metric tons of sulfur was developed worldwide. The manufacturing was widely divided amongst a large number that countries. The peak 12 producing nations were China, the united States, Russia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, India, Kazakhstan, Iran, unified Arab Emirates, and also Mexico. These countries are whereby the sulfur was separated native its geologic source material rather than the original resource of the sulfur, due to the fact that most sulfur is separated as soon as fossil fuels are processed or sulfide ores are smelted. Data from the United states Geological Survey. <7>

Sulfur is Abundant and Everywhere!

The information below should convince you the sulfur is very abundant and also present everywhere.

11th many abundant facet in the person body <1>6th most abundant element in seawater <2>14th most abundant facet in earth’s crust <3>9th most abundant facet in the entire planet <4>10th most abundant aspect in the solar system <5>10th many abundant facet in the universe <6>

Sulfur Crystals: glowing yellow sulfur crystal team showing the mineral"s properties orthorhombic crystal form and resinous luster. Specimen measures about 7.3 x 6.6 x 5.3 centimeters in size and also was accumulated from the Agrigento Province, Sicily, Italy. Specimen and also photo through Arkenstone /


Burning sulfur: piece of sulfur burning in daylight and also in the dark. Photograph by johannes "volty" Hemmerlein, used below under a GNU cost-free Documentation License.

Did girlfriend Know? Jupiter"s moon, Io, has actually over 400 active volcanoes that emit enormous amounts of sulfur - so lot sulfur the the moon has a yellowish color.

"Sulfur" or "Sulphur"?

The name "sulphur" has been used in the joined Kingdom and throughout the British empire for numerous years. "Sulfur" is the spelling offered in common and scientific communication in the joined States. In 1990 the global Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry designated "sulfur" together the wanted spelling. Just how the word is assignment can frequently reveal the age and origin the publications and authors.

Sulfur Information
<1> What elements Are discovered in the person Body? post in the structure Blocks of Life section of the Arizona institution of Life scientific researches website, accessed November 2016.<2> regular Table of elements in the Ocean, short article on the Monterey only Aquarium study Institute website, accessed November 2016.<3> perform of periodic Table facets Sorted by abundance in Earth"s Crust, write-up on the Israel science and technology website, accessed November 2016.<4> The ingredient of the Earth, by william F. McDonough, thing 1 in Earthquake Thermodynamics and also Phase changes in the earth’s Interior, manuscript on the Massachusetts institute of modern technology website, accessed November 2016.<5> Solar system Abundances and also Condensation temperature of the facets by Katharina Lodders, post published on The Astrophysical journal website, accessed November 2016.<6> diversity in the world of the Elements, post on the website, accessed November 2016.<7> Sulfur, through Lori E. Apodaca, United states Geological Survey, Mineral Commodity Summaries, 2016.<8> The global Mineralogical combination Database of Mineral Properties, an digital database of minerals together with their chemical and also physical nature that deserve to be queried and sorted by anyone with web access.

Sulfur together a Native aspect Mineral

As a mineral, sulfur is a shining yellow crystalline material. It develops near volcano vents and also fumaroles, wherein it sublimates indigenous a currently of hot gases. Small amounts of aboriginal sulfur also form during the weathering of sulfate and sulfide minerals.

The biggest accumulations that mineral sulfur are found in the subsurface. Plenty of of these are in fractures and cavities connected with sulfide ore mineralization. The biggest are connected with evaporite minerals, whereby gypsum and also anhydrite yield aboriginal sulfur together a product of bacterial action. Significant amounts of sulfur have been created from the lid rock the salt domes but this form of manufacturing is rarely done today.

Related: Blue Flames resulted in by burning sulfur, in this night scene from Kawah Ijen Volcano, situated on the island of Java, Indonesia.

Minerals the Contain Sulfur

According to the worldwide Mineralogical Association"s database, end 1000 minerals contain sulfur as crucial part of your composition. <8> This is a result of sulfur"s capacity to kind compounds v all yet a couple of other elements. The tables listed below list a small number of sulfide, sulfarsenide, sulfosalt and also sulfate minerals. Plenty of of the most typical sulfur minerals are consisted of in the list, but the list is not intended to it is in complete.

Sulfide Minerals:
Sulfarsenide Minerals:
Sulfosalt Minerals:

Hydroxide and Hydrous Sulfate Minerals:


The best means to learn around minerals is to examine with a collection of small specimens that you can handle, examine, and also observe your properties. Inexpensive mineral collections are obtainable in the Store.

Anhydrous Sulfate Minerals:

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