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The Chemical Element Iron

solid iron meteorite

Iron Makes Up 5% of Earth's Crust

Iron is a metallic chemical element which makes up about 5% of Earth's crust.

This lustrous workable metal is widely used in industry.  Although naturally magnetic iron can be demagnetized.

The magnetic properties of iron have helped geologists study the history of Earth.  The ancient particles in rocks that aligned in different directions over thousands of years reflect changes in Earth's magnetic field.

Pure iron is a soft metal that conducts heat and electricity.  It's mostly alloyed with other chemical elements particularly carbon to improve strength.

Iron reacts to moisture in the air by forming an oxide known as rust.  

Iron is essential for animal and human health and is also necessary for the health of plants.

The vast majority of iron in our bodies is in our blood.  Iron-rich blood cells carry oxygen around the body from our lungs.  The iron gives blood its deep red colour.

The red, orange and yellow colours that can be seen in some soil and rocks comes mostly from iron oxides.  Iron oxides are also responsible for the red dust on Mars.

The inner core of the Earth is believed to be a solid iron-nickel alloy.  Meteorites of iron and nickel are believed to be some of the earliest materials that formed after the formation of the universe.  

In industry almost all iron ore is used to make steel.  One of the principal ores of iron is hematite.

Article Photos

Our photo is an iron meteorite.  It's clickable and redirects to the original image.  Courtesty of Ron Wolf. 

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