| Sulfur was identified as a native element by the French chemist Gay-Lussac
and L.J. The'nard in 1809. It originates by sublimation by volcanic activity
and the action of hot springs. Large deposits of sulfur occur at Vesuvius,
Italy; Popocatepetl, Mexico; and near Putama, Chile. Sulfur crystals of
great beauty are brilliant yellow in association with calcite, aragonite,
celestine and barite. The specimen displayed in the UCSB Geology collection
shows a series of complete sulfur crystals, each perched atop a stalactitic
column of aragonite. This specimen was featured in color by the National
Geographic Magazine. In ancient times, homes and public places were regularly
fumigated with sulfur as a disinfectant to prevent the spread of disease.
In the middle ages, supernatural powers were ascribed to sulfur by alchemists.