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Formula:   S   mineral photo

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Crystal:   Orthorhombic  
Hardness:   1.5-2.5  
Spec. Gr.:   2.07  
Streak:   Yellow  
Cleavage:   Imperfect basal, prismatic  
Location:   Cianciana, Sicily, Italy  

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.

Bibliography: Alain, Eid, Minerals of the World. pg. 77.

University of California, Santa Barbara—Department of Earth Science
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