Things To Know About Mercury

Filed under: Mercury - 13 Nov 2012  | Spread the word !

The element mercury is commonly defined as a silvery-white poisonous metallic element, which becomes liquid at room temperature. Mercury has a wide range of uses. For instance, it can be used in thermometers, barometers, vapor lamps, as well as in the preparation of chemical pesticide. Below you can find a list of other really interesting things about mercury.


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  • Mercury was named after the Roman god Mercury.
  • The symbol of this element is Hg, which actually comes from hydrargyrum, meaning water and silver.
  • Mercury is commonly considered a Transition Metal, being ductile, malleable and also able to conduct electricity and heat.
  • This element has a long history, actually being known since the time of Ancient Egypt.
  • More than 50 percent of all mercury resources come from Spain and Italy.
  • The element is commonly used in thermometers, barometers, as well as fluorescent lamps.
  • Mercury is poisonous, so its use has to be controlled. This means that the metal can only be used in some mediums and in particular conditions.
  • Mercury is a chemical element, having the atomic number 80.
  • The most interesting aspect about mercury is that even though this is a heavy metal, it can only exist in liquid form at room temperature.
  • It is a rare element, found in the crust of the Earth.
  • Mercury occurs as cinnabar or mercuric sulfide, even though in some cases it can also occur as livingstonite, corderoite and other minerals.
  • Mercury has been used for long time and the truth is that no scientist can be credited for discovering this metal. Mercury was familiar to civilizations living in China and India, too.
  • Mercury has traditionally been used in extracting silver and gold. However, nowadays this use has declined in popularity.
  • Atmospheric mercury is formed by volcanoes, when they erupt.
  • Human activities such as gold production, caustic soda production and disposal of waters may also produce atmospheric mercury.
  • Mercury is highly toxic, so when inhaled or ingested into the body it can cause health problems, even leading to death.
  • Liquid mercury has also been discovered thousands of years ago. The metal was found to be poisonous since ancient times.


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Romans first discovered that liquid mercury, and actually mercury in general is poisonous. They found that the exposure to this metal can lead to death when Romans observed the effects mercury had on mine workers. Nowadays, mercury is well known to cause damage to the nerves and kidneys, also being able to lead to blindness. Mercury can be extremely beneficial and useful in many processes, it just has to be handled properly.