History of use

What is native sulfur used for?

Native sulfur is a common mineral from the class of native elements. Sulfur is an example of a well-defined enantiomorphic polymorphism. In nature it forms 2 polymorphic modifications: a-orthorhombic sulfur and b-monoclinic sulfur. At atmospheric pressure and a temperature of 95,6°C, a-sulfur transforms into b-sulfur.
Native sulfur is usually represented by a-sulfur. Sulfur, unlike other native elements, has a molecular lattice, which determines its low hardness. Variety: Vulcanite (selenium sulfur). Orange-red, red-brown color. The origin is volcanic.

Features

Native sulfur is characterized by: a non-metallic luster and the fact that sulfur ignites with a match and burns with a blue flame, releasing sulfur dioxide, which has a sharp suffocating odor. The most characteristic color of native sulfur is light yellow. Easily soluble in Canada balsam, turpentine and kerosene. Insoluble in water, but soluble in CS2. Insoluble in HCl and H2SO4. HNO3 and aqua regia oxidize sulfur, turning it into H2SO4. Sulfur is formed during volcanic eruptions, during the weathering of sulfides, during the decomposition of gypsum-bearing sedimentary strata, and also in connection with the activity of bacteria. The main types of native sulfur deposits are volcanogenic and exogenous (chemogenic-sedimentary). Exogenous deposits predominate; they are associated with gypsum anhydrites, which, under the influence of hydrocarbon and hydrogen sulfide emissions, are reduced and replaced by sulfur-calcite ores. All major deposits have such infiltration-metasomatic genesis. Native sulfur is often formed (except in large accumulations) as a result of the oxidation of H2S. The geochemical processes of its formation are significantly activated by microorganisms (sulfate-reducing and thionic bacteria). Among the volcanogenic deposits of native sulfur, the main ones are hydrothermal-metasomatic (for example, in Japan), formed by sulfur-bearing quartzites and opalites, and volcanogenic-sedimentary sulfur-bearing silts of crater lakes. It is also formed during fumarole activity. Formed under the conditions of the earth’s surface, native sulfur is still not very stable and, gradually oxidizing, gives rise to sulfates, ch. like plaster. Sometimes, during volcanic processes, sulfur is ejected in liquid form. This happens when sulfur, previously deposited on the walls of the craters, melts as the temperature rises. Sulfur is also deposited from hot aqueous solutions as a result of the decomposition of hydrogen sulfide and sulfur compounds released during one of the later phases of volcanic activity. These phenomena are now observed near the geyser vents of Yellowstone Park (USA) and Iceland. It is found together with gypsum, anhydrite, limestone, dolomite, rock and potassium salts, clays, bituminous deposits (oil, ozokerite, asphalt) and pyrite. It is also found on the walls of volcanic craters, in cracks in lavas and tuffs surrounding the vents of volcanoes, both active and extinct, near sulfur mineral springs.

Place of Birth

  • Vodinskoye, Samara region, Russia
  • Texas and Louisiana, USA
  • Shor-Su, Uzbekistan
  • Guardak, Karakum Desert, Turkmenistan
  • Sicily, Italy-Tarnobrzeg, Poland
  • Yazovskoye field, Lviv, Ukraine

Sulfur of volcanic origin:

  • Kamchatka, Russia
  • Pozzuoli, Italy
  • Hawaiian Islands

Sulfur in sulfide oxidation zones:

  • Rio Tinto, Spain
  • Kostajnike, Serbia

Application

Used in the production of sulfuric acid (about 50% of the extracted amount). In 1890, Hermann Frasch proposed smelting sulfur underground and extracting it to the surface through wells, and currently sulfur deposits are developed mainly by smelting native sulfur from underground layers directly at its location. Sulfur is also found in large quantities in natural gas (in the form of hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide); during gas production, it is deposited on the walls of pipes, rendering them inoperable, so it is recovered from the gas as quickly as possible after production.

Sulfur is widely used in the chemical, pulp and paper (production of cellulose sulfate), leather and rubber industries (rubber vulcanization), and in agriculture (production of pesticides).

Properties of the Mineral

Color Pure sulfur is light yellow, with impurities of selenium it is dark brown, arsenic is bright red, bitumen is dark brown and black. Milky white and blue sulfur is known.
Line color Straw yellow, white
Origin of the name The word “sulfur”, known in the Old Russian language since the 15th century, is borrowed from the Old Slavonic “sera” – “sulphur, resin”, generally “flammable substance, fat”. The etymology of the word has not been clarified to date, since the original common Slavic name for the substance has been lost and the word has reached the modern Russian language in a distorted form. According to Vasmer, “sulfur” goes back to lat. sera – “wax” or lat. serum – “serum”. Latin sulfur (derived from the Hellenized spelling of the etymological sulpur) presumably goes back to the Indo-European root *swelp – “to burn”
Opening year known since ancient times
IMA status valid, first described before 1959 (before IMA)
Chemical formula S8
Brilliance fatty
resinous
Transparency transparent
translucent
Cleavage imperfect in
imperfect in
imperfect in
Kink conchoidal
uneven
Hardness 2
Thermal properties Sulfur has a low melting point – 113°C. It burns easily in air, burns with a blue flame, releasing suffocating vapors of sulfur dioxide (which, when interacting with water, forms sulfuric acid, which falls as precipitation on the ground).
Typical impurities Se,Te
Strunz (8th edition) 1/0.0-10
Hey’s CIM Ref. 1.51
Dana (7th edition) 1.3.4.1
Dana (8th edition) 1.3.5.1
Cell Options a = 10.468Å, b = 12.870Å, c = 24.49Å
Attitude a:b:c = 0.813 : 1 : 1.903
Number of formula units (Z) 128
Unit cell volume V 3,299.37 Å
Twinning Doubles in , , are quite rare.
Point group mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) – Dipyramidal
Space group Fddd (F2/d 2/d 2/d)
separateness separately by
Density (calculated) 2.076
Density (measured) 2.07
Pleochroism visible
Optical axis dispersion relatively weak r

View the mineral Sulfur Native in mineral stores

Photo of Mineral

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History of the discovery of the element. Sulfur (English Sulfur, French Sufre, German Schwefel) in its native state, as well as in the form of sulfur compounds, has been known since ancient times.

Man probably became familiar with the smell of burning sulfur, the suffocating effect of sulfur dioxide and the disgusting smell of hydrogen sulfide back in prehistoric times.

Large geode with sulfur from the collection of the Eat Museum. Stories in the city of Milan (Italy). The specimen was demonstrated at the mineralogical exhibition in Munich in 2016. The sample size is about 50 by 40 by 20 cm.

Crystal of native sulfur ~8 cm in a calcite geode in dolomite. Quarry C4 of the Vodinsky deposit.

Sulfur crystal ~ 2*1*1 cm, colored with bitumen. Quarry C4 of the Vodinsky deposit. Photo by D. Tonkacheev

Sulfur mining from fumaroles in Yen Caldera, Indonesia

Native sulfur (Sicily, Italy). Field of view 10 cm

Native sulfur, o. Sicily, Italy. Museum of Geography of Moscow State University.

Native sulfur (English Sulfur, German Schwefel, from svebal – sulfur), is a mineral from the class of native elements. Sulfur is an example of a well-defined enantiomorphic polymorphism. In nature it forms 2 polymorphic modifications: a-orthorhombic sulfur and b-monoclinic sulfur. At atmospheric pressure and a temperature of 95,6°C, a-sulfur transforms into b-sulfur.

Materials

Native sulfur is usually represented by a-sulfur, which crystallizes in the rhombic system, rhombic-bipyramidal type of symmetry. Native sulfur is yellow in color, in the presence of impurities it is yellow-brown, orange, brown to black; contains inclusions of bitumen, carbonates, sulfates, and clay. Crystals of pure sulfur are transparent or translucent, solid masses are translucent at the edges. The shine is resinous to greasy. Hardness 1-2, no cleavage, conchoidal fracture. Density 2,05 -2,08 g/cm 3, fragile. Melts at a temperature of 119°C, ignites at a temperature of 214-465°C. Easily soluble in Canada balsam, turpentine and kerosene. In HCl and H2SO4 insoluble. HNO3 and aqua regia oxidize sulfur, turning it into H2SO4.

Morphology

Forms truncated-bipyramidal, less often bipyramidal, pinacoidal or thick-prismatic crystals, as well as dense cryptocrystalline, confluent, granular, and less often fine-fibrous aggregates. The main forms in crystals: dipyramids (111) and (113), prisms (011) and (101), pinacoid (001). Also intergrowths and druses of crystals, skeletal crystals, pseudostalactites, powdery and earthy masses, deposits and adhesives. Crystals are characterized by multiple parallel intergrowths.

Finding

Sulfur is formed during volcanic eruptions, during the weathering of sulfides, during the decomposition of gypsum-bearing sedimentary strata, and also in connection with the activity of bacteria. The main types of native sulfur deposits are volcanogenic and exogenous (chemogenic-sedimentary). Exogenous deposits predominate; they are associated with gypsum anhydrites, which, under the influence of hydrocarbon and hydrogen sulfide emissions, are reduced and replaced by sulfur-calcite ores. All major deposits have such infiltration-metasomatic genesis. Native sulfur is often formed (except for large accumulations) as a result of the oxidation of H2S. The geochemical processes of its formation are significantly activated by microorganisms (sulfate-reducing and thionic bacteria). Associated minerals are calcite, aragonite, gypsum, anhydrite, celestine, and sometimes bitumen. Among the volcanogenic deposits of native sulfur, the main ones are hydrothermal-metasomatic (for example, in Japan), formed by sulfur-bearing quartzites and opalites, and volcanogenic-sedimentary sulfur-bearing silts of crater lakes. It is also formed during fumarole activity. Formed under the conditions of the earth’s surface, native sulfur is still not very stable and, gradually oxidizing, gives rise to sulfates, ch. like plaster.

Used in the production of sulfuric acid (about 50% of the extracted amount). In 1890, Hermann Frasch proposed smelting sulfur underground and extracting it to the surface through wells, and currently sulfur deposits are developed mainly by smelting native sulfur from underground layers directly at its location. Sulfur is also found in large quantities in natural gas (in the form of hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide); during gas production, it is deposited on the walls of pipes, rendering them inoperable, so it is recovered from the gas as quickly as possible after production.

  • Vodinskoye field, near the village. Novosemeykino, Wed. Volga region, Russia (large /up to 10 cm/ crystals with gypsum, calcite, celestine).
  • Shor-Su, Uzbekistan, Central Asia (large crystals and druses with calcite).
  • Gaurdak deposit (Turkmenistan).
  • Agrigento, Sicily, Italy (crystals).

Sulfur (eng. SULPHUR) – S

Typical impurities Se,Te
IMA status valid, first described before 1959 (before IMA)

CLASSIFICATION

Strunz (8th edition) 1/0.0-10
Dana (7th edition) 1.3.4.1
Dana (8th edition) 1.3.5.1
Hey’s CIM Ref. 1.51

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