sulfur - teaching student specimens of massive sulfur UNIT OF 10 smaller SPECIMENS
This sulfur was deposited at a volcanic spring and mined around 40 years ago. Sulfur is interesting to students because it makes noise - hold a specimen tight to your ear and it will crackle like Rice Crispies. Why does it do that? Sulfur is a poor conductor of heat. Your ear warms the outside of the piece and it expands, but the cooler interior doesn't. The expanding outer layers of atoms snap past the inner layers. You have to listen carefully.
There is no current mining of sulfur in the United States, though it is used in the production of sulfuric acid and other chemicals. Sulfur is now produced from the refining of natural gas and petroleum.
We are currently uncovering an old stockpile buried in alluvium, so the size we offer depends on what passed through the screens almost a half century ago. Sulfur's hardness ranges from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, so you might or might not be able to scratch it with your fingernail. It burns with a blue flame.
You are buying a unit of 10 smaller student specimens. These are smaller than the sulfur we normally offer, but are perfectly adequate, since they are the same all the way through and students are not looking at a texture as with a rock. We would not offer these if we thought they were too small for effective student examination. A way to save a bit on classroom minerals.
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