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Types of Ore

You’ve read about the basics of ore, now what? Let’s learn about the different types of ore and their uses! An image of stacked gold bars .
 

Gold and Its Uses

We all know what gold is, right? It’s the pretty jewelry that you see in mom’s room or the shiny new watches that dad wears. But that isn’t all! We use gold every day for many different reasons. They may surprise you!
 
We use this type of ore in cell phones, make-up, fabric and even some medicines. We can also use very small amounts of gold to diagnose sicknesses. It is a very useful type of metal that we use more than many people realize.
 

Where do We Find Gold?

Gold exists in a wide variety of places. That said, specific landforms and minerals often clue us into its presence. Alluvium, a certain type of sediment, tends to contain chunks of gold. Additionally, gold often groups up with iron-containing minerals like hematite.  
 

Silver and Its Uses

Silver is another type of ore that we use quite a bit. We have all kinds of uses for it. We use it for silverware, in coins, for parts in batteries and engines and many other things. But like gold, silver is very soft. That means that we need to mix it with other types of ore or metals to strengthen it.

An image of a variety of silver items.

All sorts of beautiful, silver things. Maybe 2nd place isn’t so bad…

Silver is usually mixed with copper to create sterling silver and strengthen the metal. For example, the gold and silver Olympic medals are both about 92.5% silver. Gold medals have a coating of at least 6 grams of gold.
 

Where Do We Find Silver?

Like Gold, Silver is often found alongside certain other minerals. Lead is one of them. Lead ore often forms near the earth’s surface and becomes exposed through weathering. Often times, it’s only a few layers of soil that cover up lead and other valuable metals!
 

Copper and Its Uses

Do you know what copper is? When you hear the word ‘copper,’ you probably think of pennies, right? Like the other metals that we have talked about, copper is a very common type of ore. It is a tough, non-magnetic, recyclable type of metal.
 
We use it all the time! If you take a look around your house or school, you may see it without even noticing. (It is that common!) We use it in electrical wires, furniture, technology, and much more.
 

Iron and Its Uses

There is a whole time period named after this metal! It is a shiny, soft metal. It’s a silvery-gray color and has many different uses as well. Because it is so soft, it can be made into many different things. It was first used for weapons and tools, but today we use it for magnets, kitchen utensils, medicines, and it’s even in your blood! 

An image of iron swords stacked together.

Swords made out of iron. It’s a dangerous metal!

Other Great Resources:

Chem4Kids – Iron: http://www.chem4kids.com/files/elements/026_speak.html

Wikipedia – Copper: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copper

Britannica – Silver: https://www.britannica.com/science/silver

 

Written by: Hannah Bertoch