GEOCHEMISTRY EVERYONE

FOREIGN LANGUAGES PUBLISHING HOUSE
M o s c o w I 9 5 8

RANSLATtD

KROM A.

THE

RUSSIAN

BY

DAVID DESIGNED

MYSHNE DAUMANN

BY G.

This Book Brought To You By gnv64

C O N T E N T S

Foreword Introduction 1'iirl One The Atom W h a t is G e o c h e m i s t r y ? W o r l d of the Invisible. T h e A t o m and the Chemical E l e m e n t T h e A t o m s A r o u n d Us Birth and Behaviour of the A t o m in the Universe H o w M e n d e l e y e v D i s c o v e r e d His I.aw M e n d e l e y e v ' s Periodic Svstem of E l e m e n t s in O u r D a y s M e n d e l e y c v ' s Periodic System of E l e m e n t s in G e o c h e m i s t r y T h e Atom Disintegrates. Uranium and Radium T h e Atom and T i m e i'n r I 7'icu Chemical E l e m e n t s in N a t u r e Silicon-Basis of the E a r t h ' s Crust

5 - I I

IV 24 31 39 47 54 63 69

C a r b o n - B a s i s of All Life P h o s p h o r u s - E l e m e n t of Life a n d T h o u g h t S u l p h u r - B a M s of the Chemical Industry C a l c i u m - S y m b o l of D u r a b i l i t y P o t a s s i u m - B a s i s of P l a n t Life Iron and the Iron A g e S t r o n t i u m - Metal of Red Lights T i n - M e t a l of the F o o d - C a n Iodine-the Omnipresent Fluorine-thc Omnivorous A l u m i n i u m - M e t a l of the 20th Century B e r y l l i u m - M e t a l of the F u t u r e

104 IIS 125 133 144 156 164 174 183 190 202 212

V a n a d i u m - B a s i s of the A u t o m o b i l e G o l d - K i n g of M e t a l s Rare D i s p e r s e d E l e m e n t s Part Three History of the A t o m in N a t u r e Meteorites-Heralds of the Universe

218 226 236

247 267 279 293 300 308 318 324

Atoms in the E a r t h ' s History of the A t o m s Atoms in the Air Atoms in W a t e r A t o m s Oil the Surface Atoms in the Living Atoms in the History

Interior in the History of the E a r t h

of the E a r t h . F r o m the Arctic to the Subtropics Cell of M a n k i n d Part boar Past and F u t u r e of Geochemistry

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From the History of G e o c h c m i c a l I d e a s H o w the Chemical E l e m e n t s a n d Minerals W e r e N a m e d Chcmistrv and G e o c h e m i s t r y in O u r T i m e Fantastic T r i p T h r o u g h M e n d e l e y e v ' s Periodic T a b l e F u t u r e Conquests E n d of Book Siiiiplement T h e Geochemist in the Field Brief I n f o r m a t i o n A b o u t Chemical Glossary Elements

343 363 369 378 386 392

403 418 435

F O R E W O R D

I n t h e b o o k Giochemistry for Everyone A c a d e m i c i a n A . F e r s m a n o f f e r s a n e n t e r t a i n i n g a c c o u n t of t h e m a n y y e a r s of w o r k h e d e v o t e d t o d e v e l o p i n g g e o c h e m i s t r y , t h e n e w b r a n c h of g e o l o g i c a l s c i e n c e , a n d s t r i v e s t o s h o w t h e c h e m i c a l life of o u r p l a n e t as it a p p e a r e d t o h i s i m a g i n a t i o n e n r i c h e d b y extensive scientific experience. T h i s n e w b r a n c h of s c i e n c e a b o u t t h e e a r t h c a m e i n t o b e i n g in t h e b e g i n n i n g of o u r c e n t u r y a n d is set f o r t h i n t h e w o r k s of t h e o u t s t a n d i n g S o v i e t s c i e n t i s t s — Academicians V. Vernadsky a n d A. Fersman. I t t o o k a lot of w o r k a n d t i m e b e f o r e g e n e r a l i d e a s of t h e c h e m i c a l c o m p o s i t i o n of t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t c o u l d e m e r g e f r o m t h e s e p a r a t e a n d i s o l a t e d o b s e r v a t i o n s . T h e progress m a d e b y n u c l e a r physics a n d chemistry, the sciences a b o u t the s t r u c t u r e of m a t t e r , h e l p e d t h e g e o l o g i s t a n d m i n e r a l o g i s t t o g e t a c l e a r i n s i g h t i n t o t h e d i s t r i b u t i o n a n d c y c l e of m a t t e r i n t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t . M a n w a s a b l e t o g r a s p t h e u n i t y of p r o c e s s e s w h i c h t a k e p l a c e i n t h e m i n u t e s t p a r t i c l e s of m a t t e r , i.e., a t o m s a n d m o l e c u l e s , a n d in its t r e m e n d o u s u n i v e r s a l c o n d e n s a t i o n s , i.e., t h e s u n s a n d t h e r e m o t e s t s t a r s . T h e s c i e n c e of g e o c h e m i s t r y w a s c o m i n g i n t o b e i n g , a s c i e n c e w h i c h l e a d s us i n t o t h e field of a c c o m p l i s h m e n t s m a d e b y c h e m i c a l p h y s i c s , c o s m i c c h e m i s t r y a n d a s t r o p h y s i c s a n d w h i c h , a t t h e s a m e t i m e , s u b j o i n s t h e a c h i e v e m e n t s of t h e s e s c i e n c e s t o t h e p r o b l e m s of s t u d y i n g m i n e r a l s . A l e x a n d e r F e r s m a n w a s a n e n t h u s i a s t of g e o c h e m i s t r y , o n e w h o h a d a p r o f o u n d u n d e r s t a n d i n g of its s i g n i f i c a n c e t o t h e e c o n o m i c a n d c u l t u r a l life of the country. H e w o n w i d e p o p u l a r i t y w i t h t h e S o v i e t y o u t h b y his a r d e n t l o v e of s c i e n c e a n d life w h i c h i n s p i r e d h i m i n w r i t i n g t h e r e m a r k a b l e p o p u l a r - s c i e n c e b o o k s for t h e y o u n g p e o p l e ; t h e b e s t of t h e s e b o o k s i n c l u d e h i s Mineralogy for Everyone a n d Geochemistry for Everyone. I t is a m a t t e r of r e g r e t t h a t t h e a u t h o r w a s u n a b l e t o f i n i s h his Geochemistry for Everyone a n d s o m e c h a p t e r s h a d t o b e c o m p l e t e d b y his f r i e n d s a n d p u p i l s . T h u s , t h e c h a p t e r s " W o r l d of t h e I n v i s i b l e " a n d t h e " A t o m D i s i n t e g r a t e s " were written by Academician V. Khlopin, the chapters " C a r b o n " and " A t o m s in W a t e r " w e r e c o n t r i b u t e d b y A c a d e m i c i a n A. V i n o g r a d o v , w h i l e t h e c h a p t e r 5

" R a r e D i s p e r s e d E l e m e n t s " b e l o n g s t o t h e p e n of P r o f e s s o r V . S h c h e r b i n a . M a t e r i a l s c o m p i l e d b y A . F e r s m a n w e r e u s e d in t h e c h a p t e r " F r o m the. H i s t o r y of G e o c h e m i c a l I d e a s , " w r i t t e n b y A c a d e m i c i a n D . S h c h e r b a k o v , a n d " A t o m s in t h e H i s t o r y of M a n k i n d , " p r e s e n t e d b y P r o f e s s o r N . R a z u m o v s k y . The b o o k w a s first p u b l i s h e d in 1 9 4 8 u n d e r t h e g e n e r a l s c i e n t i f i c e d i t o r s h i p of P r o f e s s o r N . R a z u m o v s k y w i t h A c a d e m i c i a n V . K h l o p i n a c t i n g as c o n s u l t a n t . T h e y d i d all t h e y c o u l d t o b r i n g t h e b o o k as close t o A . F e r s m a n ' s o w n i d e a as p o s s i b l e . A. F e r s m a n is w i d e l y k n o w n as a n o u t s t a n d i n g m i n e r a l o g i s t , g e o c h e m i s t a n d g e o g r a p h e r , as a p e r s i s t e n t e x p l o r e r of t h e m i n e r a l r e s o u r c e s of t h e U . S . S . R . , as a tireless t r a v e l l e r a n d a b r i l l i a n t p o p u l a r i z e r of g e o l o g i c a l k n o w l e d g e . H e w a s b o r n in .St. P e t e r s b u r g in 1883. T h e f u t u r e s c i e n t i s t s p e n t his c h i l d h o o d in t h e C r i m e a w h e r e h e l e a r n e d t o love t h e s c i e n c e a b o u t s t o n e s . " T h e C r i m e a w a s m y first u n i v e r s i t y , " t h e A c a d e m i c i a n u s e d t o s a y . T h e y o u t h , w h o w a s a t first a t t r a c t e d b y t h e e x t e r n a l b e a u t y of s t o n e s , g r a d u a l l y b e c a m e i n t e r e s t e d in q u e s t i o n s of t h e i r c o m p o s i t i o n a n d o r i g i n . After g r a d u a t i o n f r o m s e c o n d a r y school A. F e r s m a n studied at M o s c o w U n i v e r s i t y w h e r e h e a t t e n d e d lec t u r e s o n m i n e r a l o g y a n d w o r k e d u n d e r t h e s u p e r v i s i o n of A c a d e m i c i a n V l a d i m i r Y e r n a d s k y . B e f o r e V e r n a d s k y m i n e r a l o g y w a s t a u g h t a t t h e u n i v e r s i t y as a d r y a n d I o d i o u s s u b j e c t . The m i n e r a l o g i s t s of t h e e n d of t h e 1 9 t h c e n t u r y m a i n l y d e s c r i b e d the minerals, studied their crystallographic forms and systematized them. Y e r n a d s k y b r o u g h t a b r e a t h of f r e s h a i r i n t o t h i s d e s c r i p t i v e m i n e r a l o g y . H e b e g a n t o r e g a r d m i n e r a l s as p r o d u c t s of n a t u r a l ( t e r r e s t r i a l ) c h e m i c a l r e a c t i o n s a n d t o o k a n i n t e r e s t in t h e c o n d i t i o n s u n d e r w h i c h t h e y h a d f o r m e d , i.e., t h e i r b i r t h , t h e i r life a n d t h e i r t r a n s f o r m a t i o n i n t o o t h e r m i n e r a l s . This was n o longer t h e old m i n e r a l o g y w h i c h indifferently described the w o n d e r s of t h e e a r t h ' s e n t r a i l s . T h e y o u n g r e s e a r c h e r s h a d n e w p a s s i o n s a n d n e w ideas. T h e y w e r e not m e r e l y mineralogists, b u t c h e m i c o - m i n e r a l o g i s t s . " T h a t was how our teacher t a u g h t u s , " A. F e r s m a n later recalled. " H e comb i n e d c h e m i s t r y w i t h n a t u r e a n d c h e m i c a l t h i n k i n g w i t h t h e m e t h o d s of a n a t u r a l i s t . I t w a s a s c h o o l of n e w n a t u r a l s c i e n c e b a s e d o n t h e e x a c t d a t a f u r n i s h e d b y t h e s c i e n c e a b o u t t h e c h e m i c a l life of t h e e a r t h . " T h e s c i e n t i f i c w o r k w a s d o n e m o r e in t h e field t h a n in t h e s e c l u s i o n of u n i v e r s i t y s t u d i e s a n d laboratories. Excursions a n d expeditions, which were later recalled by A. Fersman t i m e a n d a g a i n , f o r m e d p a r t a n d p a r c e l of l e a r n i n g . l i m e wore on. K n o w l e d g e was acquired t h r o u g h h a r d work. T h e young scientists s t u d i e d d a y a n d n i g h t s o m e t i m e s s t a y i n g in t h e u n i v e r s i t y b u i l d i n g for d a y s o n e n d . A. F e r s m a n w a s g r a d u a t e d f r o m M o s c o w U n i v e r s i t y in 1907, b u t e v e n as a n u n d e r g r a d u a t e h e h a d w r i t t e n five s c i e n t i f i c p a p e r s o n p r o b l e m s of c r y s t a l l o g r a p h y , chemistry a n d m i n e r a l o g y u n d e r V. V e r n a d s k y ' s supervision. F o r these p a p e r s he was a w a r d e d t h e A n t i p o v Gold M e d a l , g r a n t e d to y o u n g scientists by the Mineralogical Society. A t t h e a g e of 27 A l e x a n d e r F e r s m a n w a s e l e c t e d p r o f e s s o r of m i n e r a l o g y a n d in 1912 h e b e g a n t o t e a c h a n e w s u b j e c t — g e o c h e m i s t r y — f o r t h e first t i m e ir 1 t h e h i s t o r y of s c i e n c e .

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I n his lcctures A. F e r s m a n especially e m p h a s i z e d t h a t " . . . W e m u s t be c h e m i s t s of t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t . W e m u s t s t u d y n o t o n l y t h e d i s t r i b u t i o n a n d f o r m a t i o n of m i n e r a l s , t h e s e t e m p o r a r i l y s t a b l e c o m b i n a t i o n s of e l e m e n t s , b u t also t h e very elements, their distribution, their transitions a n d their life." T h e s a m e y e a r m a r k e d t h e b e g i n n i n g of A . F e r s m a n ' s u n i n t e r r u p t e d , l i f e l o n g a c t i v i t i e s in t h e R u s s i a n A c a d e m y of S c i e n c e s , first in P e t e r s b u r g a n d t h e n in Moscow. T h e G r e a t O c t o b e r S o c i a l i s t R e v o l u t i o n set u p e n t i r e l y n e w a n d f a v o u r a b l e c o n d i t i o n s f o r s c i e n t i f i c r e s e a r c h . U n l i m i t e d o p p o r t u n i t i e s t o e x e r c i s e all h i s creative abilities o p e n e d u p before F e r s m a n in studying a n d investigating the n a t u r a l p r o d u c t i v e f o r c e s of t h e c o u n t r y . P r o f o u n d a n d p e n e t r a t i n g i n v e s t i g a t o r a s h e w a s , A . F e r s m a n w a s o n e of t h e s t a u n c h e s t a n d m o s t a r d e n t s u p p o r t e r s of a p p l i e d a c t i v i t y ; h e n e v e r c e a s e d t o s u m m o n t h e s c i e n t i s t s i n t o t h e field of p r a c t i c a l , n a t i o n a l - e c o n o m i c i n t e r e s t s . I n 1919, a t t h e a g e of 3 5 , A , F e r s m a n w a s e l e c t e d m e m b e r of t h e A c a d e m y of S c i e n c e s of t h e U . S . S . R . a n d a t t h e s a m e t i m e a p p o i n t e d D i r e c t o r of t h e M i n e r a l o g i c a l M u s e u m of t h e A c a d e m y of S c i e n c e s . I n a p p r a i s i n g F e r s m a n ' s c r e a t i v e life w e c a n n o t b u t b e s u r p r i s e d a t t h e v a r i e t y of h i s s c i e n t i f i c a n d p r a c t i c a l i n t e r e s t s a n d e x t r a o r d i n a r y e f f i c i e n c y . I n d e v e l o p i n g t h e s c i e n t i f i c p r i n c i p l e s of g e o c h e m i s t r y a n d m i n e r a l o g y h e c o n s i d e r e d field r e s e a r c h of p r i m e i m p o r t a n c e . H e t o o k a v e r y a c t i v e p a r t in e x p e d i t i o n s a n d visited t h e m o s t d i v e r s e r e g i o n s of t h e c o u n t r y — t h e K h i b i n y t u n d r a o n K o l a P e n i n s u l a , flourishing F e r g h a n a V a l l e y , t h e h o t K a r a - K u m a n d K i z y l K u m s a n d s in C e n t r a l A s i a , t h e v a s t t a i g a s p a c e s in t h e B a i k a l a n d t h e T r a n s B a i k a l r e g i o n s , t h e w o o d e d e a s t e r n s l o p e s of t h e U r a l s , A l t a i , t h e U k r a i n e , t h e C r i m e a , t h e N o r t h C a u c a s u s , T r a n s c a u c a s i a , etc. O f e x c e p t i o n a l i n t e r e s t a r e t h e t r u l y h e r o i c e x p l o r a t i o n s of K o l a P e n i n s u l a b e g u n b y A . F e r s m a n in K h i b i n y in 1920 a n d i n t h e M o n c h a t u n d r a i n 1930 a n d c o n t i n u i n g t o t h e v e r y e n d of his life. H i s g r e a t e s t a c h i e v e m e n t w a s t h e d i s c o v e r y of a p a t i t e a n d n i c k e l - o r e d e p o s i t s of w o r l d i m p o r t a n c e . A s a r e s u l t of e x t e n s i v e w o r k d o n e b y A . F e r s m a n a n d o t h e r s p e c i a l i s t s K o l a P e n i n s u l a h a s g i v e n t h e c o u n t r y s o m e of t h e r i c h e s t d e p o s i t s of n u m e r o u s minerals. I n d u s t r i a l e x p l o i t a t i o n of t h e r e s o u r c e s of K o l a P e n i n s u l a b e g a n i n 1929. T h e r e m o t e a n d a t o n e t i m e s c a r c e l y - k n o w n w i l d e r n e s s in t h e d i s t a n t N o r t h h a s c h a n g e d i n t o a m o s t i m p o r t a n t m i n i n g a n d i n d u s t r i a l r e g i o n . N e w cities, at first K h i b i n o g o r s k ( n o w K i r o v s k ) a n d s o o n a f t e r w a r d s M o n c h e g o r s k a n d o t h e r s , h a v e a r i s e n in t h e u n i n h a b i t e d a r e a s as if b y m a g i c . H e r e is w h a t A . F e r s m a n h i m s e l f w r o t e a b o u t t h e w o r k o n K o l a P e n i n s u l a : " I n t h e m i d s t of all e x p e r i e n c e s of t h e p a s t , a m i d t h e v a r i o u s p i c t u r e s of n a t u r e , m a n a n d e c o n o m y , t h e m o s t v i v i d i n m y life w e r e t h e i m p r e s s i o n s of t h e K h i b i n y , a w h o l e s c i e n t i f i c e p o s w h i c h f o r n e a r l y t w e n t y y e a r s o c c u p i e d m y m i n d , c o n s u m e d m y e f f o r t s a n d e n e r g y , t o o k f u l l p o s s e s s i o n of m y b e i n g , s h a r p e n e d m y will, m y s c i e n t i f i c t h i n k i n g , m y d e s i r e s a n d m y h o p e s . . . . O n l y by stubbornness a n d persistence, only by t r e m e n d o u s work were w e able to a c h i e v e r e s u l t s in this w o n d e r l a n d w h i c h r e v e a l e d its r i c h e s t o u s as t h o u g h 7

in a lairy-talc.'' T h e K h i b i n y period does not o v e r s h a d o w Fersman's other scientific research. H e h a d e n o u g h e n e r g y for everything. I n 1924 F e r s m a n b e g a n his w o r k in C e n t r a l A s i a a n d his i n t e r e s t i n t h i s w o r k c o n t i n u e d t o t h e e n d of his life. I n 1925 h e v e n t u r e d a d a r i n g t r i p t o the central K a r a K u m , barely k n o w n at the time, a n d studied a rich deposit of n a t i v e s u l p h u r w h i c h h a s b e c o m e t h e p r o p e r t y of S o v i e t i n d u s t r y . T h e s u l p h u r p l a n t b u i l t w i t h his a i d is still w o r k i n g t o d a y . B e t w e e n 1934 a n d 1939 A . F e r s m a n f i n i s h e d his c a p i t a l f o u r - v o l u m e w o r k Geochemistry 011 t h e c h e m i s t r y of t h e e l e m e n t s of t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t , a w o r k rem a r k a b l e for its f o r c e a n d s c i e n t i f i c f o r e s i g h t . I n t h i s w o r k , b a s e d o n t h e l a w s of p h y s i c a l c h e m i s t r y , w h i c h b r o u g h t A . F e r s m a n a n d , in his p e r s o n , R u s s i a n g e o c h e m i s t r y w o r l d f a m e , h e m a d e a n e x t e n s i v e a n a l y s i s of t h e r e g u l a r i t i e s of m i g r a t i o n s of a t o m s in t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t . In 1940 F e r s m a n f i n i s h e d his Minerals on hola Peninsula. In t h i s w o r k h e g a v e a b r i l l i a n t e x a m p l e of a g e o c h e m i c a l a p p r o a c h t o t h e s t u d y of m i n e r a l r e s o u r c e s a n d p r e d i c t e d t h e d i s c o v e r y of a n u m b e r of n e w m i n e r a l deposits. A. F e r s m a n h a s left us a n e n o r m o u s l i t e r a r y h e r i t a g e . H e p u b l i s h e d close t o i,"|00 a r t i c l e s , b o o k s a n d l a r g e m o n o g r a p h s . I n a d d i t i o n to t h e w o r k s o n crystallography, mineralogy, geology, chemistry, geochemistry, g e o g r a p h y a n d a e r i a l p h o t o g r a p h y h e w r o t ' ' o n a s t r o n o m y , p h i l o s o p h y , a r t , a r c h a e o l o g y , soil s c i e n c e , b i o l o g y , etc. A l e x a n d e r F e r s m a n w a s n o t o n l y a s c i e n t i s t , b u t a p u b l i c figure a n d s t a t e s m a n as well. S p e c i a l m e n t i o n m u s t b e m a d e of h i m as a t a l e n t e d w r i t e r a n d p o p u l a r i z e r of g e o l o g i c a l k n o w l e d g e , a " p o e t of s t o n e s , " as A. T o l s t o i c a l l e d h i m . His r e p o r t s , l e c t u r e s a n d p e r s o n a l c h a t s i n s p i r e d a n d f a s c i n a t e d his l i s t e n e r s of all a g e s a n d o c c u p a t i o n s , w h i l e his n u m e r o u s p o p u l a r - s c i e n c e a r t i c l e s w e r e r e a d b y all s e c t i o n s of t h e p o p u l a t i o n . T h e first e d i t i o n of Mineralogy jor Everyone a p p e a r e d in 1 9 2 8 ; t h e b o o k w a s t r a n s l a t e d i n t o m a n y f o r e i g n l a n g u a g e s a n d h a s r u n i n t o 2 5 e d i t i o n s . Recollections about a Stone w a s p u b l i s h e d in 1940. My 'Travels, Stories about Precious Stones a n d Geochemistry for Everyone c a m e o u t of p r i n t a f t e r A . F e r s m a n ' s d e a t h . All t h e s e b o o k s h a v e m a d e h i m v e r y p o p u l a r w i t h r e a d e r s of all a g e s . S u c h b o o k s d o n o t c o m e i n t o b e i n g all of a s u d d e n . T h e y a r e a r e s u l t of l o n g y e a r s of c r e a t i v e w o r k a n d e x p e r i e n c e ; t h e y r e f l e c t t h e e n t i r e life of t h e scientist a n d his s c i e n t i f i c i n t e r e s t s . A t t h e s a m e t i m e t h e s e a r e b o o k s of a n e x p e r i e n c e d a n d t a l e n t e d t e a c h e r w h o a p p r e c i a t e s t h e p r o b l e m s of e d u c a t i n g t h e r i s i n g s c i e n t i f i c g e n e r a t i o n . W i t h his f e r v e n t w o r d s of a w r i t e r a n d s p e a k e r A. F e r s m a n k i n d l e d t h e l o v e for m i n e r a l o g y a n d g e o c h e m i s t r y in l e g i o n s of y o u n g p e o p l e a n d led a l a r g e n u m b e r of s c i e n t i f i c w o r k e r s t o n e w s t u d i e s a n d r e s e a r c h . F e r s m a n ' s great, love for his n a t i v e l a n d s h o u l d b e p a r t i c u l a r l y e m p h a s i z e d . T h i s love is felt in e v e r y o n e of his s t a t e m e n t s , in e a c h l i n e of his w r i t i n g s . All his essays a r e h y m n s t o l a b o u r , c a l l i n g t o m a s t e r y a n d t o c r e a t i v e t r a n s f o r m a t i o n of t h e c o u n t r y ' s n a t u r e o n t h e basis of e x a c t s c i e n t i f i c k n o w l e d g e . " W e d o n o t w a n t to b e p h o t o g r a p h e r s of n a t u r e , t h e e a r t h a n d its r i c h e s . " F e r s m a n u s e d t o s a y . " W e w a n t t o b e i n v e s t i g a t o r s a n d c r e a t o r s of n e w i d e a s ;

w e w a n t t o c o n q u e r n a t u r e a n d t o s u b o r d i n a t e it t o m a n , t o his c u l t u r e a n d economy. " W c d o n o t w a n t to b e m e r e l y a c c u r a t e observers or impassive tourists w h o j o t d o w n their impressions in a n o t e - b o o k . W e w a n t to get a d e e p insight into n a t u r e so t h a t o u r p r o f o u n d a n d t h o u g h t f u l i n v e s t i g a t i o n of it m a y n o t o n l y g i v e rise t o i d e a s , b u t a l s o r e s u l t in d e e d s . W c c a n n o t b e m e r e l y i d l e a d m i r e r s of o u r v a s t c o u n t r y ; w e m u s t a c t i v e l y h e l p r e s h a p e it a n d c r e a t e a n e w l i f e . " Life w i t h o u t w o r k a n d science h a d n o m e a n i n g to F e r s m a n . T h e m o r e difficult t h e t a s k h e f a c e d t h e g r e a t e r t h e z e a l w i t h w h i c h h e t a c k l e d it. A . F e r s m a n d i e d a f t e r a g r a v e illness i n 1945. " T h e services r e n d e r e d b y A. F e r s m a n to science a n d to o u r c o u n t r y a r e i m m e a s u r a b l e a n d i m m o r t a l , " said A c a d e m i c i a n D. Bclyankin. " The scope of his s c i e n t i f i c i n t e r e s t s c o m b i n e d w i t h h i s u n t i r i n g c o n c e r n f o r t h e w e l l - b e i n g a n d g l o r y of o u r c o u n t r y q u i t e r e m i n d u s of o u r i m m o r t a l L o m o n o s o v a n d M e n d e l e y e v . I t is n o a c c i d e n t t h a t h e h e l d t h e s e n a m e s so s a c r e d . " A c a d e m i c i a n D. Shcherbakov

INTRODUCTION
S e v e r a l y e a r s a g o I w r o t e m y Mineralogy for Everyone. S i n c e t h e n I h a v e r e c e i v e d h u n d r e d s of l e t t e r s f r o m s c h o o l c h i l d r e n , w o r k e r s a n d v a r i o u s specialists. T h e l e t t e r s s h o w so m u c h g e n u i n e a n d lively i n t e r e s t in stones, t h e i r s t u d y a n d t h e h i s t o r y of t h e i r use. S o m e of t h e c h i l d r e n ' s l e t t e r s d i s p l a y e d a g o o d d e a l of y o u t h f u l f e r v o u r , v i m a n d v i g o u r . . . . T h e l e t t e r s h a v e f a s c i n a t e d m e a n d I h a v e d e c i d e d to w r i t e a n o t h e r b o o k for o u r rising g e n e r a t i o n . O f l a t e I h a v e b e e n w o r k i n g in a d i f f e r e n t , a m u c h h a r d e r a n d m u c h m o r e a b s t r a c t field; m y t h o u g h t s h a v e l u r e d m e a w a y i n t o a r e m a r k a b l e w o r l d , a w o r l d of i n f i n i t e l y s m a l l , n e g l i g i b l e p a r t i c l e s of w h i c h all of n a t u r e a n d m a n h i m s e l f a r e m a d e . I n t h e last t w e n t y y e a r s I h a v e c h a n c e d t o t a k e p a r t i n d e v e l o p i n g a w h o l e n e w s c i e n c e , w h i c h w e call geochemistry. I t w a s n o t in c o m fortable study-rooms with p e n a n d p a p e r in h a n d t h a t we developed this s c i e n c e ; it c a m e i n t o b e i n g as a r e s u l t of n u m e r o u s a c c u r a t e o b s e r v a tions, e x p e r i m e n t s a n d m e a s u r e m e n t s ; it w a s b o r n i n t h e s t r u g g l e f o r a n e w u n d e r s t a n d i n g of life a n d n a t u r e , a n d b e a u t i f u l , i n d e e d , w e r e t h e m o m e n t s w h e n t h e s e p a r a t e n e w c h a p t e r s of this s c i e n c e of t h e future were brought to a n end. B u t w h a t will I tell y o u a b o u t g e o c h e m i s t r y t h a t m a y e n t e r t a i n y o u ? W h a t k i n d of a s c i e n c e is i t ? A n d w h y is it n o t s i m p l y c h e m i s t r y , b u t geochemistry? A n d t h e n w h y is it n o t a c h e m i s t , b u t a geologist, a m i n e r a l o g i s t a n d a c r y s t a l l o g r a p h e r w h o w r i t e s a b o u t it? T h e r e a d e r will n o t get t h e a n s w e r t o his q u e s t i o n s in t h e first c h a p t e r ; h e will l e a r n a g o o d d e a l in it, b u t b r i e f l y . O n l y h e w h o r e a d s t h e b o o k
i i

to t h e e n d will g e t a r e a l i n s i g h t i n t o g e o c h e m i s t r y a n d will a c t u a l l y e n j o y it. T h e r e a d e r will t h e n s a y : " S o t h a t is g e o c h e m i s t r y ! W h a t a n i n t e r e s t i n g a n d d i f f i c u l t s c i e n c e it is! H o w little c h e m i s t r y , g e o l o g y a n d e v e n m i n e r a l o g y I know 7 as y e t t o g e t a r e a l g r a s p of i t ! " But it is w o r t h y o u r w h i l e l e a r n i n g m o r e a b o u t it b e c a u s e t h e f u t u r e of g e o c h e m i s t r y is m u c h m o r e i m p o r t a n t t h a n s o m e p e o p l e b e l i e v e , for it is precisely g e o c h e m i s t r y t h a t will, t o g e t h e r w i t h p h y s i c s a n d c h e m i s t r y , p l a c e t h e g r e a t r e s o u r c e s of m a t t e r a n d e n e r g y u n d e r t h e c o m m a n d of m a n . B e f o r e b r i n g i n g this i n t r o d u c t i o n to a n e n d I s h o u l d like t o a d v i s e t h e r e a d e r h o w t o r e a d this b o o k . I t is n o t e n o u g h t o tell w h a t t o r e a d ; it is o f t e n e v e n m o r e i m p o r t a n t t o tell h o w t o r e a d a n d s t u d y a b o o k in o r d e r t o g e t t h e m o s t o u t of it. S o m e b o o k s a r e r e a d a v i d l y b e c a u s e t h e i n t e r e s t i n g story f a s c i n a t e s t h e r e a d e r a n d h e c a n n o t t e a r h i m s e l f a w a y f r o m it. T h a t is t h e w a y , f o r e x a m p l e , a d v e n t u r e stories a r e read. O t h e r books must be studied because they either c o n t a i n a whole science o r t r e a t s e p a r a t e scientific p r o b l e m s ; i n t h e s e b o o k s scientific d a t a are consistently presented, n a t u r a l p h e n o m e n a are described a n d scientific i n f e r e n c e s a r e d r a w n . W h e n r e a d i n g s u c h b o o k s o n e m u s t d e l v e i n t o e v e r y w o r d w i t h o u t s k i p p i n g a single p a g e o r e v e n l i n e or word. B u t o u r b o o k is n e i t h e r a f a s c i n a t i n g n o v e l n o r a scientific t r e a t i s e . I t is b u i l t a c c o r d i n g to a special p l a n . O n e a f t e r a n o t h e r its f o u r p a r t s pass f r o m g e n e r a l p r o b l e m s of physics a n d c h e m i s t r y t o p r o b l e m s of g e o c h e m i s t r y a n d its f u t u r e . T h e r e a d e r w h o is n o t well v e r s e d in t h e f u n d a m e n t a l s of t h e s e sciences m u s t r e a d this b o o k slowly a n d carefully a n d , perhaps, even r e r e a d the difficult pages or those t h a t a r e of special i n t e r e s t t o h i m . B u t if t h e r e a d e r k n o w s physics a n d c h e m i s t r y h e m a y skip s e p a r a t e p a r t s of t h e b o o k w h i c h d e a l w i t h p r o b l e m s f a m i l i a r to h i m ; t h e a u t h o r h a s e n d e a v o u r e d t o m a k e e a c h essay c o m p l e t e a n d as f a r as possible i n d e p e n d e n t of t h e o t h e r p a r t s . T h e b o o k is also of v a l u e t o t h o s e w h o w i s h t o g e t a d e e p e r i n s i g h t into chemistry or geology. S t u d e n t s will find it v e r y u s e f u l t o r e a d s e p a r a t e c h a p t e r s w h i l e s t u d y i n g a g e n e r a l c o u r s e of c h e m i s t r y b e c a u s e e a c h of t h e s e c h a p t e r s m a y in l a r g e m e a s u r e i l l u s t r a t e s o m e p a r t i c u l a r l y d r y p a g e s i n t h e t e x t b o o k of c h e m i s t r y .
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While studying the non-metals the reader m a y concurrently peruse the c h a p t e r on phosphorus a n d s u l p h u r ; in investigating the ferrous m e t a l s t h e s t u d e n t w o u l d d o well to f a m i l i a r i z e h i m s e l f w i t h t h e c h a p t e r on iron a n d v a n a d i u m . I n s t u d y i n g g e o l o g y t h e s t u d e n t s h o u l d s i m i l a r l y m a k e use of c o r r e s p o n d i n g c h a p t e r s w h i c h t h r o w light o n t h e b i g c h e m i c a l p r o b l e m s of t h e d i s t r i b u t i o n of e l e m e n t s in t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t . O f p a r t i c u l a r i n t e r e s t in this r e s p e c t a r e t h e c h a p t e r s d e v o t e d t o t h e d e s c r i p t i o n of t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t , e s p e c i a l l y P a r t T h r e e e n t i t l e d " H i s t o r y of t h e A t o m in N a t u r e . " T h o s e w h o s t u d y c h e m i s t r y will see t h a t I h a v e d e a l t w i t h b u t f e w c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s ; I h a v e g i v e n a m o r e o r less d e t a i l e d d e s c r i p t i o n of o n l y fifteen of t h e m . B u t t h e n it h a s n e v e r b e e n m y i n t e n t i o n t o g i v e a full c h e m i c a l d e s c r i p t i o n a n d h i s t o r y of all t h e c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s in t h e u n i v e r s e , in t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t , o n t h e s u r f a c e of t h e e a r t h a n d in t h e h a n d s of m a n . I w a n t e d t o e l u c i d a t e o n l v i n d i v i d u a l a n d m o s t essential f e a t u r e s i n t h e " b e h a v i o u r " of t h e m o s t o r d i n a r y a n d useful e l e m e n t s w h i c h live t h e i r c o m p l i c a t e d c h e m i c a l life a r o u n d us a n d a m i d t h e u n n o t i c e a b l e a n d c o n t i n u o u s c h e m i c a l processes of t h e e a r t h . I a m s u r e m a n y p a g e s could be written a b o u t each chemical element. T h e r e a d e r himself m a y wish t o w r i t e t h e h i s t o r y of s o m e e l e m e n t a b o u t w h i c h I h a v e n o t said a n y t h i n g . I t s e e m s t o m e this m i g h t p r o v e a u s e f u l p r a c t i c a l task, a n d if s o m e o n e t a k e s a n i n t e r e s t i n a l u m p of m e t a l c h r o m i u m , its f a t e , its d e p o s i t s a n d its role in i n d u s t r y , a n d p u r s u e s this c o u r s e h e m a y w r i t e m a n y i n t e r e s t i n g p a g e s f r o m t h e h i s t o r y of this e l e m e n t a n d s h e d l i g h t o n t h e b e h a v i o u r of this little m e m b e r of t h e big iron family. I c a n o n l y a d v i s e t h e c a r e f u l r e a d e r s w h o h a v e s t u d i e d this b o o k a n d w h o a r e i n t e r e s t e d in p r o b l e m s of e x t e n s i v e a n a l y s i s of n a t u r e to v e n t u r e s u c h a task a n d to c o n t i n u e t h e p a g e s I h a v e w r i t t e n a b o u t the most i m p o r t a n t elements on the earth.

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WHAT IS GEOCHEMISTRY?
W h a t is geochemistry? This is the first question w e must answer if we are to understand all this book is going to deal with. W e know what geology is because it teaches us about the earth, its crust, its history and the changes it undergoes; it tells us how mountains, rivers and seas are formed, how volcanoes and lava make their appearance and h o w sediments of silts and sands slowly grow on the ocean floor. W e also understand mineralogy which studies minerals. In m y book Mineralogy for Everyone I wrote: "A mineral is a natural compound of chemical elements which has formed without the interference of man. It is a sort of edifice built of different quantities of certain bricks; it is not a disorderly pile of these bricks, but a structure made according to certain laws of nature. W e understand very well that even by using the same bricks and in the same quantities we can put up different buildings. T h e same mineral may similarly be encountered in nature in most diverse forms though it essentially remains the same chemical compound. "We count about one hundred varieties of these bricks of which all of the nature that surrounds us is built. "These chemical elements include gases—oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen ; metals—sodium, magnesium, iron, mercury, gold or such substances as silicon, chlorine, bromine, etc. "Various combinations of elements in different amounts give us what w e call minerals; for example, chlorine and sodium give us c o m m o n salts, two parts of oxygen and, one part of silicon yield silica or quartz, etc.
2

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" . . . T h r e e thousand different m i n e r a l s ( q u a r t z , salt, f e l d s p a r , etc.) h a v e t h u s b e e n b u i l t of c o m b i n a t i o n s of v a r i o u s c h e m i c a l elements in the e a r t h a n d these minerals, accumulating together, f o r m w h a t w e call r o c k (for example, granite, limestone, basalt, s a n d , e t c . ) . "The science that studies m i n e r a l s is c a l l e d m i n e r a l o g y , t h e o n e t h a t d e s c r i b e s r o c k s is k n o w n as p e t r o g r a p h y , w h i l e geochemistry investigates the very bricks we h a v e b e e n talking a b o u t a n d their w a n d e r i n g s in nature. . . . "

C r y s t a l s of s m o k y q u a r t z in f e l d s p a r

G e o c h e m i s t r y is still a y o u n g s c i e n c e a n d it h a s c o m e t o t h e f o r e m a i n l y o w i n g t o t h e w o r k of S o v i e t scientists. I t s tasks consist in t r a c i n g a n d a s c e r t a i n i n g t h e f a t e a n d b e h a v i o u r of t h e c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s i n t h e e a r t h , t h e e l e m e n t s w h i c h c o n s t i t u t e t h e basis of s u r r o u n d i n g n a t u r e a n d w h i c h , if a r r a n g e d in a c e r t a i n order, m a k e u p D. Mendeleyev's r e m a r k a b l e periodic system. T h e f u n d a m e n t a l u n i t of g e o c h e m i c a l r e s e a r c h is t h e c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t a n d its a t o m . As a r u l e , e a c h b o x i n M e n d e l e y e v ' s t a b l e c o n t a i n s o n e c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t — t h e a t o m — a n d h a s its o r d i n a l o r a t o m i c n u m b e r . T h e first n u m b e r belongs to the lightest e l e m e n t — h y d r o g e n , while the heaviest 9 2 n d e l e m e n t is c a l l e d u r a n i u m a n d it is 2 3 8 t i m e s as h e a v y as h y d r o g e n . T h e a t o m s a r e v e r y s m a l l a n d , if w e p i c t u r e t h e m as little b a l l s , e a c h a t o m will h a v e a d i a m e t e r of 0 . 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 m m . B u t t h e a t o m s i n n o w a y r e s e m b l e solid little b a l l s ; t h e y a r e a m o r e c o m p l i c a t e d s y s t e m c o n s i s t i n g of a n a t o m i c n u c l e u s w i t h p a r t i c l e s of electricity—e l e c t r o n s — m o v i n g a r o u n d t h e m , t h e n u m b e r of e l e c t r o n s v a r y i n g in different atoms. In structure, therefore, atoms rather resemble sub-microscopic solar systems w i t h a c e n t r a l s u n — t h e n u c l e u s — a n d p l a n e t s — t h e e l e c t r o n s — m o v i n g a r o u n d it.
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T h e n u m b e r of e l e c t r o n s v a r i e s w i t h t h e d i f f e r e n t k i n d s of a t o m s (chemical elements), owing to which they differ in their chemical p r o p e r t i e s . By e x c h a n g i n g t h e i r e l e c t r o n s t h e a t o m s c o m b i n e a n d f o r m molecules. M e n d e l e y e v ' s t a b l e s h o w s a n u m b e r of n a t u r a l f a m i l i e s of e l e m e n t s w h i c h a r e e n c o u n t e r e d t o g e t h e r n o t o n l y i n t h e t a b l e , b u t also in n a t u r e . T h e i m p o r t a n c e of M e n d e l e y e v ' s s y s t e m consists p r e c i s e l y i n t h e f a c t t h a t it is n o t a t h e o r e t i c a l s c h e m e , b u t a n e x p r e s s i o n of t h e n a t u r a l relationships between the separate elements which determine their s i m i l a r i t i e s , t h e i r d i f f e r e n c e s , t h e i r shifts a n d t h e p a t h s of then'' m i g r a t i o n s i n t h e e a r t h . I n a w o r d , M e n d e l e y e v ' s P e r i o d i c T a b l e is also a g e o c h e m i c a l t a b l e w h i c h , as a r e l i a b l e c o m p a s s , h e l p s t h e g e o c h e m i s t in his p r o s pecting.

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19

N e w i d e a s a r e h o r n w h e r e v e r t h e m i n d f u l scientist a p p l i e s d e l e y e v ' s L a w to t h e a n a l y s i s of n a t u r a l p h e n o m e n a .

Men-

B u t w h a t is g e o c h e m i s t r y a n y w a y ? W h a t is this n e w s c i e n c e t h a t h a s lately a t t r a c t e d so m a n y y o u n g i n v e s t i g a t o r s ? A s t h e t e r m itself s h o w s g e o c h e m i s t r y s t u d i e s t h e c h e m i c a l p r o c e s s e s which occur in the earth. C h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s as i n d e p e n d e n t u n i t s of n a t u r e shift, w a n d e r a n d c o m b i n e , o r , as w e say, t h e y m i g r a t e in t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t ; t h e l a w s g o v e r n i n g t h e c o m b i n a t i o n s of e l e m e n t s a n d m i n e r a l s a t d i f f e r e n t p r e s s u r e s a n d t e m p e r a t u r e s i n v a r i o u s p o r t i o n s of t h e earth's c r u s t a r e j u s t t h e p r o b l e m s o n w h i c h m o d e r n g e o c h e m i s t r y is working. S o m e c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s (for e x a m p l e , s c a n d i u m a n d h a f n i u m ) a r e i n c a p a b l e of f o r m i n g a c c u m u l a t i o n s a n d s o m e t i m e s a r e so d i s p e r s e d t h a t t h e r o c k c o n t a i n s o n l y o . o o o o o o o i p e r c e n t of t h e s e c h e m i c a l elements. W e m i g h t call t h e s e e l e m e n t s s u p e r - d i s p e r s e d a n d w e e x t r a c t t h e m o n l y w h e n t h e y a r e of s o m e s p e c i a l v a l u e to p r a c t i c e . W e n o w b e l i e v e t h a t all e l e m e n t s of M e n d e l e y e v ' s P e r i o d i c T a b l e c a n be f o u n d in e v e r y c u b i c m e t r e of r o c k if o n l y o u r m e t h o d s of a n a l y s i s d e t e c t t h e m w i t h s u f f i c i e n t a c c u r a c y . W e m u s t n o t f o r g e t t h a t in t h e h i s t o r y of s c i e n c e n e w m e t h o d s a r e of e v e n g r e a t e r i m p o r t a n c e t h a n n e w theories. C o n t r a r i w i s e , o t h e r e l e m e n t s (for e x a m p l e , l e a d a n d i r o n ) i n t h e i r c o n t i n u o u s m i g r a t i o n m a k e a n u m b e r of stops, as it w e r e , f o r m c o m p o u n d s in w h i c h t h e y easily a c c u m u l a t e a n d persist f o r a l o n g t i m e . Despite the complex changes in the earth's crust t h r o u g h o u t geological h i s t o r y t h e s e e l e m e n t s r e t a i n t h e f o r m s of t h e i r a c c u m u l a t i o n , f o r m l a r g e c o n c e n t r a t i o n s a n d p r o v e accessible t o i n d u s t r i a l e x p l o i t a tion. G e o c h e m i s t r y s t u d i e s t h e l a w s of d i s t r i b u t i o n a n d m i g r a t i o n of e l e m e n t s n o t o n l y i n t h e e a r t h a n d in t h e u n i v e r s e as a w h o l e , also u n d e r c e r t a i n g e o l o g i c a l c o n d i t i o n s a n d i n c e r t a i n r e g i o n s of c o u n t r y as, f o r e x a m p l e , in t h e C a u c a s u s a n d in t h e U r a l s , i n d i c a t e s w h e r e m i n e r a l s s h o u l d b e p r o s p e c t e d for. the but the and

T h u s , t h e p r o f o u n d t h e o r e t i c a l p r i n c i p l e s of m o d e r n g e o c h e m i s t r y c o m e e v e r closer to p r a c t i c a l p r o b l e m s , a n d o n t h e basis of a n u m b e r of g e n e r a l p r i n c i p l e s g e o c h e m i s t r y strives t o s h o w w h e r e a c e r t a i n
20

" L e v y T a l g a r " C a n y o n in t h e T r a n s - I l i A l a - T a u . K a z a k h

S.S.R.

chemical element m a y be found, where a n d u n d e r w h a t conditions we m a y expect to encounter accumulations, for example, of v a n a d i u m or tungsten, w h a t metals would " m o r e willingly" be f o u n d t o g e t h e r as, f o r i n s t a n c e , b a r i u m a n d p o t a s s i u m , a n d w h a t e l e m e n t s will " a v o i d " e a c h o t h e r as, f o r e x a m p l e , t e l l u r i u m a n d tantalum. G e o c h e m i s t r y s t u d i e s t h e b e h a v i o u r of e v e r y e l e m e n t , b u t t o j u d g e this b e h a v i o u r it m u s t h a v e g o o d k n o w l e d g e of t h e p r o p e r t i e s of t h e e l e m e n t , of its p e c u l i a r i t i e s , of its i n c l i n a t i o n t o c o m b i n e w i t h o t h e r elements or, o n t h e c o n t r a r y , to s e p a r a t e f r o m t h e m . T h e geochemist, thus, becomes a n explorer a n d prospector, he suggests t h e p a r t s of t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t w h e r e i r o n o r m a n g a n e s e o r e s c a n b e f o u n d , tells u s w h e r e w e c a n d i s c o v e r d e p o s i t s of p l a t i n u m a m i d serpentines a n d explains w h y ; h e advises t h e geologist to look for arsenic a n d a n t i m o n y in y o u n g geological rocks a n d m o u n t a i n r a n g e s , a n d p r e d i c t s f a i l u r e if t h e y s e a r c h f o r t h e s e m e t a l s w h e r e t h e conditions for their concentration are lacking.
21

But all this is possible when the " b e h a v i o u r " of the chemical element has been thoroughly studied, just as by studying the behaviour of a person in life it is possible not only to explain his actions b u t also to predict what he will do under different circumstances. This is where the tremendous practical importance of this new science comes in! Geochemistry, as we see, marches shoulder to shoulder with geology and chemistry. * * * I do not want to overburden you with a mass of facts, examples and calculations, nor a m I undertaking to teach you all there is to know about Y o u n g g e o c h c m i s t e x a m i n i n g an o u t c r o p in geochemistry. No, I only want: the K a r a - S h o r D e p r e s s i o n . T u r k m e n S.S.R. you to take a n interest in this new science, which was born but very recently, so that you may convince yourselves from reading the separate essays on the wanderings of elements throughout the world that geochemistry is still a young science and that the future holds wide prospects for it, but that it must also win this future. Like everywhere in life, progress and truth do not immediately win in the world of scientific ideas: they have to be fought for; they require a mobilization of all forces, great purposefulness and energy, a conviction of worthiness and .a faith in victory. It is not the abstract, barren and inactive idea that wins, but the fighting idea, the idea which burns with the flame of new quests, the idea deeply rooted in life and its problems. A vast field for research lies before the chemists of the earth in the Soviet Union.
22

W e still n e e d a n e n o r m o u s n u m b e r of f a c t s a n d w e n e e d t h e m , as t h e g r e a t R u s s i a n scientist I v a n P a v l o v s a i d , like a b i r d n e e d s a i r t o s u p p o r t its w i n g s . T h e bird a n d the plane, however, a r e kept in t h e air not only by t h e a i r itself, b u t p r i m a r i l y b y t h e i r o w n o n w a r d m o v e m e n t . I t is t h e s a m e o n w a r d m o v e m e n t t h a t s u p p o r t s a n y s c i e n c e ; t h e s c i e n c e s u r v i v e s o n l y t h r o u g h p e r s i s t e n t c r e a t i v e w o r k a n d t h e fires of its d a r i n g q u e s t s s i m u l t a n e o u s l y c o m b i n e d w i t h a cool a n d s o b e r a n a l y s i s o f its achievements. I n d u s t r y is still f a r f r o m u s i n g all t h e e l e m e n t s , a n d w e m u s t c o n t i n u e to w o r k h a r d a n d p e r s i s t e n t l y b e f o r e w e p l a c e all t h e e l e m e n t s i n M e n d e l e y e v ' s P e r i o d i c T a b l e a t t h e service of m a n k i n d .

WORLD OF THE INVISIBLE. THE ATOM AND THE CHEMICAL ELEMENT
L e t m e h a v e y o u r h a n d , r e a d e r , a n d I shall t a k e y o u i n t o t h e w o r l d of v e r y s m a l l t h i n g s w h i c h w e d o n o t u s u a l l y n o t i c e . H e r e is a l a b o r a t o r y of m a g n i f i c a t i o n a n d d i m i n u t i o n . L e t u s g o i n . W e a r e e x p e c t e d t h e r e . T h i s o r d i n a r y - l o o k i n g m a n i n w o r k c l o t h e s is n o t y e t o l d , b u t h e is a f a m o u s inventor. L e t us h e a r w h a t h e has to say. " L e t u s g o i n t o t h e c a b i n ; it is m a d e of m a t e r i a l t r a n s p a r e n t t o rays of a n y wave-length, i n c l u d i n g t h e shortest cosmic rays. I shall t u r n t h e l e v e r t o t h e r i g h t a n d w e will b e g i n t o g r o w s m a l l e r . T h i s p r o c e s s of g r o w i n g s m a l l e r is n o t v e r y p l e a s a n t ; a c c o r d i n g t o t h e s t o p w a t c h w e g r o w 1,000 t i m e s as s m a l l e v e r y f o u r m i n u t e s . W e s h a l l s t o p i n f o u r m i n u t e s , l e a v e t h e c a b i n a n d see t h e s u r r o u n d i n g w o r l d as it is s e e n t h r o u g h t h e b e s t m i c r o s c o p e s . T h e n w e s h a l l r e t u r n t o o u r c a b i n a n d t r y t o g r o w a n o t h e r 1,000 t i m e s as s m a l l . " Well, we have turned the lever.. . . W e h a v e g r o w n s m a l l e r , w e h a v e b e c o m e as s m a l l as a n t s . . . . W e hear things differently now, because our ear no longer reacts to the a i r w a v e s . . . . O n l y noises, b u z z i n g , c r a c k l i n g a n d r u s t l i n g r e a c h o u r senses. B u t w e h a v e r e t a i n e d o u r s i g h t b e c a u s e i n n a t u r e t h e r e a r e X - r a y s w i t h a w a v e - l e n g t h 1,000 t i m e s as s h o r t a s t h a t of l i g h t . T h e a p p e a r a n c e of t h i n g s h a s c h a n g e d m o s t u n e x p e c t e d l y ; m o s t b o d i e s have become very transparent a n d even the metals are brightly coloured a n d l o o k like s t a i n e d g l a s s . . . . B u t t h e n glass, r e s i n a n d a m b e r h a v e g r o w n d a r k a n d n o w l o o k like m e t a l s . W e see p l a n t cells filled w i t h a p u l s a t i n g j u i c e a n d g r a i n s of s t a r c h , a n d if w e w a n t t o w e c a n p u t o u r h a n d i n t o t h e s t o m a of a l e a f ; b l o o d c o r p u s c l e s as l a r g e as a f a r t h i n g float i n a d r o p o f b l o o d a n d t u b e r c u l a r
24

bacilli look like b e n t nails w i t h o u t a h e a d . . . . T h e b a c t e r i a of c h o l e r a r e s e m b l e s m a l l b e a n s w i t h fast b e a t i n g t a i l s . . . . B u t w e c a n n o t see m o l e c u l e s , a n d o n l y a n i n c e s s a n t s h a k i n g of t h e walls a n d a l i g h t p r i c k i n g of t h e f a c e b y t h e a i r , as t h o u g h a w i n d w e r e b l o w i n g d u s t i n t o t h e f a c e , r e m i n d us t h a t w e a r e a p p r o a c h i n g t h e l i m i t of divisibility of m a t t e r . . . . W e r e t u r n to the c a b i n a n d m o v e the lever one m o r e point. Everyt h i n g h a s t u r n e d d a r k a r o u n d us, a n d o u r c a b i n h a s b e g u n t o s h a k e as i n a n e a r t h q u a k e . A s w e r e g a i n o u r senses, t h e c a b i n is still s h a k i n g a n d w e feel as if a hail storm were raging a r o u n d us; we are continuously showered b y s o m e t h i n g like p e a s a n d w e g e t t h e i m p r e s s i o n w e a r e f i r e d u p o n by a thousand machine-guns. . . . O u r guide suddenly speaks u p : " W e cannot leave the cabin. W e are one m i l l i o n t i m e s as s m a l l as w e w e r e ; w e n o w m e a s u r e t h o u s a n d t h s of a m i l l i m e t r e , o n l y one a n d a half microns in fact. " O u r h a i r is n o w o . o o o o o o o i c e n t i m e t r e t h i c k ; this m a g n i t u d e is c a l l e d ' a n g s t r o m ' a n d serves t o m e a s u r e m o l e c u l e s a n d a t o m s . T h e m o l e c u l e s of t h e gases of t h e a i r h a v e a d i a m e t e r of a b o u t o n e a n g s t r o m . T h e s e molecules are n o w travelling at a t r e m e n d o u s speed a n d are b o m b a r d i n g our cabin. " W h e n w e l e f t t h e c a b i n t h e first t i m e w e felt as if a w i n d w e r e b l o w i n g d u s t i n t o o u r f a c e s ; t h i s w a s t h e a c t i o n of i n d i v i d u a l m o l ecules. N o w t h a t w e h a v e b e c o m e s m a l l e r t h e i r m o v e m e n t s a r e as d a n g e r o u s t o us as a s h o t of s a n d is t o m a n . " L o o k o u t of t h e w i n d o w a n d y o u will see a d u s t p a r t i c l e o n e m i c r o n in d i a m e t e r , t h a t is n e a r l y as s m a l l as w e a r e o u r s e l v e s . S e e h o w it is b u f f e t e d a b o u t b y t h e u n e q u a l b l o w s it r e c e i v e s f r o m t h e w h i r l of m o l e c u l e s ! I r e g r e t w e c a n n o t see t h e m b e c a u s e t h e y m o v e t o o fast. . . . B u t it is t i m e w e w e r e going back: the ultra-short waves in the

Electronic microscope magnif y i n g u p to 5 0 0 , 0 0 0 times. T h e o b j e c t is i l l u m i n e d b y a s t r e a m of e l e c t r o n s ; electrom a g n e t s serve as lenses

25

r a y s of w h i c h w e a r e e x a m i n i n g t h e m o l e c u l e s a r e h a r m f u l t o eyes." A t these words o u r guide turns t h e lever back....

our

O f course, our trip was only i m a g i n a r y , b u t the picture we p a i n t e d is v e r y close t o r e a l i t y .

have

E x p e r i e n c e s h o w s t h a t w h a t e v e r w e d o t o p e r f e c t t h e m e t h o d s of a n a l y s i s , as a r e s u l t of a n a l y z i n g c o m p l e x b o d i e s w e c o m e t o a n u m b e r of s i m p l e s u b s t a n c e s w h i c h c a n n o t b e c h e m i c a l l y d i v i d e d i n t o still simpler constituents. All t h e s e s i m p l e b o d i e s , w h i c h c a n n o t b e d i v i d e d a n y m o r e a n d of w h i c h all t h e b o d i e s of s u r r o u n d i n g n a t u r e a r e m a d e , w e call c h e m i c a l elements. I n c o n t i n u o u s c o n t a c t w i t h t h e v a r i o u s b o d i e s of n a t u r e , l i v i n g a n d d e a d , solid, l i q u i d a n d g a s e o u s , m a r e h a s a r r i v e d a t o n e o f his m o s t i m p o r t a n t g e n e r a l i z a t i o n s : t h e i d e a of s u b s t a n c e , of m a t t e r . W h a t a r e t h e p r o p e r t i e s of t h i s m a t t e r a n d w h a t is its s t r u c t u r e ? T h e s e a r e t h e q u e s t i o n s t h a t a n y o n e w h o s t u d i e s n a t u r e m u s t ask h i m s e l f . T h e first a n s w e r w e g e t b y d i r e c t s e n s a t i o n is t h e a p p a r e n t c o n t i n u i t y of s u b s t a n c e . B u t t h i s i m p r e s s i o n is o n l y a n illusion. By u s i n g a m i c r o s c o p e w e o f t e n d i s c o v e r a p o r o s i t y i n s u b s t a n c e , i.e., t h e e x i s t e n c e o f s m a l l s p a c e s invisible t o t h e n a k e d e y e . But even in such substances as water, alcohol a n d other liquids, as w e l l as gases, i n w h i c h it w o u l d s e e m t h e r e s h o u l d b e n o p o r e s as a m a t t e r of p r i n c i p l e , w e m u s t r e c o g n i z e t h e e x i s t e n c e of i n t e r v a l s b e t w e e n t h e p a r t i c l e s of m a t t e r o r else w e c o u l d n e v e r u n d e r s t a n d why substances can condense under pressure a n d expand by heating. All m a t t e r is g r a n u l a r . T h e s m a l l e s t g r a n u l e s of s u b s t a n c e a r e c a l l e d atoms or molecules. W e h a v e m a n a g e d to calculate, for example, that in l i q u i d w a t e r t h e m o l e c u l e s o c c u p y o n l y a b o u t o n e - t h i r d o r o n e f o u r t h of t h e s p a c e . T h e r e s t is t a k e n u p b y p o r e s . T o d a y w e k n o w t h a t w h e n a t o m s a p p r o a c h each o t h e r certain forces of r e p u l s i o n a r i s e a n d t h e a t o m s c a n n o t m e r g e . A r o u n d e a c h a t o m w e c a n d e s c r i b e a " s p h e r e of i m p e r m e a b i l i t y " b e y o n d w h i c h n o o t h e r matter can penetrate u n d e r usual conditions. W e may, therefore, r e g a r d t h e a t o m s t o g e t h e r w i t h t h e s e s p h e r e s as elastic g l o b u l e s i m p e r m e a b l e t o e a c h o t h e r . E a c h e l e m e n t h a s a s p h e r e of i m p e r m e a b i l i t y t h e r a d i u s of w h i c h is e x p r e s s e d i n a n g s t r o m s . F o r e x a m p l e , i n c a r b o n it is 0 . 1 9 a n g s t r o m , i n s i l i c o n — 0 . 3 9 , i.e., s m a l l ; i n i r o n it is 0 . 8 3 a n d
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i n c a l c i u m — 1 . 0 6 , i.e., m e d i u m ; i n o x y g e n it is 1.40, i.e., l a r g e (see d i a g r a m o n p a g e 57 w h e r e t h e e l e m e n t s a r e p r e s e n t e d in t h e f o r m of circles p r o p o r t i o n a l t o t h e size of t h e r a d i i of t h e i r s p h e r e s ) . B u t if w e p a c k balls i n t o a c o n t a i n e r (for e x a m p l e , a b o x ) t h e d i s o r d e r l y p l a c e d balls will o c c u p y a g r e a t e r v o l u m e t h a n w h e n p a c k e d in a n orderly m a n n e r . T h e p a c k i n g w h i c h occupies t h e smallest v o l u m e is c a l l e d t h e d e n s e s t p a c k i n g . I t c a n b e o b t a i n e d , f o r e x a m p l e , in t h e

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f o l l o w i n g e x p e r i m e n t : t a k e s e v e r a l d o z e n steel b a l l s ( f r o m a b a l l b e a r i n g ) , place t h e m on a saucer a n d t a p the saucer lightly. Since t h e b a l l s will t r y t o g e t t o t h e c e n t r e of t h e s a u c e r t h e y will c r o w d e a c h o t h e r a n d will s o o n a r r a n g e t h e m s e l v e s i n r o w s w i t h 6o° a n g l e s i n b e t w e e n . O n t h e o u t s i d e t h e y will a r r a n g e t h e m s e l v e s a l o n g t h e sides of a r e c t i l i n e a r h e x a g o n . T h i s will b e t h e d e n s e s t p a c k i n g of b a l l s of o n e size o n a p l a n e . S u c h is t h e a r r a n g e m e n t of t h e a t o m s of m a n y m e t a l s — c o p p e r , g o l d , etc. I f t h e b a l l s a r e u n e q u a l (for i n s t a n c e , of t w o s h a r p l y d i f f e r i n g sizes) it o f t e n h a p p e n s t h a t t h e l a r g e r b a l l s (for e x a m p l e , c h l o r i n e i n t h e c r y s t a l s of c o m m o n salt) yield t h e d e n s e s t p a c k i n g , w h i l e t h e s m a l l e r a t o m s a r r a n g e t h e m s e l v e s i n t h e s p a c e s b e t w e e n t h e l a r g e balls. T h u s , i n c o m m o n salt ( o r h a l i t e ) — N a C l — o n e a t o m of s o d i u m is s u r r o u n d e d o n six sides b y a t o m s of c h l o r i n e , w h i l e e a c h a t o m of c h l o r i n e is s u r r o u n d e d o n six sides b y a t o m s of s o d i u m . U n d e r t h e s e c o n d i t i o n s t h e forces of a t t r a c t i o n b e t w e e n t h e i o n s of s o d i u m a n d c h l o r i n e a r e the greatest.
27

N o w t h e n , t h e b o d i e s t h a t s u r r o u n d us, r e g a r d l e s s of t h e i r c o m p l e x i t y o r s i m p l i c i t y , consist of a c o m b i n a t i o n of m i n u t e s t p a r t i c l e s , o r a t o m s , invisible t o t h e n a k e d eye, j u s t like a b e a u t i f u l l a r g e b u i l d i n g is m a d e of s e p a r a t e s m a l l b r i c k s . T h i s t h o u g h t w a s b o r n in h o a r y a n t i q u i t y , a n d w e e n c o u n t e r t h e i d e a of " a t o m " (indivisible, i n G r e e k ) i n t h e G r e e k m a t e r i a l i s t p h i l o s o p h y of L e u c i p p u s a n d D e m o c r i t u s w h o lived 6 0 0 - 4 0 0 B. C . A c c o r d i n g to m o d e r n c o n c e p t s , t h e basis f o r w h i c h w a s l a i d as e a r l y as t h e 19th c e n t u r y , a c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t i n a f r e e s t a t e a n d i n t h e f o r m of a s i m p l e b o d y consists of a n a g g r e g a t e of h o m o g e n e o u s a t o m s w h i c h a r e n o l o n g e r divisible a t least w i t h o u t losing t h e i n d i v i d u a l p r o p e r t i e s i n h e r e n t in t h e g i v e n s u b s t a n c e . T h e a t o m s of t h e s a m e c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t a r e u n i f o r m i n s t r u c t u r e and have a characteristic mass or an atomic weight. I n t h e b e g i n n i n g of o u r c e n t u r y scientists k n e w t h e r e s h o u l d b e 92 d i f f e r e n t e l e m e n t s o n e a r t h a n d , h e n c e , 92 t y p e s of d i f f e r e n t a t o m s . O f t h e s e 92 c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s w e h a v e t h u s f a r b e e n a b l e t o f i n d a n d

T h e s t r u c t u r e of h y d r o g e n , h e l i u m a n d b e r y l l i u m a t o m s . T h e c u m f e r e n c e s s h o w t h e o r b i t s of t h e e l e c t r o n s ; t h e n u c l e i of a t o m s a r e in t h e c e n t r e

cirthe

isolate f r o m n a t u r a l o b j e c t s 9 0 c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s i n g l y , 9 0 t y p e s of a t o m s , b u t w e d o n o t d o u b t t h a t t h e also exist. All t h e b o d i e s of n a t u r e k n o w n t o us a r e tions of t h e s e 92 t y p e s of a t o m s . U r a n i u m , t h e h e a v i e s t of all e l e m e n t s k n o w n t o h a s n u m b e r 92.
28

and, correspondunfound elements b u i l t of c o m b i n a us u n t i l recently,

R e c e n t s t u d i e s i n d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of u r a n i u m e l e m e n t s h a v e r e v e a l e d still h e a v i e r t r a n s u r a n i u m e l e m e n t s : n e p t u n i u m 93, p l u t o n i u m 94, a m e r i c i u m 95, c u r i u m 96, b e r k e l i u m 97, c a l i f o r n i u m 98, e i n s t e i n i u m 99, fermium 100 and mendelev i u m 101. T h e e x i s t e n c e of e v e n h e a v i e r a t o m s is n o t s u r p r i s i n g , b u t all t h e s e a t o m s a r e v e r y unstable a n d do not occur in nature, but are produced artificially; we shall n o t be m a k i n g a n y p a r t i c u l a r m i s t a k e if i n s t u d y i n g t h e c o m p o s i t i o n of t h e n a t u r a l b o d i e s of t h e e a r t h w e p r o c e e d f r o m t h e c o n j e c t u r e t h a t all of t h e m a r e m a d e u p of 92 eleStructure of sodium and krypton atoms ments. A t o m s of t h e s a m e e l e m e n t , like t h o s e of d i f f e r e n t e l e m e n t s , b y c o m b i n i n g with each other in twos or more, m a y f o r m molecules of v a r i o u s s u b s t a n c e s . By c o m b i n i n g w i t h e a c h o t h e r t h e a t o m s a n d m o l e c u l e s b u i l d all of t h e e x i s t i n g n a t u r a l b o d i e s . T h e n u m b e r of a t o m s a n d m o l e c u l e s m u s t b e v e r y l a r g e . F o r e x a m p l e , if w e t a k e 18 g r a m s of w a t e r , a s o - c a l l e d g r a m - m o l e c u l e , it will c o n t a i n 6 . 0 6 x i o 2 3 m o l e c u l e s of w a t e r . T h i s is a colossal n u m b e r ; it is m a n y t h o u s a n d t i m e s t h e n u m b e r of g r a i n s of w h e a t a n d r y e t h a t h a v e g r o w n o n t h e e a r t h since t h e e x i s t e n c e of v e g e t a t i o n . I n o r d e r t o g e t a n i d e a a b o u t t h e size of a m o l e c u l e let us c o m p a r e it w i t h t h e m i n u t e s t of l i v i n g o r g a n i s m s , a b a c t e r i u m , w h i c h c a n b e seen only t h r o u g h a microscope w h e n magnified a b o u t a t h o u s a n d t i m e s . T h e size of t h e s m a l l e s t b a c t e r i a is 0 . 0 0 0 2 m i l l i m e t r e . A n d e v e n this is a t h o u s a n d t i m e s t h e size of a w a t e r m o l e c u l e , w h i c h m e a n s t h a t even the smallest b a c t e r i u m contains m o r e t h a n t w o t h o u s a n d m i l l i o n a t o m s , i. e., m o r e t h a n t h e r e a r e p e o p l e o n e a r t h . A c h a i n of t h e w a t e r m o l e c u l e s c o n t a i n e d i n t h r e e d r o p s of w a t e r w o u l d s t r e t c h f r o m t h e e a r t h t o t h e s u n a n d b a c k n e a r l y six t i m e s b e c a u s e it is 9 , 4 0 0 , 0 0 0 , 0 0 0 k i l o m e t r e s l o n g . T h e a t o m w a s o r i g i n a l l y c o n c e i v e d as a m i n u t e s t i n d i v i s i b l e p a r ticle, b u t o n closer i n v e s t i g a t i o n , as o u r m e t h o d s of r e s e a r c h w e r e
29

i m p r o v e d a n d r e n d e r e d m o r e a c c u r a t e , it t u r n e d o u t t o b e a v e r y c o m p l e x s t r u c t u r e . T h e n a t u r e of t h e a t o m w a s v i v i d l y r e v e a l e d f o r t h e first t i m e w h e n p e o p l e l e a r n e d of t h e p h e n o m e n a of r a d i o activity a n d b e g a n to study t h e m . Each a t o m contains a nucleus with a diameter about o.ooooi that of t h e a t o m . T h e n u c l e u s p r a c t i c a l l y c o n t a i n s its e n t i r e m a s s . I t c a r r i e s a p o s i t i v e e l e c t r i c c h a r g e w h i c h i n c r e a s e s as w e p r o c e e d f r o m t h e l i g h t e r c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s t o t h e h e a v i e r o n e s . A r o u n d this p o s i t i v e l y charged nucleus revolve electrons whose n u m b e r equals the n u m b e r of p o s i t i v e c h a r g e s i n t h e n u c l e u s so t h a t t h e a t o m as a w h o l e is electrically n e u t r a l . T h e n u c l e i of t h e a t o m s of all c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s c o n s i s t of t w o simplest particles—a p r o t o n or h y d r o g e n a t o m nucleus a n d a n e u t r o n , i. e., a p a r t i c l e w i t h a m a s s w h i c h a l m o s t e x a c t l y e q u a l s t h e m a s s of t h e p r o t o n b u t is d e v o i d of a n y e l e c t r i c c h a r g e . T h e p r o t o n s a n d n e u t r o n s i n t h e n u c l e i of t h e a t o m s a r e so f i r m l y b o u n d u p w i t h e a c h o t h e r t h a t t h e n u c l e i of t h e a t o m s r e m a i n a b s o l u t e l y i n v a r i a b l e a n d s t a b l e in all c h e m i c a l r e a c t i o n s a n d u n d e r all p h y s i c a l forces. E s p e c i a l l y s t a b l e is t h e c o m b i n a t i o n of t h e t w o p r o t o n s a n d t w o n e u t r o n s w h i c h f o r m t h e n u c l e u s of h e l i u m a t o m . T h e n u c l e u s of h e l i u m is so s t a b l e t h a t i n t h e a t o m s of t h e h e a v y e l e m e n t s it is, a p p a r e n t l y , c o n t a i n e d i n its r e a d y - m a d e f o r m a n d flies o u t as a n a l p h a p a r t i c l e d u r i n g t h e r a d i o a c t i v e d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of t h e n u c l e i . T h e c h e m i c a l p r o p e r t i e s of e l e m e n t s d e p e n d o n t h e s t r u c t u r e a n d p r o p e r t i e s of t h e e x t e r n a l shell of t h e a t o m s a n d o n t h e a b i l i t y of t h e a t o m s t o lose o r g a i n e l e c t r o n s . T h e s t r u c t u r e of t h e n u c l e u s of t h e a t o m h a r d l y a f f e c t s t h e c h e m i c a l p r o p e r t i e s of t h e l a t t e r . A t o m s w h i c h h a v e t h e s a m e n u m b e r of e x t e r n a l e l e c t r o n s , e v e n if t h e s t r u c t u r e of t h e i r n u c l e i a n d t h e i r m a s s o r a t o m i c w e i g h t d i f f e r , t h e r e f o r e , h a v e t h e s a m e c h e m i c a l p r o p e r t i e s a n d f o r m k i n d r e d g r o u p s of a t o m s as, f o r e x a m p l e , c h l o r i n e , b r o m i n e , i o d i n e a n d t h e like. T h e d i a g r a m s s h o w v a r i o u s m o d e l s of a t o m i c s t r u c t u r e i n w h i c h t h e r e a d e r c a n see h o w c o m p l i c a t e d t h e e l e c t r o n o r b i t s b e c o m e as t h e a t o m s i n c r e a s e in w e i g h t .

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L o o k a t t h e t h r e e p i c t u r e s w e a r e p r i n t i n g in this c h a p t e r . A w o n d e r f u l v i e w of a m o u n t a i n l a k e w i t h a b l u e m i r r o r - l i k e s u r f a c e s u r r o u n d e d b y l i m e s t o n e cliffs, d a r k - g r e e n spots of s o l i t a r y trees, a n d a b o v e alJ this t h e b r i g h t s o u t h e r n s u n . A noisy i r o n a n d steel w o r k s e n v e l o p e d i n s m o k e a n d s t e a m a n d b e l c h i n g f i r e ; t r a i n l o a d s of o r e , c o a l , flux a n d b r i c k r u n n i n g t o t h e m i l l a n d r e t u r n i n g w i t h h u n d r e d s of t o n s of rails, b l a n k s , i n g o t s a n d r o l l e d m e t a l t o t h e n e w c e n t r e s of i n d u s t r y . Z I L - i i o ; a s m a r t c a r ; t h e d a r k - g r e e n v a r n i s h s h i n e s o n its f e n d e r s a n d y o u c a n a l m o s t h e a r t h e p u r r i n g of its m o t o r a n d t h e soft m e l o d y issuing f r o m its r a d i o - r e c e i v e r . T h i s c a r w a s a s s e m b l e d f r o m t h o u s a n d s of p a r t s o n t h e l o n g c o n v e y e r of t h e p l a n t a n d will n o w easily r u n h u n d r e d s of t h o u s a n d s of k i l o m e t r e s . L o o k a t t h e s e t h r e e p i c t u r e s a n d tell m e f r a n k l y w h a t y o u a r e t h i n k i n g a b o u t as y o u look a t t h e m , w h a t y o u h a v e t a k e n a f a n c y f o r a n d w h a t q u e s t i o n y o u w o u l d like t o ask. I a m divining your thoughts a n d your questions because you are l i v i n g i n a n a g e of e n g i n e e r i n g a n d i n d u s t r y a n d y o u r i n t e r e s t s a r e b o u n d u p with the machines that create power a n d the power that creates machines. B u t I s h o u l d like t o tell y o u a b o u t s o m e t h i n g else so t h a t y o u m a y see t h e s e p i c t u r e s t h r o u g h d i f f e r e n t eyes. N o w y o u listen.
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I k n o w w h a t t h e geologist will s a y t o m e . " J u s t t h i n k of t h e r e m a r k a b l e scientific g e o l o g i c a l p r o b l e m s t h i s l a k e c o n t a i n s ! H o w w a s this e n o r m o u s ,
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M o u n t a i n l a k e in T a j i k i s t a n

d e e p g a p f o r m e d ? W h a t forces h a v e locked these blue waters a m i d t h e s t e e p s p u r s of t h e T a j i k m o u n t a i n s ? T h e r e a r e b e t w e e n t w o a n d t h r e e t h o u s a n d m e t r e s f r o m t h e t o p of t h e m o u n t a i n s t o t h e b o t t o m of t h e l a k e ; w h a t m i g h t y p o w e r c o u l d h a v e r a i s e d a n d c r u m p l e d t h e l a y e r s of r o c k ? " T h e m i n e r a l o g i s t will s a y : " W h a t w o n d e r f u l l i m e s t o n e is f o r m e d b y t h e s e cliffs a n d m o u n t a i n s ! I t m u s t h a v e t a k e n scores a n d h u n d r e d s of m i l l e n n i u m s f o r this p o w e r f u l s e d i m e n t of silt, shells a n d t e s t a e t o a c c u m u l a t e o n t h e o c e a n floor a n d b e c o m p r e s s e d i n t o d e n s e l i m e s t o n e , almost into marble! T a k e an ordinary mineralogical magnifying glass w h i c h m a g n i f i e s t e n t i m e s a n d y o u will h a r d l y d i s c e r n t h e i n d i v i d u a l s h i n y c r y s t a l s of l i m e s p a r of w h i c h t h e r o c k is m a d e . " " H o w w h i t e a n d p u r e this l i m e s t o n e i s ! " t h e c h e m i c a l t e c h n o l o g i s t will i n t e r r u p t h i m . " T h i s is e x c e l l e n t r a w m a t e r i a l f o r t h e c e m e n t i n d u s t r y a n d f o r r o a s t i n g i n t o l i m e ; it is a l m o s t p u r e c a l c i u m c a r b o n a t e , a c o m b i n a t i o n of a t o m s of c a l c i u m , o x y g e n a n d c a r b o n d i o x i d e . L o o k , I shall dissolve it in a w e a k a c i d ; t h e c a l c i u m will dissolve a n d t h e c a r b o n d i o x i d e will c o m e off w i t h a h i s s . "
32

" B u t we could perform even c h e m i s t will s a y . " W e c a n p r o v e limestone contains other atoms a l u m i n i u m a n d silicon. A n d if a n d t r y t o f i n d t h e r a r e s t a t o m s of of o n e p e r c e n t h e r e w e shall b e in this l i m e s t o n e .

m o r e e x a c t e x p e r i m e n t s , " t h e geow i t h t h e a i d of a s p e c t r o s c o p e t h a t this as w e l l ; it h a s s t r o n t i u m , b a r i u m , we m a k e a super-precision analysis w h i c h t h e r e is less t h a n o n e - m i l l i o n t h able to discover even zinc a n d lead

" A n d d o n ' t t h i n k this is a specific f e a t u r e of o u r l i m e s t o n e b e c a u s e e x p e r i e n c e d c h e m i s t s will find 3 5 d i f f e r e n t t y p e s of a t o m s e v e n in t h e world's purest marble. " N o w w e a r e e v e n i n c l i n e d to b e l i e v e t h a t w e s h o u l d b e a b l e to find all t h e e l e m e n t s of t h e M e n d e l e y e v P e r i o d i c T a b l e in e v e r y c u b i c m e t r e of s t o n e - g r a n i t e o r b a s a l t , l i m e s t o n e o r c l a y — o n l y t h e a m o u n t of s o m e of t h e s e will b e o n e - t r i l l i o n t h t h a t of c a l c i u m o r c a r b o n . " T h e w o r d s of t h e geologist, m i n e r a l o g i s t , will i m p r e s s y o u so m u c h t h a t i n s t e a d of y o u will see m o u n t a i n s of s o m e m y s t e r i o u s t o g e t a d e e p e r i n s i g h t i n t o its n a t u r e a n d origin a n d being.
* * *

chemist a n d geochemist simple greyish limestone s t o n e a n d y o u will w a n t d i s c o v e r t h e secret of its

N o w let 11s t u r n to t h e w o r k s . W h a t s t r a n g e b u i l d i n g s , u n u s u a l in size a n d s h a p e ! G i a n t t o w e r s filled w i t h o r e , coal a n d l i m e s t o n e ; e n o r m o u s p i p e s l e a d t o t h e s e t o w e r s a n d feed t h e m c o m p r e s s e d h o t a i r . W h a t f o r ? W h y is m e t a l s m e l t e d in t h e m , w h y is coal b u r n e d a n d w h y d o c l o u d s of h e a l e d gases f l a r e u p as t h e y l e a v e these towers? Y o u will p r o b a b l y be s u r p r i s e d if I tell y o u t h a t this is a l a b o r a t o r y ol a t o m s ; in t h e o r e t h e a t o m s of i r o n a r e v e r y f i r m l y tied t o e a c h o t h e r b y l a r g e r balls o x y g e n a t o m s - w h i c h d o n o t let t h e i r o n a t o m s get closer to e a c h o t h e r a n d g i v e us t h e h e a v v m a l l e a b l e m e t a l w e call i r o n . . . . I r o n o r e possesses n o n e of t h e p r o p e r t i e s of this m e t a l t h o u g h it c o n t a i n s 70 p e r c e n t of it. W e m u s t , t h e r e f o r e , d r i v e t h e o x y g e n o u t . But this is not so easy t o d o . D o y o u r e m e m b e r , clear r e a d e r , t h e R u s s i a n f a i r y - t a l e a b o u t t h e little girl A l y o n u s h k a w h o h a d t o pick o u t all t h e g r a i n s ol" s a n d o u t ol a pile of c o r n ? D o you r e m e m b e r t h a t s h e c a l l e d o n h e r little f r i e n d s , t h e a n t s , a n d t h a t t h e y s u c c e e d e d w i t h this t a s k ? But t h e n t h o s e w e r e
.1

g r a i n s of s a n d w i t h a d i a m e t e r a m i l l i o n t i m e s t h a t of ( h e o x y g e n a t o m ! I k n o w v o n will s a y : " T h i s is a h a r d j o b a n d 1 s c a r c e l y believe it r a n IK- d o n e . " T o b e s u r e , it took a lot of w o r k a n d h u m a n e n e r g y (o solve this b r a i n - t e a s e r . But it was solved j u s t t h e s a m e ! I n this case t h e h u m a n g e n i u s d i d n o t call u p o n a n t s , b u t o n a t o m s of o t h e r s u b s t a n c e s . A n d in a l l i a n c e w i t h t h e n a t u r a l e l e m e n t s - - - l i r e and wind it m a d e t h e s e a t o m s t a k e t h e o x y g e n a w a y f r o m t h e i r o n a n d b r i n g it w i t h t h e h o t a i r to t h e s u r f a c e of t h e m e t a l b o i l i n g i n the furnace. But w h o a r e these a t o m i c friends t h a t h a v e vanquished oxygen? T h e r e a r c t w o of t h e m — s i l i c o n a n d c a r b o n . B o t h of t h e m seize o x y g e n , h o l d it m u c h faster t h a n i r o n a n d b u i l d very s t r o n g s t r u c t u r e s w i t h it. A n d t h e y h e l p o n e a n o t h e r . W h i l e b u r n i n g , c a r b o n t a k e s tin- o x y g e n a w a y f r o m t h e i r o n a n d d e v e l o p s a t r e m e n d o u s t e m p e r a t u r e ; it c o u l d n o t d o t h e w h o l e j o b b y itself, h o w e v e r , b e c a u s e t h e h a r d i r o n o r e is r e f r a c t o r y a n d n o t v e r y m o b i l e , a n d t h e a t o m s of c a r b o n c a n n o t p e n e t r a t e i n t o t h e d e n s e l u m p s of ore. T h i s is w h e n silicon c o m e s to t h e a i d : small a n d t e n a c i o u s it yields f u s i b l e slags, dissolves t h e o r e , t a k e s a w a y t h e o x y g e n a n d h a n d s it o v e r to t h e c a r b o n . P a r t of t h e c a r b o n dissolves in t h e i r o n a n d m a k e s it m o b i l e a n d fusible. A t this t i m e t h e e l e m e n t s s t e p i n : t h e (ire i n c r e a s e s t h e m o b i l i t y of t h e iron, all t h a t is light rises to t h e s u r f a c e t o g e t h e r w i t h t h e gases, all t h a t is h e a v y settles t o t h e b o t t o m , a n d b e h o l d t h e m i r a c l e : t h e a t o m s h a v e s e p a r a t e d — t h e iron w i t h t h e dissolved c a r b o n takes its p l a c e a t t h e b o t t o m of t h e f u r n a c e , w h i l e t h e light slags w h i c h h a v e c a r r i e d olf all of t h e o r e ' s o x y g e n float on t h e s u r f a c e of t h e m e l t e d m e t a l a n d c a n be easily t h r o w n o u t . I m a g i n e t h e k n o w l e d g e t h a t h a d to b e a c c u m u l a t e d , t h e i n s i g h t i n t o t h e h a b i t s a n d w h i m s of e a c h a t o m t h a t h a d to be a c q u i r e d for m a n to b e a b l e u n m i s t a k a b l y to sort t h e a t o m s a t will o n so g r a n d a scale!
* * *

L e t us n o w t a k e a look a t t h e t h i r d p i c t u r e the Soviet a u t o m o b i l e X I L - i 10. It is also a c o m b i n a t i o n ol a t o m s p i c k e d for a single p u r p o s e , i.e., to p r o d u c e a n u n t i r i n g , p o w e r f u l , noiseless a n d fast c a r .

Metallurgical

plant

T h o u s a n d s of p a r t s m a d e of 6 5 k i n d s of a t o m s a n d a t least 100 g r a d e s of m e t a l t h a t ' s w h a t Z I L - 1 1 0 is! I t h a s a lot of i r o n , b u t i r o n w h o s e p r o p e r t i e s h a v e b e e n c h a n g e d 100 d i f f e r e n t w a y s ; h e r e is p i g i r o n , a n i r o n a l l o y c o n t a i n i n g 4 p e r c e n t c a r b o n ; this is t h e i r o n f r o m w h i c h t h e b o d y o f t h e m o t o r w a s e a s t . B u t h e r e is a n i r o n i n w h i c h less c a r b o n w a s left, a n d t h e r e s u l t is a h a r d a n d e l a s t i c steel. N o w s o m e a t o m s of m a n g a n e s e , n i c k e l , c o b a l t a n d m o l y b d e n u m , w h i c h r e s e m b l e ' i r o n , w e r e a d d e d t o it a n d t h e steel h a s b e c o m e elastic, d u r a b l e a n d s h o c k p r o o f . T h e n s o m e v a n a d i u m w a s a d d e d a n d t h e steel h a s b e c o m e as p l i a b l e as a w h i p ; tireless s p r i n g s a r e m a d e of this steel. I t is n o l o n g e r c o p p e r , b u t a l u m i n i u m t h a t n o w h o l d s s e c o n d p l a c e in t h e c a r ; t h e pistons a n d k n o b s , t h e g r a c e f u l b o d i e s , t h e p l a t i n g a n d b a n d s — a l l t h a t c a n b e m a d e light is m a d e of a l u m i n i u m o r its alloys w i t h c o p p e r , silicon, z i n c a n d m a g n e s i u m . A n d h o w a b o u t t h e best p o r c e l a i n u s e d in t h e m a n u f a c t u r e o f a u t o mobile sparkplugs? A n d w h a t a b o u t the varnish that fears n o rain o r c o l d , t h e w o o l l e n s , t h e c o p p e r in t h e w i r i n g , t h e l e a d a n d s u l p h u r in t h e b a t t e r i e s ? E n o u g h , o r w e s h a l l n o t find a s i n g l e e l e m e n t t h a t

ZII.-110 p a s s e n g e r car b u i l t by t h e M o s c o w L i k h a c h o v M o t o r

Works

36

d o e s n o t t r a v e l w i t h t h e e a r . C o m b i n i n g w i t h e a c h o t h e r they f o r m m o r e t h a n 250 different substances a n d materials which are directly o r i n d i r e c t l y used in t h e a u t o m o b i l e i n d u s t r y . It s h o u l d b e e m p h a s i z e d t h a t h e r e m a n d i s r e g a r d s t h e n a t u r a l p r o c esses, b r e a k s t h e m a n d s u b o r d i n a t e s t h e m t o his o w n will. Is it a t

Weight content of elements in the earth 's crust (down to a depth of [6 km.)

all n a t u r a l f o r a l u m i n i u m to b e f r e e ? N o , a t h o u s a n d t i m e s n o ; a n d if it w e r e n o t f o r t h e g e n i u s of m a n this w o u l d n e v e r h a p p e n even if t h e e a r t h existed m a n y m o r e m i l l i o n s of y e a r s . H a v i n g u n d e r s t o o d a n d l e a r n e d t h e p r o p e r t i e s of a t o m s m a n h a s t a k e n a d v a n t a g e of his k n o w l e d g e a n d shifts t h e e l e m e n t s as h e sees
37

(it. T h e light e l e m e n t s a r e t h e m o s t w i d e s p r e a d in t h e e a r t h ; five of them o x y g e n , silicon, a l u m i n i u m , i r o n a n d c a l c i u m - m a k e u p 9 0 . 0 3 p e r cent of t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t . If w e a d d seven m o r e - s o d i u m , p o t a s s i u m , m a g n e s i u m , h y d r o g e n , t i t a n i u m , c a r b o n a n d chlorine - these twelve e l e m e n t s will c o n s t i t u t e 9 9 . 2 9 p e r c e n t . T h e . ' r e m a i n i n g 8 0 e l e m e n t s h a r d l y m a k e u p 0.7 p e r c e n t b y w e i g h t . B u t this d i s t r i b u t i o n d o e s n o t suit m a n w h o s t u b b o r n l y s e a r c h e s f o r t h e r a r e e l e m e n t s , e x t r a c t s t h e m f r o m t h e e a r t h , a t t i m e s w i t h i n c r e d i b l e difficulties, m a k e s a n a l l - r o u n d s t u d y of t h e i r p r o p e r t i e s a n d uses t h e m w h e r e v e r n e c e s s a r y a n d e x p e d i e n t . T h a t ' s w h y w e f i n d nickel (of w h i c h t h e e a r t h c o n t a i n s 0.02 p e r c e n t ) , c o b a l t ( w h i c h f o r m s 0.001 p e r c e n t ) , m o l y b d e n u m (less t h a n 0.001 p e r c e n t ) a n d e v e n p l a t i n u m ( w h i c h c o n s t i t u t e s 0 . 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 p e r c e n t of t h e e l e m e n t s ) i n t h e a u t o m o b i l e . T h e a t o m s a r e all a r o u n d , a n d m a n is t h e i r m a s t e r . H e t a k e s t h e m w i t h his m a s t e r f u l h a n d , m i x e s t h e m , casts a w a y t h e o n e s h e h a s n o use for a n d c o m b i n e s those h e needs;, t h o u g h w i t h o u t h i m t h e s e elem e n t s s h o u l d n e v e r m e e t . A n d w h i l e t h e m o u n t a i n l a k e in T a j i k i s t a n glorifies t h e p o w e r f u l n a t u r a l e l e m e n t s w h i c h h a v e r a i s e d t h e cliffs a n d c r e a t e d t h e g a p s , t h e mill a n d a u t o m o b i l e a r e a n i n d u s t r i a l s y m p h o n y a b o u t t h e m i g h t of t h e h u m a n g e n i u s , a b o u t h u m a n l a b o u r and knowledge.

ItlKTH AND BEHAVIOUR OF TIIE ATOM IN THE UNIVERSE
I r c i n c i i i h c r a lovely a n d q u i e t n i g h t in t h e C r i m e a . It s e e m e d all n a t u r e h a d g o n e to sleep a n d n o t h i n g d i s t u r b e d t h e s m o o t h s u r f a c e ol t h e p l a c i d sea. E v e n t h e s t a r s d i d n o t t w i n k l e in t h e b l a c k s o u t h e r n sky, b u t s h o n e b r i g h t l y . S i l e n c e r e i g n e d all a r o u n d a n d it s e e m e d t h e w o r l d h a d ceased m o v i n g a n d stood still in t h e i n f i n i t e cairn ol t h e southern night. B u t h o w f a r this p i c t u r e is f r o m r e a l i t y a n d h o w d e c e p t i v e t h e p e a c e a n d q u i e t of s u r r o u n d i n g n a t u r e ! Suffice it to b e g i n d i a l i n g a r a d i o - r e c e i v e r to find t h a t t h e w o r l d is p i e r c e d b y m y r i a d s of e l e c t r o m a g n e t i c waves. N o w several m e t r e s , n o w t h o u s a n d s of k i l o m e t r e s l o n g , t h e s t o r m y w a v e s of w o r l d e t h e r rise t o t h e h e i g h t of t h e o z o n e s t r a t a a n d p o u n c e u p o n t h e e a r t h a g a i n . P i l i n g u p o n t o p of e a c h o t h e r t h e v fill t h e w o r l d with o s c i l l a t i o n s i m p e r c e p t i b l e to t h e u n a i d e d e a r . A n d t h e stars w h i c h a p p e a r so i m m o v a b l e in t h e f i r m a m e n t r u s h t h r o u g h w o r l d s p a c e a t t h e t e r r i f i c s p e e d of h u n d r e d s a n d t h o u s a n d s of k i l o m e t r e s p e r s e c o n d . O n e s u n - s t a r h e a d s in o n e d i r e c t i o n of t h e g a l a x y c a r r y i n g a w a y s t r e a m s of b o d i e s invisible to t h e e y e ; o t h e r s w h i r l a t a n e v e n f a s t e r r a t e a n d c r e a t e e n o r m o u s n e b u l a e ; still o t h e r s s p e e d i n t o u n k n o w n r e g i o n s of t h e u n i v e r s e . V a p o u r s of i n c a n d e s c e n t s u b s t a n c e s r u s h t h r o u g h t h e s t e l l a r a t m o s p h e r e w i t h a v e l o c i t y of t h o u s a n d s of k i l o m e t r e s p e r s e c o n d , a n d it takes only several m i n u t e s for i m m e n s e gaseous clouds m e a s u r i n g t h o u s a n d s of k i l o m e t r e s to a p p e a r a n d to f o r m g l i t t e r i n g p r o m i n e n c e s in t h e c o r o n a of t h e s u n . T h e m e l t is b o i l i n g in t h e i m m e a s u r a b l e d e p t h s of t h e d i s t a n t stars. T h e t e m p e r a t u r e t h e r e r u n s as h i g h as scores of millions

Evening on the Crimean seashore near Alupka

of d e g r e e s ; i n d i v i d u a l p a r t i c l e s b r e a k a w a y f r o m o n e a n o t h e r , t h e n u c l e i of t h e a t o m s b u r s t , s t r e a m s of e l e c t r o n s r u s h t o t h e u p p e r l a y e r s of t h e s t e l l a r a t m o s p h e r e s , w h i l e p o w e r f u l e l e c t r o m a g n e t i c s t o r m s t r a v e l t h o u s a n d s of m i l l i o n s of k i l o m e t r e s , r e a c h o u r e a r t h a n d d i s t u r b t h e c a l m of its a t m o s p h e r e .
tPEKETSHS

T h e c o s m o s is filled w i t h oscillations, a n d L u c r e t i u s C a r u s , o n e of t h e g r e a t e s t scientists of t h e p a s t , b e a u t i f u l l y said a l m o s t o n e h u n d r e d y e a r s B. C . : " . . . n o rest, w e m a y b e sure, is a l l o w e d t o t h e first-bodies m o v i n g t h r o u g h the d e e p void, b u t r a t h e r plied with unceasing, diverse motion, some when they have dashed together leap back at great space apart, others too are thrust b u t a short w a y from the b l o w . " O u r e a r t h is also l i v i n g its life. I t s q u i e t a n d s e e m i n g l y silent s u r f a c e is r e a l l y r e p l e t e w i t h v i t a l a c t i v i t y . M i l l i o n s of m i n u t e s t b a c t e r i a p o p u l a t e e a c h c u b i c c e n t i m e t r e of t h e soil. E x t e n d i n g t h e possibilities of r e s e a r c h t h e m i c r o s c o p e r e v e a l s n e w w o r l d s of e v e n s m a l l e r living b e i n g s , t h e c o n s t a n t l y m o v i n g viruses, a n d t h e q u e s t i o n n o w is w h e t h e r t h e y

BflftMS

s h o u l d b e c o n s i d e r e d living b e i n g s o r r e m a r k a b l e m o l e c u l e s ol i n a n i m a t e nature. T h e m o l e c u l e s shift e t e r n a l l y in t h e t h e r m a l m o v e m e n t s of t h e sea, a n d scientific a n a l y s i s s h o w s t h a t e a c h oscillation i n s e a - w a t e r t r a v e l s a l o n g a n d c o m p l i c a t e d c o u r s e a t s p e e d s m e a s u r e d in k i l o m e t r e s p e r minute. T h e a i r a n d t h e e a r t h e t e r n a l l y e x c h a n g e a t o m s . A t o m s of h e l i u m vaporize f r o m t h e d e p t h s of the e a r t h ' s crust into the a i r ; the velocity of t h e i r m o v e m e n t is so h i g h t h a t t h e y o v e r c o m e g r a v i t y a n d fly a w a y into interplanetary space. T h e m o b i l e a t o m s of o x y g e n e n t e r t h e o r g a n i s m s f r o m t h e a i r ; m o l e c u l e s of c a r b o n d i o x i d e a r e b r o k e n u p b y p l a n t s t h u s c r e a t i n g a c o n t i n u o u s c a r b o n cycle, w h i l e m o l t e n h e a v y r o c k s a r e still b o i l i n g i n t h e i n t e r i o r of t h e e a r t h a n d a r e t r y i n g t o b r e a k t h r o u g h t o t h e surface. A c l e a r a n d t r a n s p a r e n t c r y s t a l lies b e f o r e us h a r d a n d m o t i o n l e s s . I t w o u l d seem t h a t the individual atoms-of the substance were distributed t h r o u g h s t r i c t l y fixed u n i t s of s o m e i n v a r i a b l y s t r o n g l a t t i c e . B u t t h i s is o n l y a p p a r e n t : t h e a t o m s a r e i n c o n s t a n t m o t i o n , r e v o l v i n g a r o u n d t h e i r p o i n t s of e q u i l i b r i u m , c o n t i n u o u s l y e x c h a n g i n g t h e i r e l e c t r o n s n o w f r e e as i n t h e a t o m s of a m e t a l a n d n o w b o u n d ; a n d they m o v e along complexly recurring orbits. E v e r y t h i n g is a l i v e a r o u n d us. T h e p i c t u r e of t h e q u i e t e v e n i n g i n t h e C r i m e a is d e c e p t i v e , a n d t h e m o r e o u r s c i e n c e m a s t e r s n a t u r e t h e w i d e r t h e r e a l p i c t u r e of all t h e m o v e m e n t s of t h e w o r l d s u b s t a n c e

P r o t u b e r a n c e s on t h e sun d u r i n g t h e eclipse of M a y 28, 1900. W h i t e circle shows size of t h e e a r t h on t h e s a m e scale; its d i a m e t e r is 12,750 k m .

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t h a t s u r r o u n d s us o p e n s u p b e f o r e us. A n d w h e n science l e a r n e d t o m e a s u r e m o t i o n w h i c h o c c u r s in m i l l i o n t h s of a s e c o n d , w h e n it b e g a n w i t h its n e w R o e n t g e n " h a n d s " to m e a s u r e m i l l i o n t h s of a c e n t i m e t r e w i t h a n a c c u r a c y w i t h w h i c h w e c a n n o t e v e n use o u r y a r d s t i c k , a n d w h e n it l e a r n e d to m a g n i f y t h e p i c t u r e s of n a t u r e 2 0 0 , 0 0 0 a n d 3 0 0 , 0 0 0 t i m e s a n d b r o u g h t w i t h i n m a n ' s vision "not o n l y t h e m i n u t e s t viruses, b u t even i n d i v i d u a l m o l e c u l e s of s u b s t a n c e , it d a w n e d o n us t h a t t h e r e w a s n o c a l m in t h e w o r l d , b u t o n l y a c h a o s of c o n s t a n t m o v e m e n t s w h i c h seek t h e i r t e m p o r a r y e q u i l i b r i u m . O n c e u p o n a t i m e , v e r y l o n g a g o , e v e n b e f o r e t h e h e y d a y of a n c i e n t Cireece, t h e r e lived a r e m a r k a b l e p h i l o s o p h e r whose, n a m e w a s H c r a c l i tus. W i l l i his p e r s p i c a c i o u s m i n d he w a s a b l e t o p e n e t r a t e i n t o t h e v c r v d e p t h s of t h e u n i v e r s e , a n d he said t h e w o r d s w h i c h H e r z e n c a l l e d t h e m o s t b r i l l i a n t w o r d s in h u m a n h i s t o r y . H e r a c l i t u s s a i d : " E v e r y t h i n g is f l u i d , " a n d m a d e t h e i d e a of e t e r n a l m o t i o n t h e basis of his w o r l d s y s t e m . W i t h this i d e a h u m a n i t y h a s g o n e t h r o u g h all t h e stages of its h i s t o r y . It w a s o n this i d e a t h a t L u c r e t i u s C a r u s b u i l t his p h i l o s o p h y in t h e r e m a r k a b l e p o e m o n t h e n a t u r e of t h i n g s a n d t h e h i s t o r y of t h e w o r l d . T h e b r i l l i a n t R u s s i a n scientist M i k h a i l L o m o n o s o v b u i l t his physics w i t h r a r e p e r s p i c a c i t y o n this i d e a , s a y i n g t h a t e a c h p o i n t in n a t u r e h a s t h r e e m o v e m e n t s : t r a n s l a t i o n a l , r o t a t o r y a n d oscillatory. A n d n o w t h a t t h e n e w a c h i e v e m e n t s of science h a v e c o n f i r m e d this old p h i l o s o p h i c i d e a w e m u s t t a k e a n e w view of t h e s u r r o u n d i n g w o r l d a n d t h e laws of m a t ter. T h e laws of d i s t r i b u t i o n of a t o m s will b e f o r us t h e l a w s of t h e infinitely c o m p l e x m o v e m e n t s of d i f f e r e n t velocities, d i f f e r e n t d i r e c tions a n d d i f f e r e n t scales w h i c h d e t e r m i n e t h e m u l t i f o r m i t y of t h e s u r r o u n d i n g w o r l d , t h e d i v e r s i t y of its restless a t o m s . T o d a y w e a r e b e g i n n i n g to get a n e w i n s i g h t i n t o s p a c e . T h e p a r t of t h e u n i v e r s e accessible t o o u r o b s e r v a t i o n is colossal. It c a n n o t b e m e a s u r e d in k i l o m e t r e s , f o r this is t o o s m a l l a u n i t . E v e n t h e d i s t a n c e of 150 m i l l i o n k i l o m e t r e s b e t w e e n t h e s u n a n d t h e e a r t h , w h i c h light t r a v e r s e s in e i g h t a n d o n e - t h i r d m i n u t e s , is also t o o s m a l l a u n i t , t h o u g h light c a n t r a v e l s e v e n a n d a h a l f t i m e s a r o u n d t h e e a r t h in o n e s e c o n d . Scientists h a v e i n v e n t e d a n e w u n i t , t h e " l i g h t y e a r , " i. e., t h e d i s t a n c e l i g h t t r a v e r s e s in o n e y e a r . T h e best telescopes c a n m a k e o u t stars f r o m w h i c h it t a k e s l i g h t m i l l i o n s of y e a r s t o r e a c h
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vis. T h e c o s m o s is r e a l l y i n f i n i t e , h u t as f a r as vvc a r e c o n c e r n e d limits a r c set b y t h e r e s o l v i n g p o w e r of o u r telescopes.

its

C l u s t e r s of stellar m a t t e r i n s p a c c f o r m local c o n d e n s a t i o n s a n d give rise to w h a t w e call t h e visible w o r l d . T h e r e a r e a p p r o x i m a t e l y o n e h u n d r e d t h o u s a n d m i l l i o n of t h e s e w o r l d s . E a c h of these w o r l d s also c o n t a i n s a b o u t o n e h u n d r e d t h o u s a n d m i l l i o n s t a r s a n d e a c h s t a r is m a d e u p of I a n d 57 n o u g h t s (if) 5 7 ) of p r o t o n s a n d n e u t r o n s , i.e., t h e m i n u t e s t p a r t i c l e s of w h i c h t h e w h o l e w o r l d is c o m p o s e d , n o t c o u n t i n g t h e e v e n s m a l l e r p a r t i c l e s of electricity, t h e n e g a t i v e l y charged electrons. H y d r o g e n is t h e m o s t a b u n d a n t e l e m e n t in t h e u n i v e r s e . W e k n o w a l a r g e n u m b e r of c o s m i c n e b u l a e c o m p o s e d a l m o s t e n t i r e l y of h y d r o g e n . T h e a t o m s of h y d r o g e n a c c u m u l a t e a t t r a c t e d b y g r a v i t a t i o n a n d i m p e l l e d b y specific i n t e r a t o m i c forces, t h e s t u d y of w h i c h h a s onlyj u s t b e g u n . P o w e r f u l clusters c o n s i s t i n g of a n u m b e r of a t o m s e x p r e s s e d b y a figure of 56 digits a r i s e a n d a n e w s t a r m a k e s its a p p e a r a n c e . B u t t h e d i m e n s i o n s of t h e u n i v e r s e a r e i n f i n i t e l y g r e a t c o m p a r e d w i t h t h e v o l u m e of t h e a t o m s w h i c h h a v e c o m e i n t o b e i n g . W e k n o w t h a t t h e g r e a t e r p a r t of t h e u n i v e r s e is a c t u a l l y a sort of v o i d c o n t a i n i n g o n l y f r o m 10 to 100 p a r t i c l e s , i.e., a t o m s of s u b s t a n c e , p e r c u b i c m e t r e , a n d this c o r r e s p o n d s t o a r a r e f a c t i o n w h i c h is 10 27 t h a t of t h e n o r m a l a t m o s p h e r i c p r e s s u r e o n e a r t h . H e r e r a r e f i e d s p a c e s a r e f o u n d side b y side w i t h a b s o l u t e l y u n p r e c e d e n t e d c o n d e n s a t i o n s p r o d u c e d b y p r e s s u r e in t h e i n t e r i o r s of stars w h e r e t h o u s a n d s of millions of a t m o s p h e r e s a r e c o m b i n e d w i t h scores o r h u n d r e d s of m i l l i o n s of d e g r e e s of h e a t ; this is t h e n a t u r a l l a b o r a t o r y w h e r e h y d r o g e n gives rise t o new and heavier atoms, primarily helium. I n t h e s t a r s s h i n i n g w i t h a d a z z l i n g w h i t e light as, for e x a m p l e , t h e f a m o u s satellite of Sirius, t h e s u b s t a n c e is so d e n s e t h a t it is a t h o u s a n d t i m e s as h e a v y as g o l d a n d p l a t i n u m . W e c a n e v e n h a r d l y i m a g i n e w h a t this s u b s t a n c e is a n d w h a t p r o p e r t i e s it h a s . O n the one h a n d , we h a v e infinite i n t e r p l a n e t a r y spaces traversed b y t h e f r e e l y flying single a t o m s . H e r e w o r l d rest is in d i a l e c t i c a l u n i t y w i t h p r e c i p i t a t e m o v e m e n t , a n d a t e m p e r a t u r e of a l m o s t a b s o l u t e zero reigns. O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , w e h a v e t h e c e n t r a l r e g i o n s of t h e stars w h e r e m i l l i o n s of d e g r e e s of h e a t a r e c o m b i n e d w i t h p r e s s u r e s of m i l l i o n s of a t m o s p h e r e s a n d w h e r e t h e a t o m s , h a v i n g o v e r c o m e t h e r e p u l s i o n
43

of the electrons, are knitted into a single dense mass of substances never seen on earth. U n d e r these conditions the evolution of chemical elements takes place, and the elements are the heavier and denser the greater the mass of the star and the higher the pressure and temperature in its interior. T h e chemical element which comes into being is the first step in the struggle against chaos. Heavier nuclei m a y be formed from free protons and electrons at enormous temperatures and pressures. Various structures, which we call chemical elements, thus gradually arise in different places. Some of them are heavier and have more energy,

N e b u l a M - i o i in the c o n s t e l l a t i o n of t h e Big D i p p e r

others are light and consist of only a few protons and neutrons. These lighter elements are carried away in streams to the periphery of the stars, into their atmospheres or combine into immense world nebulae. Others, which are less mobile, remain on the surface of incandescent or molten bodies. Powerful radiations destroy some structures and build, others; some elements disintegrate while others are created anew until the ready-made atoms find themselves where there are 110 forces strong enough to destroy their stable nuclei. This is when the history of the wanderings of individual atoms through the universe begins. Some of them fill the interplanetary spaces as, for example, the atoms of calcium and sodium, which in their free flight traverse the entire
44

u n i v e r s e . O t h e r s , w h i c h a r e h e a v i e r a n d s t a b l e r , a c c u m u l a t e in v a r i o u s p a r t s of t h e n e b u l a e . T e m p e r a t u r e s d r o p , e l e c t r i c a l fields of a t o m s c o m b i n e w i t h e a c h o t h e r a n d m o l e c u l e s of s i m p l e c h e m i c a l c o m p o u n d s a r e f o r m e d ; t h e s e i n c l u d e c a r b i d e s , h y d r o c a r b o n s , p a r t i c l e s of a c e t y l e n e a n d some substances u n k n o w n on earth which the astrophysicists o b s e r v e 011 t h e i n c a n d e s c e n t s u r f a c e s of d i s t a n t s t a r s as t h e first p r o d u c t of atomic, c o m b i n a t i o n s . These s i m p l e free m o l e c u l e s g r a d u a l l y g i v e rise to m o r e a n d m o r e h a r m o n i o u s systems. At low t e m p e r a t u r e s , o u t s i d e t h e d e s t r u c t i v e fields a n d c o s m i c d e p t h s , t h e s e c o n d s t e p in the world order the crystal is finally b o r n . A crystal is a r e m a r k a b l e s t r u c t u r e w h e r e t h e a t o m s a r e a r r a n g e d in a c e r t a i n o r d e r l y r e l a t i o n t o e a c h o t h e r , like b u i l d i n g - b l o c k s in a b o x . T h e b i r t h of a c r y s t a l is t h e n e x t s t a g e in t h e process of t h e e m e r g e n c e of m a t t e r f r o m c h a o s . i o ~ i n d i v i d u a l a t o m s c o m b i n e to l o r m a c u b i c c e n t i m e t r e of cryst a l l i n e s u b s t a n c e . N e w p r o p e r t i e s , t h e p r o p e r t i e s of crystals, m a k e t h e i r a p p e a r a n c e . N o w it is n o l o n g e r t h e laws of t h e e l e c t r o m a g n e t i c c l u s t e r s of w h i c h t h e y a r e c o m p o s e d , n o t t h e yet u n k n o w n laws of n u c l e a r e n e r g y t h a t g o v e r n , b u t n e w laws of m a t t e r , t h e laws of chemistry. I shall n o t c o n t i n u e t h e d e s c r i p t i o n of this p i c t u r e . I o n l y w a n t e d to s h o w t h a t w e h a v e v e r y little k n o w l e d g e of t h e w o r l d t h a t s u r r o u n d s us, t h a t this w o r l d is u n c o m m o n l y c o m p l e x a n d its c a l m is o n l y a p p a r e n t b e c a u s e it is r e p l e t e w i t h m o t i o n ; m a i l e r as w e k n o w it h e r e o n e a r t h , as w e see it in h a r d s t o n e in s u r r o u n d i n g n a t u r e , c o m e s i n t o t h e w o r l d in a whirl of m o t i o n . M u c h of w h a t I h a v e said h a s a l r e a d y b e e n d e m o n s t r a t e d by m o d e r n s c i e n c e , b u t a g o o d d e a l of h o w first t h e a t o m a n d t h e n t h e crystal c o m e i n t o b e i n g f r o m w o r l d c h a o s is as yet a m y s t e r y to us. A n d still, h o w b e a u t i f u l l y this p i c t u r e w a s p a i n t e d by L u c r e t i u s C a m s , t h e R o m a n p h i l o s o p h e r , t w o t h o u s a n d y e a r s a g o ! Let us recall a few lines f r o m his p o e m : " H u t o n l y a sort of I r e s h - f b r i n e d s t o r m , a m a s s g a t h e r e d t o g e t h e r of lirst-begiiinings of e v e r y k i n d , w h o s e d i s c o r d w a s w a g i n g w a r a n d c o n f o u n d i n g i n t e r s p a c e s , p a t h s , i n t e r l a c i n g s , w e i g h t s , blows, m e e t i n g s , a n d m o t i o n s , b e c a u s e o w i n g to t h e i r u n l i k e f o r m s a n d d i v e r s e s h a p e s , > all t h i n g s w e r e u n a b l e to r e m a i n in u n i o n , as t h e y d o n o w , a n d to g i v e a n d r e c e i v e h a r m o n i o u s m o t i o n s , f r o m this m a s s p a r l s b e g a n lo llv oil' h i t h e r a n d t h i t h e r , a n d like t h i n g s l<> u n i t e w i f h like, a n d

so to u n f o l d a w o r l d , a n d to s u n d e r its m e m b e r s a n d d i s p o s e its g r e a t parts. . . . " A n d so t h e r e is n o rest in n a t u r e ; e v e r y t h i n g c h a n g e s e v e n if a t d i f f e r e n t rates. S t o n e , t h e s y m b o l of d u r a b i l i t y , also c h a n g e s b e c a u s e t h e a t o m s of w h i c h it is c o m p o s e d a r e i n e t e r n a l m o t i o n . T o us it a p p e a r s f i r m a n d m o t i o n l e s s o n l y b e c a u s e w e d o n o t see this m o t i o n t h e results of w h i c h b e c o m e p e r c e p t i b l e a l o n g t i m e a f t e r w a r d s , w h e r e a s w e ourselves c h a n g e m u c h f a s t e r . It w a s l o n g b e l i e v e d t h a t o n l y t h e a t o m w a s i n d i v i s i b l e , i n v a r i a b l e a n d indilTerent t o e t e r n a l c h a n g e . B u t lo a n d b e h o l d ! a t o m s , t o o , a r e h e e d f u l of t i m e . S o m e of t h e m , w e call t h e m r a d i o a c t i v e , c h a n g e f a s t ; o t h e r s c h a n g e slowly. M o r e o v e r , w e k n o w n o w t h a t a t o m s also evolve, t h a t t h e y a r e c r e a t e d i n t h e h e a t of t h e stars, t h a t t h e y d e v e l o p a n d die. . . . A n d t h e h u m a n m i n d reflects t h e s a m e e t e r n a l m o t i o n a n d d e v e l o p m e n t : a t first i n c o m p r e h e n s i o n , c h a o s a n d lack of o r d e r . T h e n t h e t y p e s of c o n n e c t i o n s b e t w e e n all p a r t s of t h e w o r l d b e g i n to g r o w c l e a r , t h e m o v e m e n t s p r o v e s u b j e c t lo laws, a n d a h a r m o n i o u s p i c t u r e of a n indivisible u n i v e r s e p r e s e n t s itself to m a n . S u c h is t h e w o r l d as m o d e r n s c i e n c e r e v e a l s it to us.

HOW MENDELEYEV DISCOVERED HIS LAW
I n t h e old b u i l d i n g of t h e c h e m i c a l l a b o r a t o r y of P e t e r s b u r g U n i versity s a l a y o u n g t h o u g h a l r e a d y w e l l - k n o w n professor. It w a s D m i t r y M e n d e l e y e v . H e h a d just b e e n a p p o i n t e d h e a d of t h e d e p a r t m e n t of g e n e r a l c h e m i s t r y a t t h e u n i v e r s i t y a n d w a s b u s y d r a w i n g u p a s t u d y p l a n for his s t u d e n t s . H e w a s t h i n k i n g of h o w he m i g h t most c o n v e n i e n t l y set f o r t h t h e laws of c h e m i s t r y , d e s c r i b e t h e h i s t o r y of t h e s e p a r a t e e l e m e n t s a n d p r o c e e d w i t h t h e c o u r s e ol s t u d y . l i e was w o n d e r i n g h o w h e m i g h t c o n n e c t his stories a b o u t p o t a s s i u m , s o d i u m , l i t h i u m , i r o n , m a n g a n e s e , nickel, etc. I le a l r e a d y h a d a feeling t h e s e p a r a t e c h e m i c a l a t o m s w e r e in s o m e w a y r e l a t e d to e a c h o t h e r t h o u g h these r e l a t i o n s w e r e n o t c l e a r as yet. In o r d e r lo find t h e best possible a r r a n g e m e n t h e took s e p a r a t e c a r d s a n d w r o t e in big letters t h e n a m e of a n e l e m e n t , its a t o m i c w e i g h t a n d s o m e of its c h i e f p r o p e r t i e s o n e a c h c a r d . T h e n h e b e g a n lo a r r a n g e t h e s e c a r d s b y g r o u p i n g t h e e l e m e n t s a c c o r d i n g to t h e i r p r o p e r t i e s a b o u t till' w a y o u r g r a n d m o t h e r s used to a r r a n g e t h e i r c a r d s w h e n playing patience. S u d d e n l y t h e professor o b s e r v e d a r e m a r k a b l e r e g u l a r i t y . l i e h a d a r r a n g e d his c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s o n e a f t e r a n o t h e r in t h e o r d e r ol i n c r e a s ing a t o m i c w e i g h t s a n d d i s c o v e r e d t h a t w i t h but few e x c e p t i o n s t h e p r o p e r t i e s ol t h e e l e m e n t s r e c u r r e d a t c e r t a i n i n t e r v a l s . l i e t h e n b e g a n to lay o u t m o r e c a r d s b e l o w t h e first r o w a n d a l t e r p l a c i n g seven elements stalled on the third row. In this r o w he h a d lo put a l r e a d y s e v e n t e e n e l e m e n t s in o r d e r t h a t t h e e l e m e n t s s h o w i n g a n y s i m i l a r i t i e s be a r r a n g e d o n e b e l o w a n o t h e r , but s o m e h o w it d i d not c o m e out q u i t e right a n d lie h a d to leave g a p s . S e v e n t e e n m o r e c a r d s m a d e a n o t h e r r o w . 11 w a s g e t t i n g m o r e c o m p l i •17

cated; several atoms just w o u l d not fit t h o u g h the recurrence of properties was clearly observed. All the e l e m e n t s k n o w n to D . M e n d e l c y e v w e r e , thus, a r r a n g e d in the f o r m of a t a b l e a n d w i t h b u t few e x c e p t i o n s t h e y all followed e a c h o t h e r in h o r i z o n t a l r o w s in t h e o r d e r of t h e i r i n c r e a s i n g a t o m i c w e i g h t s , while t h e s i m i l a r e l e m e n t s f o u n d themselves a r r a n g e d in v e r t i c a l columns. I n M a r c h 1869, D . M e n d e l e y e v sent t h e first brief r e p o r t 011 his law to t h e P h y s i c o - C h c m i c a l Society in P e t e r s b u r g . T h e n , sensing t h e e n o r m o u s i m p o r t a n c e o f his discovery, he b e g a n w o r k i n g persistently, c o r r e c t i n g his t a b l e a n d m a k i n g it m o r e e x a c t . H e soon f o u n d b l a n k s in the t a b l e . " N e w s u b s t a n c e s will soon b e f o u n d for these b l a n k spaces f o l l o w i n g silicon, b o r o n a n d a l u m i n i u m , " he w o u l d say. H i s p r e d i c t i o n s soon c a m e t r u e a n d t h e n e w l y d i s c o v e r e d e l e m e n t s n a m e d g a l l i u m , germ a n i u m a n d s c a n d i u m w e r e p l a c e d in t h e v a c a n t s q u a r e s of t h e t a b l e . O n e of t h e g r e a t e s t discoveries in t h e history of c h e m i s t r y was, thus, m a d e by t h e R u s s i a n c h e m i s t 1). M e n d e l e y e v . Hut d o n ' t t h i n k it is so simple, m y f r i e n d s ; t h a t all y o u h a v e to d o is t a k e c a r d s , w r i t e n a m e s o n t h e m , a r r a n g e t h e m in a c e r t a i n o r d e r a n d t h e t h i n g is d o n e . T h i s simplicity, this c h a n c e discovery, as it w e r e , is only a p p a r e n t . O n l y 62 e l e m e n t s w e r e k n o w n a t t h a t t i m e . The a t o m i c w eights w e r e d e t e r m i n e d i n a c c u r a t e l y , s o m e of t h e m w r o n g l y , a n d t h e p r o p e r t i e s of t h e a t o m s w e r e but little k n o w n . M a n h a d to get a n insight i n t o t h e n a t u r e of e a c h c h e m i c a l s u b s t a n c e , g r a s p the similarities b e t w e e n s o m e of t h e e l e m e n t s , d i v i n e the c o u r s e of e a c h e l e m e n t ' s m i g r a t i o n s , t h e " f r i e n d s h i p " or " h o s t i l i t y " of t h e e l e m e n t s in t h e e a r t h itself. I). M e n d e l e y e v s u c c e e d e d in k n i t t i n g i n t o a single w h o l e all t h a t h a d been k n o w n of t h e c h e m i s t r y of t h e e a r t h b e f o r e h i m . T o be sure, t h e r e w e r e also o t h e r scientists w h o n o t i c e d a r e l a t i o n ship b e t w e e n t h e e l e m e n t s t h o u g h t h e i r ideas a b o u t it w e r e still v a g u e and imperfect. Hut most scientists ol t h a t l i m e t h o u g h t the idea of k i n s h i p b e t w e e n the e l e m e n t s a b s u r d . Thus, w h e n t h e English c h e m i s t N e w l a n d s , o n e ol the fighters lor the f r e e d o m of Italy in ( i a r i b a l d i ' s a r m v , s u b m i t t e d to t h e press a p a p e r o n t h e r e c u r r e n c e ol t h e p r o p e r t i e s ol c e r l a i i ^ e l e m e n t s with a n increase in their a t o m i c weights his p a p e r was r e j e c t e d by the C h e m i c a l Society a n d o n e of the chemists tried lo r i d i c u l e
,|8

Newlands by saying he might have arrived at an even more interesting conclusion if he had arranged all the elements in alphabetic order. But all these were only particulars. Science still needed a lot more: ii had to draw up a single plan, a fundamental law- of the universe, and show by facts that this law was valid everywhere, that all the properties of each element were governed by this law, were subject to it and had their source in it. This required intuition of a genius, ability to see what was common to the elements, despite the discrepancies, and persistence in investigating concrete facts. D. Mendeleyev proved equal D. Mendeleyev. Photograph made to the task. in 1869 H e was able to show the interrelations of all the atoms in nature so clearly, distinctly and simply that nobody could disprove his system. T h e order had been found. T r u e enough, the bonds which linked these elements with each other were still a mystery, but the order was so obvious that it enabled Mendeleyev to speak of a new natural law—the Periodic Law of chemical elements. Many years have elapsed since then. D. Mendeleyev worked on this law for nearly 40 years penetrating into the deepest mysteries of chemistry. In the Chamber of Weights and Measures, which he headed, he studied and measured the various properties of metals, by most accurate methods, finding ever more confirmation of his discovery. He travelled through the Urals studying its resources and devoted many years to the problem of oil and its origin; everywhere, in the laboratory and in nature, he found confirmation of his Periodic Law. In the profoundest theories and in industry this law was being transformed into a guiding compass which directed the searches of scientists and men of practice like a compass guides the seafarers at sea.
4

49

EXPERIMENT

IN THE SISTEM OF ELEMENTS Weights and Similarities

Based on T h e i r A t o m i c Chemical

D. Mendeleyev

n

Tlic periodic system of elements. T h e original table p r o d u c e d hy I). M e n d e l e y e v in 1869

I). M e n d e l e y e v c o r r e c t e d a n d i m p r o v e d his little t a b i c of 1869 until t h e very last d a y s of his life; h u n d r e d s of chemists, following in his footsteps, discovered n e w e l e m e n t s a n d n e w c o m p o u n d s g r a d u a l l y d i v i n i n g t h e p r o f o u n d i n n e r m e a n i n g of M e n d e l e y e v ' s t a b l e . T o d a y w e see it in a n e n t i r e l y n e w light. I). M e n d e l e y e v ' s Periodic. T a b l e p r o v e d a n excellent g u i d e to t h e s t u d y of the regularities of the s t r u c t u r e s of a t o m i c s p e c t r a . W h i l e s t u d y i n g t h e s p e c t r a of e l e m e n t s a r r a n g e d in t h e o r d e r of M e n d e l e y e v ' s P e r i o d i c T a b l e I leriry Moseley, y o u n g British physicist, q u i t e u n e x p e c t e d l y discovered o n e m o r e r e g u l a r i t y in M e n d e l e y e v ' s P e r i o d i c T a b l e in 1913, a n d a s c e r t a i n e d the. i m p o r t a n t role of t h e a t o m i c n u m b e r s of e l e m e n t s . j<>

H e p r o v e d t h a t t h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t p a r t of t h e e l e m e n t w a s t h e charge on the central nucleus which exactly equals the element's a t o m i c n u m b e r . I t e q u a l s o n e in h y d r o g e n , t w o i n h e l i u m , t h i r t y i n z i n c a n d n i n e t y - t w o in u r a n i u m ; j u s t as m a n y e l e c t r o n s a r e tied b y t h e s e c h a r g e s to t h e n u c l e u s a n d r u s h a r o u n d t h e l a t t e r in t h e i r o r b i t s . I n e v e r y a t o m t h e n u m b e r of e l e c t r o n s s u r r o u n d i n g t h e n u c l e u s e q u a l s t h e a t o m i c n u m b e r of t h e e l e m e n t . All e l e c t r o n s a r c v e r y d e f i n i t e l y a r r a n g e d in s e p a r a t e l a y e r s . L a y e r K , first a n d closest to t h e n u c l e u s , c o n t a i n s fine e l e c t r o n in h y d r o g e n a n d t w o e l e c t r o n s in all t h e o t h e r e l e m e n t s . T h e s e c o n d l a y e r L c o n t a i n s e i g h t e l e c t r o n s in m o s t a t o m s . L a y e r M m a y h a v e u p t o 18 e l e c t r o n s , l a y e r N u p t o 32. T h e c h e m i c a l p r o p e r t i e s of a t o m s a r e d e t e r m i n e d m a i n l y b y t h e s t r u c t u r e of t h e o u t e r m o s t e l e c t r o n l a y e r w h i c h is p a r t i c u l a r l y s t a b l e w l f c n t h e n u m b e r of e l e c t r o n s in it r e a c h e s e i g h t . T h e a t o m s w i t h o n e o r t w o e l e c t r o n s in t h e i r o u t e r m o s t l a y e r easily give t h e m u p a n d c h a n g e t o ions. F o r e x a m p l e , s o d i u m , p o t a s s i u m a n d r u b i d i u m h a v e o n e e l e c t r o n e a c h in t h e i r o u t e r m o s t layers. T h e y lose t h e m v e r y easily a n d c h a n g e t o u n i v a l e n t positively c h a r g e d ions. U n d e r t h e c i r c u m stances the next electron layer becomes the outer layer. T h i s layer c o n t a i n s 8 e l e c t r o n s w h i c h e n s u r e s t h e s t a b i l i t y of t h e i o n - a t o m . T h e a t o m s of c a l c i u m , b a r i u m a n d o t h e r a l k a l i n e - e a r t h m e t a l s h a v e t w o e l e c t r o n s in t h e i r o u t e r m o s t l a y e r s e a c h , u p o n losing w h i c h t h e y b e c o m e s t a b l e b i v a l e n t positive ions. T h e a t o m s of b r o m i n e , c h l o r i n e a n d o t h e r h a l o g e n s h a v e seven e l e c t r o n s in t h e i r o u t e r m o s t layers. T h e y greedily c a p t u r e electrons f r o m the o u t e r m o s t layers of o t h e r a t o m s a n d b y r e p l c t i n g t h e i r o w n o u t e r m o s t l a y e r s t o e i g h t e l e c t r o n s b e c o m e s t a b l e n e g a t i v e ions. T h e e l e m e n t s w i t h t h r e e , f o u r a n d live e l e c t r o n s in t h e i r o u t e r m o s t l a y e r s d i s p l a y a lesser t e n d e n c y t o f o r m ions in c h e m i c a l r e a c t i o n s . The w e i g h t of t h e a t o m a n d t h e f r e q u e n c y of its o c c u r r e n c e in n a t u r e d e p e n d o n t h e s t r u c t u r e of its n u c l e u s , w h i l e its c h e m i c a l p r o p e r t i e s a n d s p e c t r u m a r e d e p e n d e n t o n t h e n u m b e r of its e l e c t r o n s a n d a r e e x t r a o r d i n a r i l y s i m i l a r in e l e m e n t s w i t h like s t r u c t u r e s of t h e o u t e r m o s t e l e c t r o n layers. S u c h is t h e m y s t e r y of t h e a t o m . S i n c e this m y s t e r y w a s r e v e a l e d c h e m i s t s a n d physicists, g c o c h c m i s l s a n d a s t r o n o m e r s , t e c h n i c i a n s a n d t e c h n o l o g i s t s h a v e r e c o g n i z e d M e n d e l e y e v ' s P e r i o d i c L a w as o n e of t h e p r o l o u n d e s t l a w s ol n a t u r e .

D . I. M E N D E L E Y E V ' S
PERIODS SERIES

PERIODIC

I
1

(1 Be
2 9.013

m

IV B
10.82 2

E L E M E N T

V
7

1 2 3 4

I 1H .0080 3 II Li
6.940

4
2 1
1 2

5 13
2 3 2 2

6 14
j

C
12.011 2

N
14.008

an III N 22.991 IV K 39.100 V VI
i
!

,M

g

Al

Si

5

13

P
30.975

2 24.32

26.98 2

28.09 2

19

20 J8 Ca
2 40.08

! Sc 8
2 44.96

21 31

i8 Ti Ga .1
69.72 2

22 32
40

z , oV
2 50.95

23 33

? ,8
2

2 47.90

29

S Cu ,
63.54 2

30

Zn
65.38 2

Ge
72.60 2
2

As
74.91
1

37

Kb
85.48
1

< c

«

br

38

I 8 is

5

2 87.63 47

8 2 88.92
3

Y

39

Zr 1 8
2 91.22
4

__

3 Nb
2 92.91

41

\l

8 2

VII S
2

107.880 2 55 1

A? s 8
.

48
56

Cd s
112.41 2 2

49

In 1!
2

50

Sn s
_
118.70 2

51
73

Sb
2

114.76 2 57

121.76

72

VIII Cs 6
132.91

| Ba
2 137.36

3 La *
2 138.92 80

i Hf
s
2 178.6 4 <8

3 Ta
5 18

2

%
8 2

8 2 180.95

i IX ?!
2

79

2

3
18

81

82

83

Au
197.0

i !

H^
200.61

fs
2

T1 if 8
89
204.39 2

Pb % a
207.21 2

Bi
209.00

87

;
18 32 18

88

7
58

X Fr
1 1

_

Ra
60 2

1 8 i Ac ** ^ (Th) S 18
i 227 2

2

2

(Pa)
* LANTHA | 64 J 63

[223]

\ 226.05

|

59

»

61

2

62

2

Ce
140.13 90

S Pr
2 140.92 2 10 91

i Nd
' 144.27

£ Pm
® [145]

?! Sm
2 150.43

i EU
2 152.0

ft Gd
2 156.9
* • A

5
2

m. Th
232.05

ii

Pa

2 9 2 0 »U
S

92

• 231

238.07

2 94 2 9 93 2 8 95 2 24 S Np 1 Pu S Am 1 Cm ' [237] 5 [242] S [243] 2 [245]

CTI 96 2

1
1

Figures in square brackets are mass numbers of stablest

isotopes

TABLE
GROUPS

OF
VII

ELEMENTS VIII
(H) H e 0
2

VI

4.003
8

2
0

0

9

F 19.00

N e

1

I
. 2
1 6

I6

Z S 7
17

20.183 A r
1 8

2 i
2

C I 35.457

32.066 2

39.944 27
2 6

Cr
52.01 ,1 !

24

, ** IJ M n
2 54.94

2 5

2

IS F e

\ C o 2 58.94

z XT15 N l 2 58.69

2 8

2

<| 2 K r
3 6

2 55.85

5 4

S e

i

W

B r
79.916 44 Ij R u 2 1 II R h 8 2 102.91 45
1

4 2

78.96 2

83.80

42
M o 95.95 <! S 2 74 52

1
!i T c 8 2 [99] 1 18 T e 18 ' 127.61 2 2 53

101.1

I! 8 2 106.7

Pd

46

0

s 8
2 54 X e I3I.3 18 2

I 1
76 ,5 2 14 77 2 15 78

8

126.91
7 5

1 8
2 86 R n 5

w
183.92

S
8
84

R e

2 186.31

n 8
85
A t [210]

O s

fi I r
8 2 192.2

8
2

S p t 195.23

2 190.2

18

6

1
18

8 18
8

8

8
2

PO
210

18
2

8
222 2

(U)
N I D E S

65
T b 158.93 n i d e s 97

2
?! D y

66

2
S H o

67

2 ?! E r

68

2 £ T u

69

2

70 Y b

2

8

2 162.48

2 164.94

8

? S

71

I

I 167.2

2 168.94

2 173.04

5 8 2 174.99

LU

S 8
2

98

BK
[245]

Cf
[248]

2 99 2 8 32 1 8 EN 8 [253] 2

2 100 A 23 32 < TFM 1 2 [255]

-Atomic
101"

number layers

"Electron

MV [256]X
Symbol

Atomic might

MENDELEYEVS PERIODIC SYSTEM OF ELEMENTS
IN O U R DAYS

Investigators have proposed many different methods whereby the characteristic, features of'Mcndelcyev's Periodic Table might IK: revealed as clearly and distinctly as possible. Some illustrations in this book show how Mcndelcyev's great law was represented at different times, now as bands and columns now as a twisted spiral on a plane, and now as a complicated pattern of lines and arcs. We shall come back to the attempt at setting the table forth in the form of a grand spiral later, but now we shall present it as it is presented bv modern science. Let us look into this table and try to make out what it really means. In the first place we see a big number of squares or boxes which are arranged in seven horizontal rows (or periods) and in eighteen vertical columns or, as the chemists call them, groups. Incidentally, let us immediately observe that in most textbooks this table is given in a somewhat different form (the, rows appear doubled, as it were), but we shall find it more convenient to analyze it the way it is. T h e first period contains only two elements—-hydrogen (H) and helium (He); the second and third periods contain eight chemical elements each; there arc 18 chemical elements in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth periods. T h e boxes of these six periods should be occupied by 72 elements; it turns out, however, that 14 elements similar to lanthanum, so-called lanthanidcs, are inserted between box 57 and box 72. Finally, the last period contains, apparently like the preceding one, 32 boxes but only some of them arc occupied as yet.
.VI

T h e M e n d e l e y e v ' s p e r i o d i c system of e l e m e n t s as r e p r e s e n t e d by S o d d y (1914). H o r i zontal lines s h o w series of e l e m e n t s w i t h similar chemical p r o p e r t i e s . Big p e r i o d s arc shown in the f o r m of eights (8). W h i t e circles c o n t a i n m e t a l s , black c i r c l e s - m e t a l l o i d s . G r e v circles s h o w n e u t r a l e l e m e n t s ( n o b l e gases a n d e l e m e n t s y i e l d i n g a m p h o t e r i c oxides)

It is hard to conceive the existence of any chemical elements arranged before the first square occupied by hydrogen because the proton and neutron, which form the nucleus of hydrogen, are the fundamental bricks of which the nuclei of all the other elements are built; hydrogen, no doubt, rightly stands at the head of Mendeleyev's Periodic Table. T h e question about the end of the table is much more complicated. T h e last place h a d ' l o n g been occupied by uranium. However, transuranium elements have been obtained in some experiments. Consequently, uranium does not terminate Mendeleyev's table. Nine more boxes have been occupied so far beyond u r a n i u m ; these elements are: neptunium (No. 93), plutonium (No. 94), americium (No. 95), curium (No. 96), berkelium (No. .97), californium (No. 98), einsteinium (No. 99), fermium (No. 100) and mendelevium (No. 101). As the figures at the top of each box show, each box is numbered. T,he numbers run one after another from one on. They are called the atomic numbers of chemical elements; they are related to
55

the number of electric particles contained in the elements and are, therefore, very important and inalienable properties of each box, each element. For example, atomic number 30 in the square occupied by zinc w ith an atomic weight of 65.38 is. on the one hand, the ordinal number of the square and shows, 011 the other hand, that the atom of zinc consists of a nucleus with 30 electric particles, called electrons, revolving around it. Chemists made many vain attempts to find elements Xo. 43, Xo. 61. Xo. 85 and 87 in nature; they analyzed various minerals and s a l t s and tried to discover some as yet unknown lines in their spectra. They made many mistakes, published bombastic articles about discoveries of elements, but these four elements have not been found either on the stars or on earth. It has now been possible, however, to prepare them artificially. One of them, Xo. 43, is supposed to have properties similar to those of manganese. D. Mendelevev named it ekamanganese. This element has now been synthesized and named technetium. The second element is located below iodine and is designated bv Xo. 85. It is supposed to have some fabulous properties and be even more volatile than iodine. D. Mendelevev gave it the name of ekaiodine. It has also been synthesized and given the name of astatine. The third element, which had also been mvsterious for a long time, is shown in our table under X6?' 87. It was predicted by Mendelevev who named it ekacesium. It has been synthesized and named francium. Finally, the fourth element, which has not been found either 011 the stars or on earth, is Xo. 61. It is one of the rare-earth metals. It has been svnthesized and is now known as promethium. Today the table of elements is much more complete than it was at the time D. Mendelevev had to make out the complicated picture of nature and draw up his first draft of the table. As we have already mentioned, each box with a definite number is occupied by one chemical element. Physicists have demonstrated, however, that it is really a much more complicated affair. Thus, according to the chemical properties, box Xo. 17 contains only one atom of the gas known as chlorine with a small nucleus and seventeen

D . M c n d e ! e \ e \ p e r i o d i c sv-tem nf e l e m e n t s in the f ^ m i ot tirdcN -.ph'-n^ I : c d i a m e t e r s of the iirrle circle^ r e p r e s e n t the m / c - of the at^nis and ion-. I r . 1 \\ i: by Y. Biiibin in 194s

electrons which, like planets, surround it on all sides. Meantime, physicists indicate that there are two chlorines: one heavier, and the other—lighter. But since their proportion is equal everywhere t h e i r mean weight is always 35.46. And here is another example. T h e familiar box No. 30 is occupied by zinc. But here, too, physicists point out there are different zincs, some heavier, some lighter, six different kinds in all. It. thus, turns out that though each box contains one chemical element with 57

definite even

natural

properties In some

lliere eases

may

lie s e v e r a l is o n l y one.

kinds

or

"isotopes" therein in are this very

ol t h i s e l e m e n t . ten. the Naturally, phenomenon. in some to

there

in o t h e r s interested the heavy

geochemists should why ol the on all are this salt and

became these there fac t, not

extremely he more in sea from of

Why and

isotopes

encountered places.' they from kind the from took

definite a m o u n t s places work and I he atomic origin: salt went

element Chemists salts of lakes, they thai, abso-

light

element l or the

other and

ehei l;ihg from

analysis each

different roi k-salt isolated lor had no the

common and

from

various of salt rocks same the

Central They

Africa; look

chlorine weight.

unexpectedly even

obtained chlorine

numbers

fallen f r o m t h e skv, b u t t h e c o m p o s i t i o n what matter where the element, came. from.

of c h l o r i n e p r o v e d

lutely the same. A n d

we call a t o m i c w e i g h t r e m a i n e d

invariable,

H u t t h e t r i u m p h of t h e c h e m i s t s d i d n o t l a s t l o n g . O t h e r tried gas are to s e p a r a t e After they managed these to heavv obtain the and and one light gas isotopes of t h e of laboratory. chlorine and complicated lengthy distillation

investigators atom of in the of chlorine atoms

composed but their

lighter

another made absolutely of

u p of h e a v i e r a t o m s . B o t h same, of each weights has

these c hlorines differ. Mende<)2 b o x e s many simple, wrong! weights second second so out their

chemically

This with

discovery

isotopes

element

rendered before: was denoted turned

leyev's table m o r e complicated. one chemical there element around And electrons were

It s e e m e d nucleus.

so simple: number all Everything

in e a c h . T h e the suddenly

how

so c l e a r a n d

so c e r t a i n !

it h a d

I n s t e a d of o n e o x y g e n t h e r e a r e T H R K E also has T H R K K with kind has been

of t h e m a n d

a r e e x a c t l y 15, 1 () a n d 18. H u t the: m o s t r e m a r k a b l e t h i n g is t h a t h y d r o g e n k i n d s of a t o m s , o n e w i t h t h e w e i g h t of I, t h e the third name with t h e w e i g h t of 3. T h e a special deuterium. b u t it h a s t w i c e t h e where water is pure heavy water weight t h e w e i g h t of 2, a n d given

C h e m i c a l l y it is l i k e o r d i n a r y of and the usual the the hydrogen. latter light At b y m e a n s of e l e c t r i c i t y from of instead specific In a

hydrogen, plants

large,

decomposed deuterium hydrogen possesses cells,.

it h a s b e e n special water It life

possible to obtain which 'very contains that heavy

variety. it d e s t r o y s in

appears

properties:

strongly

affects living

word,

it ' " b e h a v e s "

a verv specific

manner.

F o l l o w i n g tills a c h i e v e m e n t of the chcmists the geochemists took u p the s a m e p r o b l e m in relation to n a t u r a l bodies. T h e y t h o u g h t t h a t s i n c e it w a s possible t o d i v i d e t h e a t o m s of h y d r o g e n into various kinds in the retort nature was probably doing the s a m e . O n l y in n a t u r e all c h e m i c a l processes a r c v e r y restless a n d t h e n a t u r a l c o n d i t i o n s ' of t h e m o l t e n m a g m a s in the earth's i n t e r i o r o r o n its s u r f a c e c h a n g e so o f t e n t h a t w e c a n h a r d l y e x p e c t t h e a c c u m u l a t i o n of p u r e isotopes which we h a v e been able to obtain at factories a n d in res e a r c h i n s t i t u t e s . A s a m a t t e r of f a c t it h a s t u r n e d o u t t h a t t h e w a t e r of t h e seas a n d o c e a n s P o r t r a i t of D . M e n d c l e y c v p a i n t e d by his c o n t a i n s a little m o r e h e a v y wife A. M e n d e l e y e v a w a t e r t h a n d o rivers a n d t h e rain. Certain minerals contain even more heavy water. A whole new world, formerly inaccessible to the mineralogist a n d geochemist, o p e n e d u p b e f o r e us. T h e d i f f e r e n c e b e t w e e n t h e s e c o m p o u n d s is so n e g l i g i b l e i n n a t u r e t h a t it r e q u i r e s t h e s u b t l e s t m e t h o d s of c h e m i c a l a n d p h y s i c a l a n a l y s i s t o d i s c o v e r it. T h e m i l l i o n t h s a n d e v e n t h o u s a n d t h s of a g r a m a n d c e n t i m e t r e a r e i m p e r c e p t i b l e to a m i n e r a l o g i s t a n d g e o c h e m i s t w h e n h e s t u d i e s t h e stones, t h e w a t e r s a n d t h e e a r t h s of s u r r o u n d i n g n a t u r e . W e m a y e v e n f o r g e t t h a t t h e r e a r e t h r e e o x y g e n s , six zincs a n d t w o p o t a s s i u m s since t h e d i f f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n t h e m a r e so n e g l i g i b l e a n d , f r a n k l y s p e a k i n g , o u r m e t h o d s of i n v e s t i g a t i o n a r e still so c r u d e . O n l y t h e c h e m i s t s a n d physicists h a v e l e a r n e d t o d i v i d e t h e e l e m e n t s i n t o d i f f e r e n t isotopes b y t h e i r p r e c i s e i n v e s t i g a t i o n s a n d t h e r e c a n b e n o d o u b t t h a t w h e n t h e y m a s t e r all of o u r n a t u r e b y t h e i r m o s t a c c u r a t e m e t h o d s t h e y will d i s c o v e r t h e
59

greatest laws o f geochemistry of which we cannot even dream as yet. Meanwhile you and I may forget about isotopes. As far as we are concerned each box in Mcndelcyev's Periodic Table contains only one definite and invariable chemical element. For us, box Xo. 50 contains only one tin which is always and everywhere the same and which yields the same chemical reactions all over, is encountered in nature in the same crystals and has an atomic weight of 118.7 wherever it may be found. Mcndelcyev's Periodic Table is none the worse for this greatest discovery of isotopes; it has only become more complicated in its minutest details while remaining essentially as d e a r , simple and distinct a picture of nature as it was painted for us by Mendelevev who foresaw its tremendous importance. Let us go deeper into this tabic and see of what significance it is for the investigators ot nature, the mineralogists and the geochemists. Let us first take a look at each column of boxes from top to bottom. Here is the first column—lithium, sodium, potassium, rubidium, cesium and fnincium. These are all metals and we call them the alkali metals. In nature they occur together except artificially obtained franciurn. We know their compounds well: for sodium—common salt which you use with your food, and for potassium—saltpetre with which fireworks are made. Then come very rare alkali metals which are now used in intricate electric appliances. But whatever the differences among all these elements they are very much alike chemically. And here is the second vertical column in which we find the alkalineearth metals from beryllium, the lightest, to the famous radium. These also resemble each other forming, as it were, one family. Then comes the third column with boron, aluminium, scandium, yttrium, a box with fifteen rare-earth elements and, finally, actinium. Only the first two elements—boron and aluminium—which play an important part in nature are well known to us from everyday life. The first of these forms part of boric acid and borax which is used in soldering. Aluminium is a constituent of nephcline, feldspar, corundum and bauxite, while in its pure form we can see it in metal wares, pots and pans. This is a rather complex group.
(jo

Aluminium may be considered a real metal, but boron is more like a non-metal because it forms salts (such as borax) with typical metals. We go on to the fourth column containing carbon, silicon, titanium, zirconium, hafnium and, finally, thorium. T h e first two are among the most important chemical elements in nature; carbon forms the entire mass of organic nature and is a constituent ot all limestones, while silicon is an element about which you will read a special chapter. We now come to the fifth, sixth and seventh columns. In these columns we have onlv special metals which are very highly valued in the metallurgy of iron and which are added to steel to improve its qualities. And here is the remarkable middle of Mendeleyev's Periodic Table consisting of the eighth, ninth and tenth columns. The most curious feature of this part of the table is that the neighbouring metals are very much alike. Iron, cobalt and nickel greatly resemble each other and in nature arc always encountered together; they are also hard to separate in chemical analysis. Ruthenium, rhodium and palladium (the light platinum metals), as well as osmium, iridium and platinum (the heavy platinum metals) resemble each other no less. T h e centre of the table is followed by four vertical columns occupied by so-called heavy metals. These include copper, zinc, tin and lead which are familiar to us Irom our everyday experience. Now comes column fifteen. It begins with the gas known as nitrogen. This is followed bv volatile phosphorus and arsenic, semi-metallic antimony and, finally, by the rather typical metal, bismuth. This column marks, as it were, a sharp transition to the next part ol Mendeleyev's Periodic Table where we shall no longer encounter any metals with metallic lustre and other familiar properties. There we find substances which chemists have named non-metals and which are gaseous, liquid or solid. The sixteenth column contains oxygen, sulphur, selenium, tellurium and the mvstcrious polonium; this is followed bv the seventeenth column of volatile substances, first gases hydrogen, lluorine and chlorine, then liquid bromine, and, finally, solid but also volatile
(M

crystals ol iodine. Chemists have given this group of elements (except hydrogen) the name of halogens because they form salts with alkalis. I his is denoted by the meaning of the Creek word: halogen means salt-producing. And here is the last column, the eighteenth, in which we find the rare or noble gases. These do not combine with anything but impregnate the entire earth, all minerals, everything that surrounds us in nature. They begin with light helium, the gas of the sun, and end with the remarkable gas called radon whose: atoms live only a lew days.

MENDELEYEV'S PERIODIC SYSTEM OF ELEMENTS IN GEOCHEMISTRY
f low through to man. This from for hard that our his the lime question needs or has of always for come hie. hunting hard, began to the lore spontaneously, man arid needed shaped nephrite. of attention to It them is years arising materials Irom clear before stones to to and are the- c h e m i c a l This has elements long been dist r i b u t e c l a question in of the earth and all

nature?

great

importance

the (lint

day-to-day and similarly minerals

Primitive weapons hut many

work-tools from scan h when

stronger, paying

for

thousands

primitive him. man and (or first

man

started

sparklets

of gold In extract search lat' r to

in r i v e r s a n d s a n d way

t o the. b e a u t y o r w e i g h t ol d i f f e r e n t found out about, and then lie man and Il

that, a t t r a c t e d this and

learned was

process cupper, data iron

tin, gold

a n d , finally, iron, The regions where to m a n u f a c t u r e lor s t a t u e t t e s in a n c i e n t laws. as, together, precious places. the the fundamental mysterious natural

gradually

accumulated find

experience. brown were olten learned

lor c o p p e r arid c o b a l t m i n e r a l s scarabs were already

blue dyes, I'.gypt. turned

or l i r e , c l a y tint s i m p l e encountered (iold and and

turquoise out

for the sacred I.ittle by that tliem and some and in

known

little m a n metals

for

example, lound

t i n , c o p p e r a n d z i n c ; in i t s t i m e t h i s s u g g e s t e d t o m a n t h e i d e a ol a l l o y i n g produ<ing other bronze, clay stones were together places, be: m a d e , feldspars, from which porcelain

faience can has,

in s t i l l c i t h e r disrovered stone, in

Man gold

thus, gradually philosopher's

l a w s of ol

geotheir

c h e m i s t r y . A n d I lie a l c h e m i s t s , w h o i n t h e M id d i e A g e s I rice I t o pr oclue e arid the. quiet

laboratories, natural lor e a c h of g a l e n a facts.

also

contributed

a

good

deal

to

the

accumulation

of

A l r e a d y the alchemists k n e w well that certain metals h a v e a n affinity other and are encountered together: thus sparkling with crystals silver are always accompanied while copper in the e a r t h by zinc-blende, arsenic. regularities the subparts mines

iollows gold, When became

is o f t e n f o u n d in Europe

together

mining

developed

the

gcochemieal

clearer and

m o r e distinct. T h e

fundamental

p r i n c i p l e s of

n e w s c i e n c e ol g e o c h e m i s t r y w e r e c o m i n g i n t o b e i n g i n t h e d e e p ol S a x o n y . S w e d e n a n d stances and were found and the find know are in what laws lorced t h e C a r p a t h i a n s ; it w a s a s c e r t a i n e d w h a t nature some together others. questions the large verv in mining, which and under what in elements to a c c u m u l a t e certain

conditions,

of t h e e a r t h These the iron. their We cipally mines

disperse in most

were to etc. we in

urgent where in to the lor

required metals— and these natural prin-

ability gold.

places that

industrially quantities.

important of

accumulated subject

Todav laws help

common minerals.

occurrence definite laws

elements that

behaviour know verv

and

prospecting

well Irom o u r o w n We also

dailv practice know that and

that

such

e l e m e n t s as n i t r o g e n , o x y g e n a n d in t h e a t m o s p h e r e . the salts ol with the chlorine,

the rare, n o b l e gases are f o u n d in s a l t - l a k e s iodine are found sodium,

o r i n salt together and

bromine

111 c o m b i n a t i o n calcium.

metals — potassium,

magnesium

In granites, these light crystalline rocks w h i c h h a v e resulted f r o m c o o l i n g o f m o l t e n m a g m a s , w e f i n d t h e i r ow n d e f i n i t e c h e m i c a l beryllium, important lithium and rare and lluorine. They also include and

the

elements. of

T h c v a r e c o n n e c t e d w i t h precious stones w h i c h c o n t a i n a t o m s of b o r o n , accumulations tantalum. have streamed chromium, systems magma and metals tungsten, niobium

l!nlike the granites, nickel, copper, which lead, the rises gold laws to and

in t h e h e a v y find platinum.

basalt rocks which In the complexly the prospector

o u t ot t h e e a r t h ' s i n t e r i o r w e iron a n d the

t o g e t h e r t h e m i n e r a l s of

ramified finds

ol l o d e s b r a n c h i n g o u t ol i m m e n s e u n d e r g r o u n d l a k e s o f m o l t e n earth's sui'l.ice and silver, were arsenic long mercury. more certain

zinc

1 he m o r e our science develops the clearer a n d which incomprehensible.

become

I'l

M e a n w h i l e , let us t a k e a look a t M e n d e l e y e v ' s P e r i o d i c T a b l e . D o n ' t y o u t h i n k it is t h e s a m e c o m p a s s f o r us s e a r c h e r s f o r stones a n d m e t a l s as it is for t h e c h e m i s t s ? T h e c e n t r e of M e n d e l e y e v ' s P e r i o d i c T a b l e is o c c u p i e d b y n i n e m e t a l s : i r o n , c o b a l t , nickel a n d six m e t a l s of t h e p l a t i n u m g r o u p . W e k n o w t h e i r d e p o s i t s lie d e e p in t h e e n t r a i l s of t h e e a r t h . If tall m o u n t a i n r a n g e s a r e e r o d e d o v e r m i l l i o n s of y e a r s a l m o s t t o t h e level of plains, as is t h e case in t h e U r a l s , t h e s e g r e e n P l u t o n i c rocks, t h e b e a r e r s of i r o n a n d p l a t i n u m , a r e l a i d b a r e . Y o u see t h a t t h e s e e l e m e n t s a r e n o t o n l y t h e f o u n d a t i o n of o u r m o u n t a i n r a n g e s , b u t t h a t t h e y also o c c u p y t h e c e n t r a l p l a c e in M e n d e l e y e v ' s Periodic Table. L e t us t u r n t o t h e m e t a l s w h i c h w e call h e a v y a n d w h i c h t a k e u p c o n s i d e r a b l e s p a c e to t h e r i g h t of nickel a n d p l a t i n u m . T h e s e a r c c o p p e r a n d zinc, silver a n d g o l d , l e a d a n d b i s m u t h , m e r c u r y a n d a r s e n i c . H a v e w e n o t j u s t said t h e s e m e t a l s w e r e a l w a y s e n c o u n t e r e d t o g e t h e r ? M i n e r s look f o r t h e m in lodes w h i c h c u t t h r o u g h t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t . N o w let us g o left of t h e c e n t r e of t h e t a b l e w h e r e w e o b s e r v e a s i m i l a r field. T h e s e a r e t h e f a m i l i a r m e t a l s w h i c h f o r m t h e p r e c i o u s stones, t h e c o m p o u n d s of b e r y l l i u m a n d l i t h i u m ; t h e y a r e t h e r a r e a n d u l t r a r a r e e l e m e n t s w h i c h a c c u m u l a t e in t h e o u t e r m o s t e x t r u s i o n s of g r a n i t e massifs, in l a r g e g r a n i t e p e g m a t i t e s . L e t us g o f a r t h e r left a n d r i g h t in o u r t a b l e . W e m u s t n o t f o r g e t , h o w e v e r , t h a t its l o n g r o w s close in in a c o m m o n s p i r a l a n d t h a t t h e e x t r e m e left a n d r i g h t g r o u p s a r e c o n t i g u o u s . H e r e w e see t h e v e r y f a m i l i a r e l e m e n t s of salt d e p o s i t s : salt-lakes, seas a n d o c e a n s , a n d e x t e n s i v e a c c u m u l a t i o n s of r o c k - s a l t . T h e s e a r e t h e e l e m e n t s t h a t f o r m t h e salts of c h l o r i n e , b r o m i n e , i o d i n e , s o d i u m , p o t a s s i u m a n d calcium. A n d n o w look c a r e f u l l y a t t h e t o p r i g h t - h a n d c o r n e r of t h e t a b l e ; h e r e y o u will find t h e c h i e f e l e m e n t s of t h e a t m o s p h e r e — n i t r o g e n , o x y g e n , hydrogen, helium a n d other noble gases; at the top left-hand corner you will see l i t h i u m , b e r y l l i u m a n d b o r o n . D o n ' t t h e y r e m i n d y o u of t h e v o l a t i l e p a r t s of t h e g r a n i t e massifs w h e r e t h e b e a u t i f u l p r e c i o u s s t o n e s — t h e p i n k a n d g r e e n t o u r m a l i n e s , t h e b r i g h t - g r e e n e m e r a l d s a n d violet k u n z i t e s a r e f o r m e d ? A s y o u see, M e n d e l e y e v ' s ' P e r i o d i c T a b l e itself s u g g e s t s t h e g r o u p s of e l e m e n t s e n c o u n t e r e d in n a t u r e a n d r e a l l y a n d t r u l y serves as a c o m p a s s f o r t h e s e a r c h of m i n e r a l s .

65

In order to confirm the regularities mentioned by an example let us recall the chief minerals found in the Urals. T h e Urals appears before us as an enormous Mendeleyev's Periodic Table spreading across the rocks. T h e axis of the range and of the table passes through the heavy green rocks of platinum deposits. Its extreme groups are in the salt zone of famous Solikamsk and in the regions of the Emba. Is it not a marvellous confirmation of the profoundest and most abstract ideas? I believe you have already guessed that in Mendeleyev's table the elements are not arranged fortuitously but according to the similarities of their properties. And the greater the similarities between the elements the closer to each other they are found in the Periodic Table.

Cliffs on t h e b a n k s of t h e C h u s o v a y a R i v e r (Sverdlovsk Region)

It is the same in nature. T h e signs showing various minerals on our geological maps have not been put there by mere accident, as it is no accident that osmium, iridium and platinum or antimony and arsenic are encountered in nature together. T h e same laws of similarity, of chemical affinity of the atoms determine the behaviour of the elements in the earth's entrails. T h e Periodic Table is really the most important instrument with the aid of which m a n discovers the resources of the earth's interior, finds useful metals and employs them in developing his economy and industry. Let us recall the distant past of the Urals. Heavy molten magmas consisting of dark, black and green Plutonic rocks rich in magnesium and iron rose from the interior of the earth. They received an admixture of chromium, titanium, cobalt and nickel ores; to these were added
66

t h e m e t a l s of t h e p l a t i n u m g r o u p — r u t h e n i u m , r h o d i u m , o s m i u m , i r i d i u m arid p l a t i n u m .

palladium,

T h u s b e g a n t h e first s t a g e in t h e h i s t o r y of t h e U r a l s , t h e d e e p l y i m b e d d e d c h a i n of d u n i t e a n d s e r p e n t i n e r o c k s t h a t f o r m t h e c e n t r a l f r a m e of t h e U r a l s R a n g e w h i c h s t r e t c h e s t o t h e A r c t i c islands in t h e N o r t h a n d is b u r i e d u n d e r t h e f e a t h e r - g r a s s s t e p p e s of K a z a k h s t a n i n t h e S o u t h . I n M e n d e l e y e v ' s P e r i o d i c T a b l e it is t h e c e n t r a l part. I n t h e p r o c e s s of s e p a r a t i o n of m e l t s t h e l i g h t e r v o l a t i l e s u b s t a n c e s a r e e v o l v e d , a n d i n t h e c o m p l e x c h a n g e of r o c k s w h i c h f o r m t h e p r e s e n t d a y U r a l s l i g h t - c o l o u r e d g r a n i t e s c r y s t a l l i z e d o u t in t h e i n t e r i o r a t t h e e n d of its v o l c a n i c activity- I t is t h e g r e y g r a n i t e so f a m i l i a r to all w h o live in t h e U r a l s , e s p e c i a l l y a l o n g its e a s t e r n slopes. W h i t e veins of p u r e q u a r t z p i e r c e t h e g r a n i t e a n d t h i c k p e g m a t i t e veins b r a n c h i n t o its e x t e r n a l s e c t i o n s a n d p e n e t r a t e i n t o t h e l a t e r a l rocks. T h e s e processes l e a d t o t h e a c c u m u l a t i o n of t h e v o l a t i l e e l e m e n t s b o r o n , fluorine, l i t h i u m a n d b e r y l l i u m a n d t h e r a r e e a r t h s a n d to t h e f o r m a t i o n of t h e p r e c i o u s s t o n e s a n d r a r e - m e t a l ores of t h e U r a l s . I n M e n d e l e y e v ' s p e r i o d i c s y s t e m it is t h e left field of the table.

B u t h o t s o l u t i o n s rose t o t h e s u r f a c e b o t h a t t h e s a m e t i m e a n d l a t e r . T h e y bore the low-melting, mobile a n d highly soluble c o m p o u n d s of z i n c , l e a d , c o p p e r , a n t i m o n y a n d a r s e n i c , a n d w i t h t h e m c a r r i e d silver a n d g o l d . T h e s e o r e d e p o s i t s r u n i n a l o n g c h a i n a l o n g t h e e a s t e r n slopes of the Urals, now forming large concentrations—lenses, now b r a n c h i n g lodes a n d c l u s t e r s of l o d e s . I n M e n d e l e y e v ' s P e r i o d i c T a b l e it is t h e r i g h t field of o r e e l e m e n t s . B u t t h e n t h e v o l c a n i c a c t i v i t y c a m e t o a n e n d a n d t h e pressures, w h i c h r a i s e d t h e U r a l s , s h i f t e d its r i d g e s f r o m E a s t t o W e s t a n d o p e n e d h e r e a n d t h e r e a n o u t l e t f o r v o l c a n i c r o c k a n d f o r t h e h o t w a t e r s of t h e veins, c e a s e d . T h e n a l e n g t h y p e r i o d of d e s t r u c t i o n b e g a n . F o r h u n d r e d s of m i l l i o n s of y e a r s t h e U r a l s M o u n t a i n s e r o d e d , t h e i r r o c k s b e i n g w e a t h e r e d a w a y . All t h a t w a s h a r d t o dissolve r e m a i n e d , t h e rest w a s dissolved a n d c a r r i e d a w a y b y w a t e r t o t h e seas a n d lakes. T h e G r e a t P e r m i a n S e a w h i c h w a s h e d t h e w e s t e r n s l o p e of t h e U r a l s a c c u m u l a t e d t h e s e s u b s t a n c e s . T h e sea b e g a n d r y i n g o u t ; b a y s , lakes a n d firths w e r e d e t a c h e d f r o m it a n d t h e salts s e t t l e d to t h e b o t t o m .
5 67

It was, t h u s , t h a t t h e salts of s o d i u m , p o t a s s i u m , m a g n e s i u m , c h l o r i n e , bromine, boron and rubidium accumulated. In Mendeleyev's Periodic T a b l e they occupy the u p p e r a n d t h e lefth a n d boxes. A n d o n l y w h a t d i d n o t yield t o t h e c h e m i c a l a c t i o n of w a t e r n o w r e m a i n s w h e r e o n c e t h e r e w e r e t h e m o u n t a i n p e a k s of t h e U r a l s . A c r u s t of d i s i n t e g r a t e d r o c k g r e w f o r scores of m i l l i o n s of y e a r s in t h e t r o p i c a l c l i m a t e of t h e M e s o z o i c e r a . A c c u m u l a t i n g i n this c r u s t i r o n , nickel, c h r o m i u m a n d c o b a l t f o r m e d t h e r i c h d e p o s i t s of b r o w n h e m a t i t e w h i c h l a i d t h e f o u n d a t i o n f o r t h e nickel i n d u s t r y in t h e S o u t h Urals. Q u a r t z d e p o s i t s a c c u m u l a t e d in t h e r e g i o n s of g r a n i t e d i s i n t e g r a t i o n . Gold, tungsten a n d precious stones were retained a n d c o n c e n t r a t e d i n t h e s e d e p o s i t s a n d in s a n d s . T h u s , t h e U r a l s g r a d u a l l y d i e d c o v e r i n g u p w i t h soil, a n d o n l y n o w a n d t h e n w a t e r s r u s h e d in f r o m t h e E a s t e r o d i n g its a l r e a d y o v e r g r o w n hills a n d d e p o s i t i n g m a n g a n e s e a n d i r o n o r e s a l o n g t h e s h o r e s . VVe find M e n d e l e y e v ' s P e r i o d i c T a b l e h i d d e n u n d e r t h e t a i g a of t h e p o l a r U r a l s a n d u n d e r t h e f e a t h e r - g r a s s s t e p p e s of K a z a k h s t a n . Soviet people are n o w discovering various elements of this table a n d a r e u t i l i z i n g t h e m for i n d u s t r i a l p u r p o s e s .

THE ATOM DISINTEGRATES. URANIUM AND RADIUM
T h e p r e c e d i n g c h a p t e r s t o l d us t h a t t h e a t o m , w h i c h in G r e e k m e a n s " i n d i v i s i b l e , " f o r m s t h e basis of t h e s c i e n c e of g e o c h e m i s t r y . All of t h e s u r r o u n d i n g n a t u r e is c o m p o s e d of a c o m b i n a t i o n of 101 v a r i e t i e s of a t o m s w h i c h c o r r e s p o n d t o 101 d i f f e r e n t e l e m e n t s . B u t w h a t is t h i s m i n u t e s t " i n d i v i s i b l e " p a r t i c l e of m a t t e r ? Is it r e a l l y " i n d i v i s i b l e " ? D o t h e 101 v a r i e t i e s of a t o m s a c t u a l l y exist i n d e p e n d e n t l y of e a c h o t h e r w i t h o u t d i s p l a y i n g a n y u n i t y of s t r u c t u r e ? T h e i d e a of the foundation quite explained f o r this r e a s o n to discover the e d it. t h e a t o m as a m a t e r i a l l y i n d i v i s i b l e g l o b u l e f o r m e d o f c h e m i s t r y a n d physics. T h e " i n d i v i s i b l e " a t o m t h e p h y s i c a l a n d c h e m i c a l p r o p e r t i e s of m a t t e r , a n d c h e m i s t s a n d physicists w e r e n o t p a r t i c u l a r l y a n x i o u s c o m p l e x s t r u c t u r e of t h e a t o m t h o u g h t h e y s u s p e c t -

A n d only w h e n the f a m o u s F r e n c h physicist Becquerel discovered i n 1896 t h e p h e n o m e n o n of s o m e invisible r a d i a t i o n b y u r a n i u m u n k n o w n u n t i l t h e n a n d t h e C u r i e s f o u n d t h e n e w e l e m e n t k n o w n as r a d i u m , i n w h i c h this p h e n o m e n o n w a s m u c h m o r e p r o n o u n c e d , it b e c a m e clear that the a t o m h a d a very complex structure. Now, after t h e b r i l l i a n t w o r k of M a r i e C u r i e - S k l o d o w s k a , t h e C u r i e - J o l i o t s , R u t h e r f o r d , R o z h d e s t v e n s k y , B o h r et al, t h e p i c t u r e of t h e a t o m ' s s t r u c t u r e is s u f f i c i e n t l y c l e a r . W e k n o w n o t o n l y t h e s i m p l e s t p a r t i c l e s of w h i c h t h e a t o m is c o m p o s e d , b u t also t h e i r sizes, w e i g h t s , m u t u a l l o c a t i o n a n d t h e forces t h a t b i n d t h e m . W e h a v e a l r e a d y s a i d t h a t t h e a t o m of e a c h c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t d e s p i t e its n e g l i g i b l e size (it h a s a d i a m e t e r of 0 . 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 c e n t i m e t r e ) r e p r e s e n t s a v e r y c o m p l e x s t r u c t u r e b u i l t like o u r s o l a r s y s t e m .
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T h e atom is composed of a nucleus (its diameter is o.ooooi that of the atom and corresponds to about 1' 12 cm) in which the bulk of the atom is concentrated. T h e nucleus of the atom carries a positive electric charge. T h e n u m b e r of the positive particles in the nucleus increases with the transition from the atoms of the light chemical elements to the heavy ones and corresponds numerically to the number of the box the element occupies in the Periodic Table. Electrons, each carrying a negative charge, revolve around the nucleus at various distances from it. T h e n u m b e r of electrons equals M a r i e C u r i e - S k l o d o w s k a in h e r P a r i s that of the positive charges on the laboratory nucleus, so that the atom as a whole is an electrically neutral structure. T h e nuclei of the atoms of all chemical elements are built of two simplest particles- a proton, or hydrogen atom nucleus, and a neutron. T h e proton lias a mass nearly equal to that of the hydrogen atom and carries one positive charge. T h e neutron is a material particle with a mass similar to that of the proton but without any electric charge. T h e protons and neutrons in the nuclei of atoms cohere so firmly that in all chemical reactions the nuclei of the atoms are perfectly stable and remain unchanged. If we gradually pass from the lighter to the heavier chemical elements in Mendeleyev's periodic system we will find that the nuclei of the atoms of the light elements are composed of an approximately equal n u m b e r of protons and neutrons (this is easy to see from the fact that the atomic weight of the elements in the beginning of the Periodic Table is either numerically equal or close to the doubled atomic n u m b e r of the element). With a transition to the heavier chemical elements the n u m b e r

of n e u t r o n s i n t h e n u c l e i of t h e a t o m s b e g i n s t o e x c e e d t h a t of t h e p r o t o n s . F i n a l l y , t h e n u m b e r of n e u t r o n s c o n s i d e r a b l y e x c e e d s t h a t of t h e p r o t o n s a n d t h e n u c l e i of t h e a t o m s b e c o m e u n s t a b l e . B e g i n n i n g w i t h t h e 81 st a t o m i c n u m b e r w e e n c o u n t e r u n s t a b l e , as well as s t a b l e , v a r i e t i e s of a t o m s of c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s . T h e n u c l e i of t h e a t o m s of t h e u n s t a b l e e l e m e n t s s p o n t a n e o u s l y d i s i n t e g r a t e l i b e r a t i n g l a r g e a m o u n t s of e n e r g y a n d c h a n g e t o a t o m s of o t h e r c h e m i c a l elements. F r o m a t o m i c n u m b e r 8 6 o n all n u c l e i of a t o m s of c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s represent unstable structures and the corresponding elements are radioactive. R a d i o a c t i v i t y is a p r o p e r t y of t h e a t o m t o d i s i n t e g r a t e s p o n t a n e o u s l y c h a n g i n g t o a t o m s of o t h e r e l e m e n t s w i t h a l i b e r a t i o n of l a r g e a m o u n t s of e n e r g y in t h e f o r m of d i f f e r e n t r a d i a t i o n s . T h e l a t t e r h a v e b e e n divided into three groups. T h e first is t h e a l p h a r a y s o r a s t r e a m of fast t r a v e l l i n g m a t e r i a l particles with a d o u b l e positive electric c h a r g e ; each a l p h a particle h a s a m a s s f o u r t i m e s t h a t of t h e h y d r o g e n a t o m a n d is a c t u a l l y a n u c l e u s of t h e h e l i u m a t o m . T h e s e c o n d is t h e b e t a r a y s o r a s t r e a m of e l e c t r o n s t r a v e l l i n g a t a n e n o r m o u s rate. E a c h electron carries one negative charge, the s m a l l e s t of t h e e x i s t i n g c h a r g e s , a n d h a s a m a s s 1/1,840 t h a t of t h e hydrogen atom. T h e t h i r d g r o u p is f o r m e d b y g a m m a r a y s w h i c h r e p r e s e n t a r a d i a t i o n resembling X-rays, but with a shorter wave-length. I f w e p u t a b o u t a g r a m of a r a d i u m salt i n t o a s m a l l glass t u b e , s o l d e r t h i s t u b e a n d w a t c h it, w e shall b e a b l e t o o b s e r v e all t h e principal p h e n o m e n a that attend radioactive disintegration. I n t h e first p l a c e , if w e use a n i n s t r u m e n t sensitive e n o u g h t o m e a s u r e slight d i f f e r e n c e s in t e m p e r a t u r e , w e s h a l l easily d i s c o v e r t h a t t h e t e m p e r a t u r e of t h e t u b e c o n t a i n i n g r a d i u m salt is s o m e w h a t h i g h e r t h a n t h a t of t h e e n v i r o n m e n t . Y o u g e t t h e i m p r e s s i o n t h e r e is a n e f f i c i e n t h e a t i n g d e v i c e h i d d e n i n t h e r a d i u m salt. O n t h e basis of this o b s e r v a t i o n w e c a n d r a w a n i m p o r t a n t c o n c l u s i o n t h a t r a d i o a c t i v e d i s i n t e g r a t i o n o r t h e process of b r e a k - u p of t h e a t o m i c n u c l e i is a t t e n d e d b y a c o n t i n u o u s p r o d u c t i o n of l a r g e a m o u n t s of e n e r g y . E x p e r i e n c e s h o w s t h a t i n " b r e a k i n g u p ' ' CM o n e g r a m of r a d i u m p r o d u c e s 140 s m a l l c a l o r i e s of h e a t p e r h o u r

7i

w h i l e in c h a n g i n g c o m p l e t e l y t o l e a d ( w h i c h t a k e s a b o u t 2 0 , 0 0 0 y e a r s ) it will p r o d u c e 2.9 m i l l i o n l a r g e c a l o r i e s of h e a t , i.e., as m u c h as is p r o d u c e d b y t h e b u r n i n g of h a l f a t o n of c o a l . N o w let us t a k e a s m a l l p u m p a n d p u m p t h e a i r o u t of containing radium into another tube from which the air was o u t b e f o r e h a n d . L e t us s o l d e r this n e w t u b e . W e will s o o n in t h e d a r k this t u b e e m i t s a g r e e n i s h - b l u i s h l i g h t j u s t like w i t h t h e r a d i u m salt. the tube pumped find t h a t the tube

T h i s s e c o n d a r y r a d i o a c t i v i t y is d u e to t h e a p p e a r a n c e of a n e w r a d i o a c t i v e s u b s t a n c e b o r n of r a d i u m . T h i s s u b s t a n c e is a gas. I t h a s been named radon (Rn). T h e a m o u n t of r a d o n in t h e t u b e i n c r e a s e s f o r a p e r i o d of f o r t v d a y s a f t e r w h i c h it b e c o m e s c o n s t a n t b e c a u s e t h e r a t e of d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of r a d o n t h e n e q u a l s t h e r a t e of its e m i s s i o n . W e c a n o b s e r v e r a d i o activity by holding the tubes u p to a c h a r g e d electroscope. R a d i o a c t i v e r a d i a t i o n ionizes t h e a i r m a k i n g it a c o n d u c t o r of e l e c t r i c i t y a n d t h e electroscope runs d o w n . If w e w a t c h t h e e f f e c t of t h e t u b e c o n t a i n i n g r a d o n o n a c h a r g e d e l e c t r o s c o p e d a y a f t e r d a y w e shall easily o b s e r v e t h a t in t h e c o u r s e of t i m e this e f f e c t w e a k e n s . W i t h i n 3 . 8 d a y s t h e e f f e c t will b e h a l f lost, a n d if t h e t u b e is b r o u g h t close to a c h a r g e d e l e c t r o s c o p e 4 0 d a y s l a t e r it will fail t o p r o d u c e a n y e f f e c t . B u t if w e pass a n e l e c t r i c d i s c h a r g e t h r o u g h o n e of t h e s e " m a t u r e " t u b e s a n d o b s e r v e t h e l u m i n e s c e n c e of this gas p r o d u c e d b y t h e d i s c h a r g e in a s p e c t r o s c o p e w e shall d i s c o v e r t h e a p p e a r a n c e of t h e s p e c t r u m of a n e w g a s — h e l i u m . F i n a l l y , if w e t h o r o u g h l y r e m o v e t h e r a d i u m salt f r o m t h e t u b e a f t e r k e e p i n g it in t h e l a t t e r f o r m a n y y e a r s a n d t h e n b y sensitive m e t h o d s of a n a l y s i s test t h e s u r f a c e of its i n n e r walls f o r t h e p r e s e n c e of f o r e i g n c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s w e will b e a b l e t o find m i n u t e s t t r a c e s of l e a d in t h e e m p t y tube. I n o n e y e a r t h e d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of t h e a t o m s of o n e g r a m of m e t a l l i c r a d i u m p r o d u c e s 4 . 0 0 X t o - 4 g r a m s of lead w i t h a m a s s n u m b e r of 2 0 6 a n d 172 c u b i c m i l l i m e t r e s of g a s e o u s h e l i u m . T h u s , r a d i o a c t i v e d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of r a d i u m results in o n e n e w r a d i o a c t i v e e l e m e n t a f t e r a n o t h e r w i t h t h e final f o r m a t i o n of n o n - r a d i o a c t i v e l e a d . A t this s t a g e t r a n s f o r m a t i o n ceases. R a d i u m is itself o n l y a n i n t e r m e d i a t e link i n a l o n g c h a i n of p r o d u c t s of u r a n i u m t r a n s f o r mation.
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T h e series of elements produced as a result of disintegration of radioactive elements is known as the radioactive series. All the nuclei of each radioactive element are unstable and are equally probable to disintegrate in a given period of time. Thus, a sufficiently large sample of radioactive substance containing many millions of atoms always disintegrates at the same constant rate regardless of any chemical or physical influences. It has been demonstrated that no external physical influences produce any effect on the decay of a radioactive substance, be it a temperature of liquid helium, which is close to absolute zero, or temperatures of several thousand degrees, pressures of several thousand atmospheres or high-voltage electric discharges. T h e rate at which a radioactive substance disintegrates, or is transformed, is usually expressed by the half-life period 7" or the time required for half the initially present atoms of the substance to disintegrate. This value is, apparently, characteristic of and constant for each variety of unstable atoms, i.e., for each given radioactive element. T h e half-life periods of radioactive elements vary very widely— from a fraction of a second for the most unstable atomic nuclei to thousands of millions of years for the slightly unstable elements which include, for example, uranium and thorium. Like its radioactive "parent" the "daughter" nucleus is frequently itself an unstable radioactive substance and decays further until a stable nucleus is formed after several successive generations of nuclei. Three such natural radioactive series or families are known today: the uranium-radium series beginning with the isotope of uranium with a mass number of 238, the uranium-actinium series beginning with another isotope of uranium with a mass of 235 and the thorium series. T h e nuclei of the atoms of lead isotopes with mass numbers of 206, 207 and 208 respectively are the stable and no longer disintegrating end-products of each of these series formed after ten to twelve successive transformations. In addition to lead the alpha particles, which have lost their kinetic energy and charge and have become atoms of helium, are stable products of transformations in each of the above radioactive series. During the incessant radioactive disintegration of the uranium, thorium and radium atoms on earth heat is continuously produced.
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If we calculate the amount of heat produced by all the aforesaid elements during their decay we shall find that, without the least suspecting it. we have long been using this heat because the latter noticeably heats our earth. It happens very similarly that the helium gas used in filling dirigibles and barrage balloons is formed by the radioactive decay of the atoms

t w o pictures ot a h u m a n h a n d : l e f t - i n t h e rays of r a d i u m , r i g h t - t a k e n with t h e aid of X-rays. M e t a l s a r e n o t t r a n s p a r e n t

of uranium, thorium and radium found in the earth. It has been computed that enormous amounts of helium gas constituting m a n y hundreds of millions of cubic metres have thus formed in the earth since its existence. T h e continuous disintegration of the atoms of uranium, thorium and radium contained in tlx- earth is of interest to us not only as a source of constant heat and of formation of industrial reserves of chemical elements, but also as a natural timepiece by which we can tell the time that has elapsed since the formation of any particular rock and of the very earth as a solid body. But how can we use the atoms of uranium, thorium and radium as a timepiece for telling geological time? Here is how. W e see that the rate at which disintegration of radioactive atoms takes place is
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not subject to any chemical or physical influences and remains strictly constant. O n the other hand, during radioactive decay stable and no longer changing atoms of the elements helium and lead are formed and, as time wears on, their amounts will increase more and more. Since we know the a m o u n t of helium and lead formed as a result of radioactive decay of the atoms of one g r a m of uranium or thorium in one year we determine the amount of uranium or thorium contained in a particular mineral and the a m o u n t of helium and lead in the same mineral, and by taking the ratio of helium to uranium and thorium, on the one hand, and the ratio of lead to uranium and thorium, on the other, we get the time in years that has passed since the moment this mineral was formed. As a matter of fact, when the mineral was formed it contained only atoms of uranium and thorium and had no atoms of helium or lead; then through the disintegration of the atoms of uranium and thorium atoms of helium and lead began to appear and gradually to accumulate in the mineral. A mineral containing atoms of uranium and thorium may be likened to a sand-glass, and you have probably all seen how it works. Let me remind you how it is made. It consists of two intercommunicating vessels one of which contains a certain amount of sand. As the sand-glass is put in operation it is fastened and the sand is allowed to pour slowly from the upper vessel into the lower by force of gravity.

D e s t r u c t i o n of n i t r o g e n nuclei u n d e r t h e action of a l p h a particles. L o n g - r a n g e are liberated

protons

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T h e a m o u n t ol" s a n d is u s u a l l y p u t i n t h e s a n d - g l a s s w i t h t h e i d e a t h a t it e m p t y i n t o t h e l o w e r vessel in a d e f i n i t e p e r i o d of t i m e , say, 10 o r 15 m i n u t e s . I n p r a c t i c e a s a n d - g l a s s is u s e d t o m e a s u r e c o n s t a n t p e r i o d s of t i m e t h o u g h it c o u l d b e u s e d to m e a s u r e a n y p e r i o d s of t i m e . F o r this w e w o u l d e i t h e r h a v e t o w e i g h t h e a m o u n t of s a n d o r t o m a r k off e q u a l v o l u m e s in t h e vessels a n d m e a s u r e t h e v o l u m e s of s a n d p o u r e d in. S i n c e s a n d flows a t a d e f i n i t e r a t e u n d e r t h e a c t i o n of g r a v i t y w e c a n d e t e r m i n e b y v o l u m e t h e a m o u n t of s a n d p o u r i n g f r o m t h e u p p e r vessel i n t o t h e l o w e r p e r m i n u t e a n d tell t h e n u m b e r of m i n u t e s t h a t h a v e e l a p s e d f r o m t h e t i m e w e p u t t h e s a n d - g l a s s in o p e r a t i o n b y t h e v o l u m e of s a n d w e find in t h e l o w e r vessel. S o m e t h i n g like this is h a p p e n i n g t o t h e m i n e r a l in w h i c h a t o m s of u r a n i u m a n d t h o r i u m a r e f o u n d . I t r e s e m b l e s t h e u p p e r vessel t h a t c o n t a i n s a c e r t a i n a m o u n t of s a n d , o n l y t h e p a r t of t h e s a n d g r a i n s is p l a y e d b y t h e a t o m s of u r a n i u m a n d t h o r i u m . T h e y a r e also t r a n s f o r m e d i n t o a t o m s of h e l i u m a n d l e a d a t a d e f i n i t e r a t e a n d , as is t h e case w i t h t h e s a n d - g l a s s , t h e a t o m s of d i s i n t e g r a t i o n a c c u m u l a t e in d i r e c t p r o p o r t i o n t o t h e t i m e t h a t h a s e l a p s e d since t h e e x i s t e n c e of t h e radioactive mineral. W e d e t e r m i n e t h e a m o u n t of r e m a i n i n g u r a n i u m b y d i r e c t a n a l y s i s a n d e s t i m a t e t h e n u m b e r of d i s i n t e g r a t e d a t o m s of u r a n i u m a n d t h o r i u m b y t h e a m o u n t of h e l i u m a n d l e a d t h a t h a v e f o r m e d f r o m t h e m . T h e s e d a t a m a k e it possible t o find t h e r a t i o of u r a n i u m to t h e a m o u n t of t h e l e a d a n d h e l i u m p r o d u c e d a n d , c o n s e q u e n t l y , to e s t i m a t e t h e t i m e d u r i n g w h i c h t h e d e c a y t o o k p l a c e . I n this m a n n e r scientists h a v e b e e n a b l e to d e t e r m i n e t h a t t h e r e a r e m i n e r a l s o n e a r t h since t h e f o r m a t i o n of w h i c h n e a r l y t w o t h o u s a n d m i l l i o n y e a r s h a v e p a s s e d . T h u s , w e n o w k n o w t h a t o u r e a r t h is a v e r y old o l d - l a d v a n d t h a t s h e is c o n s i d e r ably older than two thousand million years. T o c o n c l u d e this c h a p t e r I s h o u l d like t o tell y o u a b o u t o n e m o r e p h e n o m e n o n w h i c h w a s d i s c o v e r e d v e r y r e c e n t l y a n d w h i c h is p r o b a b l y d e s t i n e d t o p l a y a n i m p o r t a n t p a r t in t h e life of p e o p l e . W e h a v e seen t h a t b e g i n n i n g w i t h a t o m i c n u m b e r 81 in M e n d e l e y e v ' s p e r i o d i c s y s t e m t h e a t o m s of t h e h e a v y c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s h a v e n o t o n l y s t a b l e , b u t also u n s t a b l e n u c l e i , t h e l a t t e r possessing t h e p r o p e r t y of r a d i o a c t i v i t y . I t also t u r n s o u t t h a t t h e n u c l e u s of a n a t o m b e c o m e s u n s t a b l e if a c e r t a i n d e f i n i t e p r o p o r t i o n b e t w e e n t h e p r o t o n s a n d n e u t r o n s is g r e a t l y d i s t u r b e d . W i t h t h e n u m b e r of n e u t r o n s g r e a t l y
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e x c e e d i n g t h a t of t h e p r o t o n s i n t h e n u c l e u s t h e l a t t e r b e c o m e s stable.

un-

As soon as scientists n o t i c e d this p r o p e r t y of t h e n u c l e i of c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s t h e y f o u n d a m e a n s of a r t i f i c i a l l y c h a n g i n g t h e p r o p o r t i o n b e t w e e n the protons a n d neutrons in t h e nuclei a n d , thus, to t r a n s f o r m t h e s t a b l e v a r i e t i e s of a t o m i c n u c l e i i n t o u n s t a b l e o n e s a n d to m a k e c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s a r t i f i c i a l l y r a d i o a c t i v e a t t h e i r will. H o w c a n this be done? T o d o this w e h a v e to f i n d s o m e sort of p r o j e c t i l e n o t l a r g e r t h a n t h e n u c l e u s of t h e a t o m , i m p a r t a g r e a t d e a l of e n e r g y t o it a n d fire it i n t o t h e n u c l e u s of t h e a t o m . T h e alpha particles emitted by radioactive substances are just the p r o j e c t i l e s of a t o m i c size w i t h a v e r y g r e a t a m o u n t of e n e r g y . T h e y w e r e t h e first t o b e e m p l o y e d b y scientists f o r t h e p u r p o s e of a r t i f i c i a l l y b r e a k i n g u p t h e n u c l e u s of t h e a t o m . E r n e s t R u t h e r f o r d , f a m o u s British p h y s i c i s t , w a s t h e first t o s u c c e e d w i t h i t ; w h i l e a c t i n g o n t h e n u c l e i of n i t r o g e n a t o m s w i t h a l p h a r a y s i n 1919, h e d i s c o v e r e d t h a t these a t o m s emitted protons. F i f t e e n y e a r s l a t e r , in 1934, t h e y o u n g F r e n c h scientists. I r £ n e C u r i e J o l i o t a n d F r e d e r i c J o l i o t by a c t i n g on a l u m i n i u m with the a l p h a p a r t i c l e s of p o l o n i u m d i s c o v e r e d t h a t u n d e r t h e a c t i o n of t h e a l p h a rays a l u m i n i u m not only e m a n a t e d rays containing neutrons, but r e t a i n e d its r a d i o a c t i v e p r o p e r t i e s a n d c o n t i n u e d t o e m i t b e t a r a y s f o r s o m e t i m e a f t e r t h e e n d of i r r a d i a t i o n b y a l p h a p a r t i c l e s . By c h e m i c a l a n a l y s i s t h e J o l i o t - C u r i e s a s c e r t a i n e d t h a t it w a s n o t t h e a l u m i n i u m itself t h a t b e c a m e a r t i f i c i a l l y r a d i o a c t i v e b u t t h e p h o s p h o r u s a t o m s f o r m e d f r o m t h e a t o m s of a l u m i n i u m u n d e r t h e a c t i o n of t h e a l p h a p a r t i c l e s . T h u s , t h e first a r t i f i c i a l l y r a d i o a c t i v e e l e m e n t s w e r e o b t a i n e d a n d artificial radioactivity was discovered. After trying various methods t o o b t a i n a r t i f i c i a l l y r a d i o a c t i v e e l e m e n t s scientists soon b e g a n a c t i n g o n t h e n u c l e i of c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s b y n e u t r o n s i n s t e a d of a l p h a p a r t i c l e s s i n c e t h e f o r m e r p e n e t r a t e i n t o t h e a t o m i c n u c l e i m o r e easily t h a n t h e latter w h i c h h a v e a positive c h a r g e a n d are, therefore, repelled by t h e n u c l e u s as t h e y a p p r o a c h t h e a t o m . T h e s e r e p e l l i n g forces a r e so g r e a t in t h e n u c l e i of t h e a t o m s of t h e h e a v y c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s t h a t t h e e n e r g y of a l p h a p a r t i c l e s d o e s n o t suffice t o o v e r c o m e t h e m a n d t h e a l p h a p a r t i c l e s c a n n o t r e a c h t h e
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n u c l e u s of charge they t h e m . As a radioactive e l e m e n t s by

the a t o m . Since neutrons d o not carry any electric a r e n o t r e p e l l e d b y t h e n u c l e i a n d easily p e n e t r a t e i n t o m a t t e r of f a c t , it h a s b e e n possible t o o b t a i n a r t i f i c i a l l y u n s t a b l e v a r i e t i e s of a t o m i c n u c l e i f o r all t h e c h e m i c a l acting on these elements with neutrons.

I n 1939 it w a s d i s c o v e r e d t h a t w h e n u r a n i u m , t h e h e a v i e s t c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t , w a s a c t e d u p o n b y n e u t r o n s of l o w e n e r g y , t h e a t o m s of u r a n i u m s u f f e r e d A' n e w , f o r m e r l y u n k n o w n , t y p e of d i s i n t e g r a t i o n i n w h i c h t h e n u c l e u s of t h e a t o m split u p i n t o t w o a p p r o x i m a t e l y e q u a l h a l v e s . T h e s e h a l v e s a r e t h e m s e l v e s u n s t a b l e v a r i e t i e s of t h e a t o m i c n u c l e i of f a m i l i a r c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s f o u n d i n t h e m i d d l e of M e n deleyev's Periodic T a b l e . O n e y e a r l a t e r , i n 1940, K . P e t r z h a k a n d G . F l e r o v , y o u n g S o v i e t physicists, d i s c o v e r e d t h a t this n e w t y p e of d i s i n t e g r a t i o n o r n e w t y p e of r a d i o a c t i v i t y of u r a n i u m , also o c c u r r e d i n n a t u r e , b u t t h a t it w a s e n c o u n t e r e d m u c h m o r e r a r e l y t h a n t h e u s u a l d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of u r a n i u m . I f it t a k e s h a l f of all t h e a t o m s c o n t a i n e d b y u r a n i u m 4 , 5 0 0 m i l l i o n years to break u p in o r d i n a r y radioactive decay, disintegration by division of t h e a t o m s i n h a l v e s t a k e s 4 4 X 1 0 1 5 y e a r s . C o n s e q u e n t l y , this s e c o n d t y p e of d i s i n t e g r a t i o n o c c u r s t e n m i l l i o n t i m e s as slowly, b u t is a c c o m p a n i e d b y Neutron a m u c h g r e a t e r l i b e r a t i o n of e n e r g y t h a n t h e usual radioactive disintegration.
Barium Krypton

Uranium 255

A s scientists d e m o n s t r a t e d i n 1946, c e r t a i n s t a b l e n u c l e i of e l e m e n t s a r e f o r m e d i n t h e newt y p e of r a d i o a c t i v i t y of u r a n i u m as w e l l ; t h e s e continuously a c c u m u l a t e in n a t u r e along with the formation of unstable and further disintegrating nuclei. Whereas the usual radioactive disintegration is a t t e n d e d b y a f o r m a t i o n a n d g r a d u a l a c c u m u l a t i o n of t h e a t o m s of h e l i u m t h e n e w t y p e of r a d i o a c t i v i t y of u r a n i u m results i n t h e f o r m a t i o n a n d g r a d u a l c o n c e n t r a t i o n of t h e a t o m s of x e n o n o r k r y p t o n .

D e s t r u c t i o n of a uranium atom by a .slowneutron 7»

By b o m b a r d i n g t h e - i s o t o p e s of u r a n i u m it h a s b e e n possible t o o b t a i n a n u m b e r of n e w t r a n s u r a n i u m elements—neptunium with the atomic

n u m b e r of 93, p l u t o n i u m — 9 4 , a m e r i c i u m — 9 5 , c u r i u m — 9 6 , b e r kelium—97, californium—98, einsteinium—99, fermium—100 and m e n d e l e v i u m — 1 0 1 ; t h e y h a v e all f o u n d t h e i r p l a c e s i n M e n d e l e y e v ' s Periodic Table. T h e m o s t i n t e r e s t i n g , t h o u g h , is t h e f a c t t h a t b y this n e w t y p e of d i s i n t e g r a t i o n it h a s b e c o m e possible t o d i r e c t a n d a c c e l e r a t e o r s l o w it d o w n a t will. If this p r o c e s s b e g r e a t l y a c c e l e r a t e d a n d t h e a t o m s c o n t a i n e d i n o n e k i l o g r a m of u r a n i u m b e m a d e t o b r e a k u p in this m a n n e r a t o n c e t h e e n e r g y a n d h e a t l i b e r a t e d as a r e s u l t will e q u a l t h a t p r o d u c e d b y t h e c o m b u s t i o n of 2 , 0 0 0 t o n s of c o a l a n d a t r e m e n d o u s e x p l o s i o n will o c c u r . A f t e r , t h e e x p l o s i o n t h e f r a g m e n t s t h e m s e l v e s will seek n e w f o r m s of e q u i l i b r i u m u n t i l t h e y l i b e r a t e t h e s u r p l u s e n e r g y a n d c h a n g e t o m o r e s t a b l e a n d slowly d i s i n t e g r a t i n g a t o m s of d i f f e r e n t m e t a l s . T h e r e m a r k a b l e p a r t of this d i s c o v e r y is t h a t h u m a n e n g i n e e r i n g not only produces these stormy reactions which liberate t r e m e n d o u s e n e r g y , b u t c a n also i n f l u e n c e , r e t a r d o r a c c e l e r a t e t h e m a n d r e p l a c e t h e s t o r m y e x p l o s i o n s b y a s l o w e r a n d q u i e t e r l i b e r a t i o n of p o w e r f u l e n e r g y o v e r a p e r i o d of t h o u s a n d s of y e a r s . A n d t h e b r i l l i a n t t h o u g h t a b o u t n u c l e a r e n e r g y w h i c h w a s o n l y a r i s i n g a t t h e e n d of t h e 9 0 ' s i n t h e m i n d of P i e r r e C u r i e , w h o j o i n t l y w i t h his w i f e d i s c o v e r e d r a d i u m , t h e t h o u g h t t h a t o n l y f e w scientists d a r e d e x p r e s s o n t h e t h r e s h o l d of t h e n e w c e n t u r y , is n o w b e c o m i n g r e a l i t y . When in 1903 the scientists p a i n t e d a p i c t u r e of a h a p p y f u t u r e of h u m a n i t y possessing e n d l e s s r e s e r v e s of t h e e n e r g y it n e e d e d , this i d e a s e e m e d only a beautiful fantasy a n d did not find c o n f i r m a t i o n e i t h e r in r e a l f a c t s of n a t u r e o r in t h e a c h i e v e m e n t s of t h e e n g i n e e r i n g of t h e t i m e . A n d n o w this d r e a m is c o m i n g t r u e . Small wonder that uran i u m h a s lately b e c o m e
Neutron

Uranium 215

m,

Fragments of nucleus Nucleus in the process of division D i a g r a m of self-sustained chain nuclei of u r a n i u m a t o m s - 2 ^ reaction in the

79

the object of exceptional attention in all countries. Formerly it was only a waste product of radium production. T h e radium concerns in Belgium, Canada, the United States and other countries tried to find application for this by-product at large r a d i u m plants. But they could find no real use for it; it was low-priced and was utilized in dyeing porcelain and tile and in the production of cheap green glass. T h e situation has changed of late; having become the centre of attention it is now uranium and not radium that is being searched and prospected for. Even if it still requires a lot of effort to master this problem, even if this power is more expensive in the beginning than the power we get. from steam-boilers, grand opportunities for utilizing these practically eternal engines open up before humanity. M a n has a new form of energy more powerful than anything ever known before. T h e scientists the world over are now doing their best to master this great new force as soon as possible. It is a matter of regret that the warmongers are trying to utilize this energy primarily for destruction. But the forces that are capable of frustrating the plans of the handful of imperialists and of making this new power serve all of working huU r a n i u m r e a c t o r . T h i s is the n a m e given manity have already matured. to t h e d e v i c e in which the chain n u c l e a r In the Soviet Union atomic r e a c t i o n of u r a n i u m t a k e s place. It energy is already being used for is an e n o r m o u s t a n k filled with u r a n i u m a n d g r a p h i t e , which d e c e l e r a t e s the the production of electric power.
reaction. O n the o u t s i d e t h e r e a c t o r is surrounded by a substance which reflects n e u t r o n s 80

When the time comes that atomic energy is a commonplace

thing we shall have electric stations fitting in a suit-case, motors of several horse power the size of a pocket watch, jet propulsion with a reserve of energy lasting several years and planes capable of flying for months on end without refuelling. T h e age of atomic energy, the age of unprecedented might of man is in the offing. And in the light of the new ideas about the structure of the atom D. Mendeleyev's Periodic Law has retained its significance. Moreover, it will serve as the same guiding star in cognizing the intra-atomic phenomena as it has served in learning the chemical relations between the atoms.

We (7re beginning a m'w oge of uranium and (iforrnc : energy

85

THE ATOM AND TIME

It is hard to conceive a simpler and at the same time a more complex idea than lime. An old Finnish proverb says: " T h e r e is nothing more remarkable, more complex and more invincible in the world than time." Aristotle, one of the greatest philosophers of the ancient world, wrote, four centuries B.C.. that amid the unknown in surrounding nature the most unknown was time because nobody knew what time was nor how to control it. Kven at the early stages of culture man wondered about the beginning of time, about the end of tW world, about how surrounding nature was created, about the age ,of the earth, the planets and the stars and about how long the sun would shine in the sky. •According to ancient Persian legends the world has existed only i 2,000 years. T h e astrologers of Babylon who told fortunes by the stars believed the world was very old, that it was moi'f than two million years old, while the Bible taught it was onlv six thousand years since the will of God had created the world in six days and six nights. The greatest minds continued studving the problem of time for many thousands of vears, and the ancient legends and fantasies of astrologers were gradually replaced by exact methods of estimating the age of our earth. T h e astronomer Galileo was the first to attempt an estimate of the earth's age in 1615; he was followed by Lord Kelvin in i8b'J. T h e latter calculated the age of the earth on the basis of the theory of its cooling and arrived at a figure which appeared enormous at the time -lorty million years.

T h e n geological methods came into use. In Switzerland, Britain, Sweden, Russia and America geologists began estimating the time our earth required to form the sedimentary rocks which are over one hundred kilometres thick. It appears that rivers annually carry away at least 10 million tons of substance which they erode from the continents so that every 25,000 years our continents lose a layer of earth on the average one metre thick. Thus, by gradua'ly studying the activity of water and glaciers, the sediments on the earth and in the oceans and the striated glacial clays geologists have come to the conclusion that 40 million years could not cover the history of the earth's crust. In 1899 the British geophysicist Joly estimated the age of our earth at 300 million years. But these estimates did not satisfy either the physicists or the chemists or even the geologists themselves. T h e destruction of the continents did not at all proceed as regularly as Joly believed. T h e periods of sedimentation were followed by stormy explosions of volcanoes, earthquakes and rises of mountain ranges. T h e sediments already accumulated were melted and eroded. Joly's estimate did not satisfy the exact investigators who wanted to find a real timepiece to tell the time of the past, a reliable gauge to estimate the age of the earth's crust. And then chemists and physicists came to take the place of the geologists. They, finally, found a timepiece, a perpetual and eternal timepiece. This timepiece was not made by a skilled workman, it has no springs to make it run and does not need winding. This timepiece is the disintegrating atom of radioactive elements. We have already learned in the preceding essay that the whole world is filled with disintegrating atoms and that the atoms of uranium and thorium, radium and polonium, actinium and m a n y dozens of other elements break u p in the unnoticeable but great process. This disintegration proceeds at a constant rate and, as before stated, cannot be accelerated or slowed down either by high temperatures of thousands of degrees or by the lowest temperatures approximating absolute zero, or yet by enormous pressures. No usual means can alter this definite and invariable process of disintegration of certain atoms which takes place in nature. True, modern engineering has managed to find powerful means by which it is able to destroy and create atoms. But there are no such
6'

83

conditions in nature and the invariable rate of disintegration of the heavy elements is maintained for millions and thousands of millions of years. T h e atoms of uranium, radium and thorium break up and certain amounts of atoms of helium and stable, lifeless atoms of lead are simultaneously formed always and everywhere in the universe. These two natural elements—helium and lead—have created a new timepiece. And now, for the first time in h u m a n history, it has become possible to measure time by a real world standard of an eternal character. W h a t a striking picture which is at the same time so difficult of comprehension! Several hundred different atoms fill the universe with their complex electromagnetic systems. While radiating energy, they change by leaps from one form into another: some of the newly created systems are viable and are stubbornly preserved (the enormous length of the period of their transformations is, apparently, inaccessible to us); others exist thousands of millions of years slowly emitting energy and going through complex series of disintegration; still others live for years, days or hours; others yet exist seconds and even fractions of seconds. Obeying the laws which govern the transformation of atomic systems the elements fill nature, but time regulates their quantitative dispersion, time distributes them through the universe and creates the complexity of life on our earth and in the universe. Universal processes run slowly and eternally; the rapidly disintegrating heavy atoms die, others break up under the action of alpha particles, still other and stabler universal bricks are created, and non-radioactive elements, the end-products of disintegration, gradually accumulate. It has already been established that elements stable against alpha rays prevail in the sun; 90 per cent of the earth's surface consists of elements with an even number of electrons or a number divisible by four, i. e., precisely the elements most stable against the destructive action of gamma rays and cosmic rays. T h e stablest of these, simply and densely built, form our inorganic world; the less stable (as potassium and rubidium) take part in the vital processes and by their disintegration help the organisms to fight for their lives. T h e rapidly disintegrating elements (radon and radium) destroy this life by destroying themselves. In some stellar systems the process of disintegration is
«4

only developing, as is the case in the rather mature system of our sun: in other systems in stellar nebulae— it is only beginning; in still others- in the dark extinguished bodies—the fading processes of disintegration are now taking place infinitely slowly. Time determines the composition, nature and combination of elements in the course of cosmic history. Phvsicists and chemists have figured (nit that 1,000 grams ol uranium will vield 13 grams of lead and 2 grams of helium in 100 million years. In 2,000 million years the amount of lead will already reach 22;, grams, i.e., one quarter of the uranium will change to lead, and 35 grams of volatile helium will accumulate. But the process continues and in 4,000 million years there will be 400 grams of lead and (>o grams ol helium with only half, 500 grams, AGE OF T H E EARTH of the primary uranium remaining. Phases of Let us go on with our reasoning: mountain Million Periods formation years let us take 100,000 million years o Quaternary rather than only 4,000 million; Alpine by that time most of the uranium Tertian/ phase 50 will disintegrate and change to lead and helium. There will be hardly 100 Cretaceous any uranium left on earth; heavy atoms of lead will be dispersed everyJurassic 150 where in nature instead and the Triassic atmosphere will be enriched by200 Permian helium, the gas of the sun. ttera/nian And so on the basis of these data geochemists and geophysicists have recently drawn u p an absolute chronological scale of the geological evolution of the earth. This new timepiece tells us that the age of our planet probably exceeds 3 to 4 thousand million years, i.e., 3 to 4 thousand million years must have elapsed since the moment in cosmic history when the planets of our solar system including the earth were formed.
250

Carboniferous Devonian Silurian

phase

300

Caledonian phase

350

Orctovichian

<i50

Cambrian

500

^re-cambrian

Charnian phase

More than 2,000 million years separate us from the appearance of the earth's hard crust, this second most important moment in the history of the earth, the beginning of its geological history. At least 1,000 million years has passed since the beginning of life. T h e famous Cambrian blue clay found in the environs of Leningrad began to be deposited about 500 million years ago.

" T i m e p i e c e " m e a s u r i n g the a p e of the e a r t h . If w e t a k e the d u r a t i o n of t h e e a r t h ' s history f r o m the b e g i n n i n g of the m o s t a n c i e n t a r c h a i c e r a to our clays as 24 h o u r s a n d c o r r e s p o n d i n g l y r e d u c e the d u r a t i o n of all eras e s t i m a t e d by the r a d i o a c t i v e process, our t i m e p i e c e will s h o w s e v e n t e e n h o u r s for the p r e - C a m b r i a n e r a , f o u r h o u r s for t h e P a l e o z o i c era, t w o h o u r s f o r the M e s o z o i c e r a a n d o n e h o u r for the C a i n o z o i c e r a . M a n a p p e a r s only five minutes before midnight

During the first epoch, i.e., three-fourths of the entire geological history of the earth, molten masses repeatedly broke out of the interior to the surface and disturbed the calm of the first, still thin, but hard shell of the earth. T h e molten masses poured out on to its surface,

impregnated it with their hot breath and solutions, bent and lifted it in the form of mountains. O u r geochemists and geologists have already found the oldest mountain ranges on earth (Belomorids in Karelia and the oldest granites in the state of Manitoba, Canada). These ranges are about 1,700,000,000 years old.* Then the long history of the development of the organic world began. T h e diagram on page 86 shows the duration of each geological epoch. About 500 million years ago the mighty ranges of Caledonia rose in the north of Europe; the ranges of the Urals and Tien Shan were formed 200 to 300 million years ago; the formation of the Alps lasted about 25 to 50 million years, while the last paroxysms of the Caucasian volcanoes were being extinguished and the mountain peaks of the Himalayas were rising. Then came prehistoric time; the glacial epochs began one million years ago; the first m a n appeared 800,000 years ago; the last glacial epoch ended 25,000 years ago; the Egyptian and Babylonian cultures began 10,000 to 8,000 years ago; bur chronology started 1,958 years ago. It will be many more years before scientists accurately verify their remarkable timepiece. But the method has been found. O n e of the riddles of time has been solved and there can be 110 d o u b t - t h a t the chemist will soon be able to tell the age of each individual sample of stone, will be able to determine the time that has elapsed since it was formed. Mr. Chemist, we no longer believe your atoms are invariable; everything is fluid, everything changes, everything disintegrates and is recreated, one tiling dies and another comes into being; such is the history of the world's chemical processes in time. But man has been able to transform even the death of the atom into an instrument of cognizing the world and into a standard measure of time.
* S o m e A m e r i c a n a u t h o r s e s t i m a t e t h e a g e of t h e M a n i t o b a g r a n i t e s at 3,100 million years, b u t Soviet scientists consider these figures e x a g g e r a t e d . Ed.

"v? ^

P

A

R

T

T

W

O

CHEMICAL ELEMENTS IN N A T U R E

SILICON—BASIS OF THE EARTH'S CRUST
O n e of Zhukovsky's ballads tells us about a foreigner who came to Amsterdam and to his questions about who owned the stores, the houses, the ships and the lands received the invariable answer: " Kan met verstaan." " H o w rich he must b e , " the foreigner thought envying the man, unawares that in D u t c h these words m e a n t " I cannot understand." I recall this story whenever I a m told about quartz. I am shown most diverse objects: a transparent sphere glittering in the sun with the clearness of cold spring water, a beautiful agate of a variegated

Sf|

28.06

D r u s e of r o c k crystal, t h e p u r e s t a n d m o s t t r a n s p a r e n t v a r i e t y of

quartz 91

pattern, a multi-coloured sparkling opal, pure sand on the seashore, a thread of molten quartz as thin as a silk fibre, or fireproof pottery made of the same quartz, beautifully faceted piles of rock crystal, a mysterious pattern of fantastic jasper, a petrified tree turned into Hint, a crudely formed arrow-head of primitive m a n ; and whatever my question I am told: all this is made of quartz or of minerals with a very similar composition. It is all the same chemical compound of silicon and oxygen. Si is the symbol for silicon, the second most a b u n d a n t element in nature (oxygen is the first). It never occurs in the free state; it always forms a compound with oxygen—Si0 2 , which is known as silica, or silicon dioxide.

SILICON AND

SILICA

Granite contains about 80 per cent silica or 40 per cent silicon. Most hard rocks are built of its compounds. T h e porphyry of the mausoleum in Red Square, the beautiful granites in the revetment of the Moskva Hotel and the dark-blue sparkling labradorite feeing the ground floor of some houses in Dzerzhinsky Street in Moscow, in a word, all the hard and strong rock of the earth is composed of more than one-third silicon. Silicon is the chief constituent of ordinary clay. T h e common sand found on river banks, the sandstones and shales are essentially also silicon. No wonder, therefore, that about 30 per cent by weight of the entire earth's crust consists of this element and that down to the depth of 16 kilometres about 65 per cent of the crust is formed of its main compound with oxygen which chemists call silica or SiO, and which we most frequently refer to as quartz. We know more than two hundred different varieties of natural silica, while mineralogists and geologists use more than one hundred different names when enumerating various kinds of this most important mineral. We speak of silicon dioxide when we n a m e flint, quartz, rock crystal and mean the same when we admire the beauty of violet amethyst, of variegated opal or red sard, black onyx or grey chalcedony; it also includes the beautiful varieties of jasper, whetstone and ordinary
92

sand. Most diverse names are given to the individual varieties and it probably requires a whole science to make out the compounds of this remarkable element. But in nature we even encounter many more compounds in which our silica is combined with oxides of other metals and, thus, gives rise to thousands of new mineral varieties called silicates. M a n makes use of these in his construction and in general economy; the most important of them are clays and feldspars used in the manufacture of various kinds of glass, porcelain and pottery; they are used in the production of window-panes, cut-glass and Natural pillars-individual strucconcrete, which is as strong as a r m o u r tures of volcanic rock-basalt. and which forms one of the chief R o v n o Region, U k r a i n i a n S.S.R, materials in the construction of highways, bridges and reinforced concrete flooring and roofing of plants and factories, theatres, houses, etc. Is there anything in the world that can compare in strength and diversity of its properties with silicon and its compounds in the hands of m a n ?
SILICON IN ANIMALS AND PLANTS

But even long before ingenious m a n learned to use silicon dioxide for his needs nature had made extensive use of it in the life of plants and animals. Wherever it was necessary to build a strong stalk or a firm straw of an ear the content of silica increased, and we know what a great deal of it is contained in the ash of ordinary straw and especially in the strong stems of such plants as horse-tail which grew in the distant geological carboniferous epochs rising from marshy lowlands for dozens of metres like the bamboo tubes rich in silica now rise in the gardens of Sukhumi a n d Batumi. I n these plants nature was able to combine
IOO

the law of mechanical strength with the strength of the material itself. But the strength of the stem is of enormous practical importance not only to the ears of cereals, which it prevents from falling under the blows of wind or rain, but also to other plants. Flowers and decorative plants are transported by planes every d a y ; in order to prevent the flowers from crumpling and to keep their stems intact it is necessary to add readily soluble silicon salts to their soil. T h e plants absorb silica with water and their stems grow strong and durable. But it is not only the stems that need the strength of silicon and its compounds. T h e minutest plants, diatomaceous seaweeds build their skeletons from silica, and we now know that one cubic centimetre of rock formed from the testae of these seaweeds requires about 5,000,000 of these small R a d i o l a r i a . P s e u d o p o d i a of t h e livorganisms. Particularly remarkable are ing cell p r o t r u d e f r o m t h e o p e n i n g s the structures in which silica is used by in t h e e l e g a n t flint skeleton animals to build their skeletons. Animals found various solutions for the problem of strength in the different epochs of the development of life. I n some cases they protected their bodies with an external calcareous shell; in others they built this shell from calcium phosphate; in still other cases a h a r d skeleton instead of the shell formed the foundation of the animal, this skeleton being made of most diverse but strong materials. Sometimes these were calcium phosphates like the substance of which our bones are built; sometimes they were fine, delicate needles of b a r i u m a n d strontium sulphates; finally, some groups of animals m a d e use of
IOO

Flint skeleton of a " g l a s s " sponge a b o u t 50 cm. long

strong silica of which they built their structures. Thus, the families of radiolarians constructed their delicate skeletons from fine silicious needles. Some sponges also form their hard parts from silicious needles— spiculae. Nature contrives to use silica in hundreds of different ways to give the soft, changeable cells firm support.

WHY ARE SILICIOUS C O M P O U N D S SO

STRONG?

O u r scientists have been trying for some time to solve the riddle of the remarkable strength that silicon imparts to the skeletons of animals and plants, to thousands of minerals and rocks, and to the finest industrial commodities. And when the eyes of our roentgenologists penetrated into the interior of silicious compounds they beheld remarkable pictures that revealed the reason for their strength and the riddle of their structure. It appears that silicon contained in them is in the form of charged atoms—ions 0.000,000,004 cm. in size. These small charged globules are united with similar but larger charged globules of oxygen. As a result, four globules of oxygen, touching each other, very closely
IOO

We two form thousands of structures

arrange themselves around each of these silicon globules and form a special geometrical figure which we call a tetrahedron. T h e tetrahedrons combine with each other according to different laws and give rise to large and complex structures which it is hard to compress or bend and in which it is uncommonly difficult to break an atom of oxygen away from the central atom of silicon. Modern science has found that Arrangement of atoms of silicon these tetrahedrons may form thou(white balls) and oxygen (black) in sands of combinations. a cry stal of quartz. T h e atoms of oxygen always bind the a t o m s of silicon. O t h e r charged particles someI ' r a m c structure times arrange themselves among them; in some cases our tetrahedrons combine into separate bands or films forming clays and talcs, but combinations of tetrahedrons are always the basis of their structures. And as carbon and hydrogen form hundreds of thousands of different compounds in organic chemistry, silicon and oxygen form thousands of structures in inorganic chemistry; the complexity of these structures has been revealed by X-rays. Silica is not only difficult to destroy mechanically; it is not only so hard that a sharp steel knife cannot cut into the compound, but it is also stable chemically because not a single acid except hydrofluoric acid can destroy or dissolve it and only a very strong alkali dissolves silica* transforming it into new compounds. It is very hard to melt and begins to pass into the liquid state only at 1,600 to i ,700° C. No wonder, therefore, that silicon and its various compounds form the basis of inorganic chemistry. In our time a whole science of chem-

* S i l i c a is e a s i l y f u s e d w i t h s o d a ; in t h i s c a s e t h e c a r b o n d i o x i d e of" t h e s o d a is v e r v v i o l e n t l y l i b e r a t e d a n d a t r a n s p a r e n t g l o b u l e o f s o d i u m s i l i c a t e , w h i c h d i s s o l v e s in w a t e r , is f o r m e d . T h i s is w h y w e c a l l it s o l u b l e g l a s s .

96

istry of silicon has come into being, and the paths of geology, mineralogy, engineering and construction are interlaced with the history of this element at each step.

HISTORY OF SILICON IN THE EARTH'S CRUST

Let us now take several examples in order to trace the fate of silicon in the earth's crust. With metals it forms the basis of the molten magma in the interior of the earth's crust. When this molten m a g m a hardens in the interior forming crystalline rock—granites and gabbro, or pours out to the surface in the form of lava streams, basalt and other rock, complicated compounds of silicon, called silicates, are formed. If there is a surplus of silicon pure quartz makes its appearance. Here they are, the short crystals of quartz in granite porphyries or the dense smoky crystals in pegmatite veins, the last remnants of the melts of this earth's interior. If you carefully bake a piece of this "smoky topaz"* in bread or heat it to 300 or 400 3 C. you will get "golden topaz" with which you can make a bead or a brooch. Here are quartz veins with white compact quartz. We know that some of them are hundreds of kilometres long. Immense quartz veins stand out like beacons on the slopes of the Urals. Veins with cavities filled with transparent rock crystal stretch for many hundreds of kilometres here. These are the pure transparent varieties of quartz described by the Greek philosopher Aristotle who gave them the name "crystal" and who connected the origin of rock crystal with petrified ice. This is the rock crystal which as far back as the 17th century was mined in the natural "cellars" of the Swiss Alps with individual cavities yielding u p to 500 tons, i.e., u p to 30 carloads, of rock crystal. Individual crystals are sometimes enormously large. A crystal of rock crystal 8 metres in circumference was found on Madagascar. T h e Japanese turned an immense sphere more than one metre in diameter and weighing nearly 1.5 tons from Burmese transparent rock crystal.
* T h e n a m e d o e s n o t q u i t e fit s i n c e i n c o m p o s i t i o n " s m o k y t o p a z " is m e r e l y a q u a r t z ( S i O , ) a n d n o t a r e a l t o p a z w h o s e c o m p o s i t i o n is m o r e c o m p l e x ; it i n c l u d e s s i l i c o n , a l u m i n i u m a n d fluorine w i t h o x y g e n — A l 2 F 2 ( S i 0 4 ) . IOO

Another type of silica, which externally in no way resembles the variety we have just discussed, is precipitated from molten lava when hot silicaladen steams deposit immense masses of silicious nodules and geodes ih separate veins or gas cavities. And as the rock disintegrates into clay gruss enormous balls u p to one metre in diameter roll, as it were, out of it. I n the State of Oregon (U.S.A.) they are known by the n a m e of "giant eggs." T h e y are broken u p into pieces and then sawed u p into thin plates to produce beautiful laminated R e m a i n s of q u a r t z v e i n s p r e s e r v e d agates, i. e., raw material for the as t h e m o s t d u r a b l e p a r t s of the " r u b i e s " of watches and other preearth's crust during weathering. cision instruments, for the knife-edges H e i g h t 30 m e t r e s of balances and for mortars used in chemical laboratories. Even after the cessation of volcanic activity, silica is sometimes brought out to the earth's surface by hot springs due to the presence of cooling extruded masses. Such, for example, is the origin of the "base o p a l " deposited by geysers in Iceland and in Yellowstone National Park in the U.S.A. Let us take a look at the snow-white sands of the dunes on the coast of the Baltic and of the northern seas and at the millions of square kilometres of sandy deserts in Central Asia and Kazakhstan; it is sand that determines the nature of sea coasts and deserts: quartz sand now with a red film of ferric oxide, now with a prevalence of black flint and now pure white, cleaned by the sea-waves. And here are fancy wares made of rock crystal. With the aid of various scrapers and emery powder a skilful Chinese craftsman has m a d e fantastic articles from quartz crystals. Wonder how many decades he spent on turning this little vase or on making this monstrous dragon, or on hollowing out this little bottle for rose oil?
IOO

D e p o s i t s of g e y s e r i t e - b a s e o p a l - f o r m t e r r a c e s of silicious tuff

There is an agate plate dyed different colours. Ingenious m a n has learned to impregnate it with different solutions, thus changing the grey, unattractive agate into brightly coloured plates to be used in the manufacture of various wares. But here we see even more wonderful pictures: entire petrified forests in Arizona, stone tree-trunks of pure silica- agate in the Western regions of the Ukraine and amid the Permian deposits on the Western slopes of the South Urals. Here is a sparkling stone resembling the light in a cat's or a tiger's eye. Here we have mysterious crystals inside which we see, " p h a n t o m like," what appears to be other crystals of the same quartz. And here reddish-yellow sharp needles—"Cupid's Arrows"—of the mineral rutile pierce rock crystal in every direction. Here is golden felt— "Venus' H a i r . " Here we see a remarkable stone with a cavity inside nearly completely filled with water. T h e water plays and sparkles inside the silicious shell.
IOO

Here we have an incredibly tortuous tube, a result of the action of lightning on quartz sand, alloyed fulgurites, "arrows from the sky" or "thunderbolts" as the people call them. And there are stones from the sky. Singular meteorites of green or brown glass rich in silica are found in various sections of the vast zone which stretches across Australia, IndoChina and the Philippines. T o think of the controversies these mysterious formations gave rise to! Sea sand of fine crystalline grains Some thought these were remains of of quartz. T h e purest sand is used molten glass of ancient m a n ; others for the m a n u f a c t u r e of q u a r t z believed them to be molten particles glass of terrestrial dust; still others considered them to be products of sands which melted when masses of meteor iron fell into t h e m ; but most scientists are inclined to believe they are real particles from other worlds.

FLINT AND QUARTZ IN THE HISTORY OF AND ENGINEERING

CULTURE

I n the preceding pages I tried to paint for the reader a picture of the complex history of quartz, silica and their varieties. From the hot molten materials to the cold surface of the earth, from the cosmic regions to the sand that is strewn on our icy sidewalks, we encounter silicon and silica everywhere; we find quartz all over as one of the most remarkable and most a b u n d a n t minerals in the world. I could finish my story of quartz right here, but I want to tell you about the tremendous importance of quartz in the history of culture and engineering. It is no mere accident that primitive m a n m a d e his first tools from flint or jasper. It is not without reason that the earliest decorations in the ancient Egyptian structures a n d in the remains of the Shumerian Culture in Mesopotamia were m a d e preIOO

cisely from quartz. It is not in vain that as early as 12 centuries B. C. the peoples of the East learned to melt sand with soda and produce glass. Rock crystal found most extensive application with the Persians, Arabs, Indians and Egyptians, and we have information that quartz was processed five and a half thousand years before our time. For many centuries the ancient Greeks believed rock crystal to be petrified ice turned into stone by divine providence. M a n y fantastic stories are connected with this stone. Enormous importance was attached to it in biblical legends. In the construction of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem this mineral played a very important part under different names: agate, amethyst, chalcedony, onyx, sard, etc. T h e first industry for processing this stone was organized in the middle of the 15th century. M a n learned to cut, grind, colour and widely utilize it for decorative purposes. But this was all individual attempts of handicraftsmen and was not done on a mass scale until the new engineering made greater demands on it. Rock crystal is now extensively used in industry and in radio-engineering where supersonic waves are picked u p and transformed into electric oscilla-

Crystal c h a n d e l i e r s at t h e S t a t e P h i l h a r m o n i c Society in L e n i n g r a d

lot

tions b y m e a n s of p i e z o q u a r t z plates. R o c k crystal h a s b e c o m e o n e of t h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t f o r m s of r a w material for our industry. I n addition to t h e flute t u r n e d f r o m rock crystal (Vienna Art Museum) and the transparent samovar ( A r m o u r y M u s e u m in M o s cow) we n o w h a v e small q u a r t z plates for the r a d i o ; these small plates are res p o n s i b l e f o r t h e success of o n e of t h e g r e a t e s t discoveries of man—longdistance transmission of electromagnetic waves. B u t q u a r t z , i.e., p u r e rock
E v e r y t h i n g in this p i c t u r e is m a d e of q u a r t , glass
m a d e

c r v s t a l , will s o o n b e
,jy
c h e m i s t s

Crystals

of this m i n e r a l — s m a l l p u r e plates for t h e r a d i o a n d , m a y b e , for o u r w i n d o w - p a n e s a n d crockery will b e g r o w n o n fine silver w i r e a t a h i g h t e m p e r a t u r e a n d u n d e r g r e a t p r e s s u r e i n l a r g e a i r t i g h t vessels filled w i t h l i q u i d glass. T h e n t h e l i f e - g i v i n g u l t r a - v i o l e t r a y s of t h e s u n , r e t a i n e d b y o r d i n a r y w i n d o w - p a n e s , will fill o u r r o o m s . W e s h a l l h a v e c r o c k e r y m a d e of m o l t e n q u a r t z a n d shall b e a b l e t o d i p i n c o l d w a t e r q u a r t z c u p s , h e a t e d o n a stove, w i t h o u t a n y m i s g i v i n g . M o s t d e l i c a t e f a b r i c s will b e w o v e n f r o m v e r y f i n e q u a r t z t h r e a d s , so fine in f a c t t h a t five h u n d r e d of t h e m p u t t o g e t h e r will b e n o t h i c k e r t h a n a m a t c h s t i c k ; a n d silica will b e t h e m a t e r i a l n o t o n l y f o r b u i l d i n g t h e skeletons of t h e m i n u t e s t r a d i o l a r i a n s , b u t also f o r t h e c l o t h e s of m a n . R o c k c r y s t a l h a s b e c o m e t h e basis of n e w e n g i n e e r i n g ; n o t o n l y t h e g e o c h e m i s t uses it as a t h e r m o m e t e r f o r t a k i n g t h e t e m p e r a t u r e
10a

of t h e t e r r e s t r i a l p r o c e s s e s , * a n d n o t o n l y t h e physicist d e t e r m i n e s t h e l e n g t h of e l e c t r o m a g n e t i c w a v e s w i t h t h e a i d of q u a r t z ; q u a r t z o f f e r s n e w a n d t e m p t i n g p r o s p e c t s i n v a r i o u s b r a n c h e s of i n d u s t r y a n d will s o o n f o r m p a r t a n d p a r c e l of o u r d a y - t o - d a y life. T h e m o r e p e r s i s t e n t l y c h e m i s t s a n d physicists m a s t e r t h e a t o m s of silicon t h e s o o n e r t h e y will w r i t e o n e of t h e m o s t r e m a r k a b l e p a g e s i n t h e h i s t o r y of s c i e n c e a n d e n g i n e e r i n g , as well as i n t h e h i s t o r y of t h e e a r t h itself.

* ] f r o c k c r y s t a l c r y s t a l l i z e s a t a t e m p e r a t u r e a b o v e 5 7 5 ° C . it f o r m s c r y s t a l s of a s p e c i a l a p p e a r a n c e , i.e., h e x a g o n a l d i p y r a m i d s . If it f o r m s f r o m s o l u t i o n s a t t e m p e r a t u r e s b e l o w 5 7 5 ° C . t h e s h a p e of its c r y s t a l s is d i f f e r e n t ; t h e c r y s t a l s a r c e l o n g a t e d in t h e f o r m of h e x a g o n a l p r i s m s . — Ed.

CARBON—BASIS OF ALL LIFE

c

6

12.010

Is t h e r e a n y o n e w h o h a s n e v e r seen a p r e c i o u s i r i d e s c e n t d i a m o n d , o r g r e y g r a p h i t e , o r o r d i n a r y b l a c k c o a l ? All t h e s e a r e o n l y d i f f e r e n t f o r m s i n w h i c h t h e s a m e e l e m e n t — c a r b o n — i s f o u n d in n a t u r e . T h e r e is r e l a t i v e l y little c a r b o n 011 e a r t h ; its a m o u n t c o n s t i t u t e s o n e p e r c e n t of t h e w e i g h t of t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t , b u t it p l a y s a n e n o r m o u s r o l e i n t h e c h e m i s t r y of t h e e a r t h : w i t h o u t it life w o u l d b e i m possible. T h e t o t a l a m o u n t of c a r b o n i n t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t is 4 , 5 8 4 , 2 0 0 , 0 0 0 m i l l i o n tons. C a r b o n is d i s t r i b u t e d t h r o u g h t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t as follows:
In In In In In In In living substance . 700,000 soils 400,000 peat 1,200,000 b r o w n coal 2,100,000 coal 3,200,000 anthracite 600.000 s e d i m e n t a r y rocks . . . 4,576.000,000 million million million million million million million tons tons tons tons tons tons tons

W e m u s t a d d t o this 2 , 2 0 0 , 0 0 0 m i l l i o n t o n s in t h e a t m o s p h e r e a n d 184,000,000 m i l l i o n t o n s i n t h e w a t e r of t h e o c e a n s . L e t us look i n t o t h e h i s t o r y of c a r b o n , t h e e l e m e n t of w h i c h l i v i n g m a t t e r is b u i l t a n d w h i c h is s t u d i e d b y a s p e c i a l b r a n c h of c h e m i s t r y . A g o o d d e a l of its m i g r a t i o n t h r o u g h t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t is still m y s t e r i o u s and vague. A t t h e earliest stages of its e x i s t e n c e a c c e s s i b l e to o u r r e s e a r c h w e e n c o u n t e r this e l e m e n t i n m o l t e n m a g m a s . I t f o r m s p a r t of d i f f e r e n t r o c k s w h i c h h a v e h a r d e n e d in t h e i n t e r i o r a n d in t h e v e i n s of m o l t e n
104

V e g e t a t i o n of t h e C a r b o n i f e r o u s p e r i o d , f r o m which coal w a s f o r m e d

m a s s e s n o w i n t h e f o r m of little l e a v e s o r g l o b u l a r clusters of g r a p h i t e ancl n o w i n t h e s h a p e of c r y s t a l s of p r e c i o u s d i a m o n d s . B u t t h e m o s t of t h e c a r b o n e s c a p e s t h e h a r d e n i n g massifs; it rises a l o n g veins as v o l a t i l e h y d r o c a r b o n s a n d c a r b i d e s a n d p r o d u c e s a c c u m u l a t i o n s of g r a p h i t e (for e x a m p l e , o n C e y l o n ) o r c o m b i n e s w i t h o x y g e n a n d r u s h e s u p w a r d in t h e f o r m of c a r b o n d i o x i d e . W e k n o w t h a t in t h e i n t e r i o r t h e o m n i p o t e n t silicon d i o x i d e p r e v e n t s this gas f r o m f o r m i n g s a l t s ; as a m a t t e r of f a c t w e d o n o t k n o w a single m o r e o r less i m p o r t a n t m i n e r a l c o n t a i n i n g c a r b o n d i o x i d e i n i g n e o u s r o c k . B u t t h e s a m e r o c k s r e t a i n it m e c h a n i c a l l y in t h e i r cavities ( j u s t as t h e y r e t a i n e d s o l u t i o n s o f c h l o r i n e salts), a n d t h e s e gas i n c l u s i o n s a c c u m u l a t e 5 t o 6 t i m e s as m u c h c a r b o n d i o x i d e as w e h a v e in o u r atmosphere. I n t h e r e g i o n s of v o l c a n o e s , n o t o n l y a c t i v e b u t a l r e a d y l o n g e x t i n c t , this g a s b r o k e o u t i n t o t h e a t m o s p h e r e as e a r l y as t h e t e r t i a r y period, n o w collecting in separate gas streams together with
105

other volatile c o m p o u n d s a n d now mixing with water and forming narsans (mineral waters). M a n h a s m a d e u s e of t h e s e waters for therapeutic p u r poses a n d h a s b u i l t s a n a t o r i a and hydropathic establishments n e a r t h e m , for example, in t h e Caucasus. T h e w a t e r i n t h e m is so o v e r saturated with carbon dioxide that the bubbles constantly rising to t h e surface create the impression that the water is b o i l i n g .

T o p : d i a m o n d a n d g r a p h i t e consist of c a r b o n a t o m s b u t t h e a t o m s a r r a n g e t h e m s e l v e s in these m i n e r a l s d i f f e r e n t l y . In t h e d i a m o n d (right) each a t o m is s u r r o u n d e d e q u i d i s t a n t l y by f o u r a t o m s of c a r b o n ( t e t r a h e d r o n s ) . I n g r a p h i t e t h e a t o m s a r e a r r a n g e d in l a y e r s ; t h e a t o m i c b o n d s b e t w e e n t h e layers a r e w e a k

If y o u visit t h e U r a l s , h o w e v e r , y o u will n o t f i n d a n y s u c h w a r m c a r b o n d i o x i d e s p r i n g s . G e o c h e m i s t r y e x p l a i n s this d i f f e r e n c e i n t h e c o m p o s i t i o n of t h e w a t e r s of t h e U r a l s a n d t h e C a u c a s u s b y t h e f a c t that the Urals arose m u c h earlier t h a n the Caucasian M o u n t a i n s a n d the u n d e r g r o u n d rocks h a d a l r e a d y cooled here d u r i n g t h e per i o d of m o u n t a i n f o r m a t i o n . B u t i n t h e C a u c a s u s a f o c u s of h e a t h a s b e e n r e t a i n e d d e e p u n d e r t h e m o u n t a i n s . T h e r o c k s l o c a t e d n e a r this f o c u s a n d c o n t a i n i n g c a r b o n dioxide (chalk a n d limestones) partly decompose u n d e r the influence of t h e h e a t a n d l i b e r a t e g a s e o u s c a r b o n dioxide. This carbon d i o x i d e rises a l o n g c r a c k s t o t h e surface together with the mineralized water. W e k n o w cases w h e n the u n d e r g r o u n d s t r e a m s of c a r b o n d i o x i d e a r e so p o w e r f u l a n d a r e ejected u n d e r such high pressure t h a t o w i n g to t h e i r e v a p o r a t i o n a fog a n d " s n o w " are f o r m e d of t h e solid c a r b o n d i o x i d e n e a r t h e p o i n t s of t h e i r exit o n t h e
106

s t e l l a t e crystals of g r a p h i t e in i g n e o u s rock.

^ „ „ „ , , ,. . . [)men Mountains in the South Urals

,

s u r f a c e of t h e e a r t h . T h i s solid c a r b o n d i o x i d e f r o m s t r e a m s is u s e d f o r t e c h n i c a l p u r p o s e s as d r y ice.

the

natural

T h e r e w e r e p e r i o d s i n t h e h i s t o r y of t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t w h e n i n c r e a s e d v o l c a n i c a c t i v i t y e x t r u d e d t r e m e n d o u s a m o u n t s of c a r b o n d i o x i d e i n t o t h e a t m o s p h e r e ; t h e r e - w e r e also t i m e s w h e n l u x u r i a n t t r o p i c a l v e g e t a t i o n r e t u r n e d a lot o f c a r b o n to its n a t i v e s t a t e . T h e role of m a n w i t h his i n d u s t r i a l a c t i v i t y p a l e s b e f o r e t h e s e processes. E n o r m o u s a m o u n t s of c a r b o n d i o x i d e a r e n o w t h r o w n o u t b y a c t i v e v o l c a n o e s , f o r e x a m p l e , V e s u v i u s , E t n a , K a t i n a i in A l a s k a , etc. T h e gases e j e c t e d b y v o l c a n o e s consist m a i n l y of c a r b o n d i o x i d e . C a r b o n i c a c i d b e g i n s its d e s t r u c t i v e a c t i o n o n t h e s u r f a c e of t h e e a r t h as a p o w e r f u l f a c t o r of c h e m i c a l t r a n s f o r m a t i o n s ; u n l i k e t h e i n t e r i o r h e r e it is c a r b o n i c a n d n o t silicic acid t h a t is m a s t e r of t h e s i t u a t i o n ; it d e s t r o y s i g n e o u s r o c k , e x t r a c t s m e t a l s , c o m b i n e s w i t h c a l c i u m a n d m a g n e s i u m a c c u m u l a t i n g in t h e f o r m of l i m e s t o n e s a n d d o l o m i t e s ; its salts collect in w a t e r b a s i n s in i m m e n s e a m o u n t s , a n d it is f r o m t h e s e salts t h a t o r g a n i s m s m a k e t h e i r shells a n d c o r a l s build their mighty structures. W e c a n n o t s u f f i c i e n t l y a p p r e c i a t e t h e s i g n i f i c a n c e of these slow t r a n s f o r m a t i o n s of c a r b o n o n t h e e a r t h ' s s u r f a c e since t h e y n o t o n l y i n f l u e n c e t h e c l i m a t e o n t h e s u r f a c e , b u t also d e t e r m i n e t h e c h a n g e s i n t h e d e v e l o p m e n t of t h e e n t i r e o r g a n i c w o r l d . J u s t i m a g i n e f o r a s e c o n d w h a t t h e e a r t h w o u l d look like w i t h o u t c a r b o n . I t m e a n s t h e r e w o u l d n o t b e a single t r e e , o r g r e e n leaf o r b l a d e of grass. N o r w o u l d t h e r e b e a n y a n i m a l s . O n l y b a r e cliffs of v a r i o u s r o c k s w o u l d j u t o u t a m i d t h e lifeless s a n d s a n d silent d e s e r t s of t h e e a r t h . T h e r e w o u l d b e n o m a r b l e a n d n o l i m e s t o n e s w h i c h decorate our landscapes with their white colour. T h e r e would be n e i t h e r c o a l n o r oil. W i t h o u t c a r b o n d i o x i d e t h e c l i m a t e of t h e e a r t h w o u l d b e m o r e s e v e r e a n d c o l d e r since t h e c a r b o n d i o x i d e in t h e a t m o s p h e r e p r o m o t e s a b s o r p t i o n of t h e l u m i n o u s e n e r g y of t h e s u n . T h e w a t e r s , too, w o u l d b e lifeless. T h e c h e m i c a l p r o p e r t i e s of c a r b o n a r e v e r y p e c u l i a r . I t is t h e o n l y e l e m e n t t h a t yields a n u n l i m i t e d n u m b e r of c o m p o u n d s w i t h o x y g e n , h y d r o g e n , n i t r o g e n a n d o t h e r c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s . M a n y of t h e s e c a r b o n or organic c o m p o u n d s themselves constitute various c o m p l e x proteins, fats, c a r b o h y d r a t e s , v i t a m i n s a n d m a n v o t h e r c o m p o u n d s w h i c h f o r m p a r t of t h e tissues a n d cells of living o r g a n i s m s .
107

REGIONS OF THE INTERIOR

STABLE

FORMS

Earth's surface (biosphere)

Living substance -

&asei
8ifuminous shales, coals oils, tars

Carbonates '(Sand- stones)

/fydrocarbons Living substance Carbon dioxide Carbonates

Region of mefamorphism

Carbonates (marbles)

Carbon dioxide Carbonates Graphite

Piatomc region

Carbonsil/cafes Carbides Diamond

Carbon dioxide ? (graphite) Diamond Carbides Fe, Mi, etc.

Geochemical

cycle of

carbon

T h e very name "organic compounds" indicates that m a n learned about carbon compounds when he began isolating them from the tissues of plants and animals as, for example, sugar and starch, later learning to produce manv artificial compounds. Today organic chemistry which studies carbon and its compounds, their synthesis and analysis, numbers more than one million organic compounds. W e may point out for comparison that our laboratories produce more than 30,000 inorganic compounds and that there are less than 3,000 natural inorganic compounds or minerals. There are so many organic compounds that we have to give them ever longer and more complicated names; for example, acrichm. the well-known medicine for malaria, has the following full n a m e - <k methoxychlorodieth\iamin()methvll)utylaminoacrichin." T h e capacity of carbon to yield numerous compounds is responsible for the wealth and diversity of species of plants and animals of which there are at least several million. But this does not mean that carbon forms the main mass in the living organisms, or living substance, as we sav in geochemistry. They only contain 10 per cent carbon; they arc composed mainly of water (up to 80 per cent), the rest being other chemical elements. Owing to the ability of organisms to nourish, develop and reproduce themselves, enormous masses of carbon pass through living substance
108

in t h e process of life. Y o u m u s t h a v e seen man}- t i m e s h o w a p o n d b e g i n s to b e o v e r g r o w n w i t h a g r e e n film of s e a w e e d s a n d o t h e r p l a n t s o n t h e s u r f a c e in t h e s p r i n g , h o w t h e s e p l a n t s fully m a t u r e in t h e s u m m e r a n d h o w t h e y g r o w b r o w n a n d settle t o t h e b o t t o m in t h e a u t u m n f o r m i n g g r o u n d silt r i c h in o r g a n i c m a t t e r . T h e y serve as t h e s o u r c e , as w e shall see l a t e r , of coals a n d v e g e t a b l e s i l t s — " s a p r o p c l s " —-from w h i c h s y n t h e t i c b e n z i n e c a n be o b t a i n e d . A n i m a l s g i v e off a lot of c a r b o n d i o x i d e d u r i n g r e s p i r a t i o n . T h u s , f o r e x a m p l e , t h e s u r f a c e of all p u l m o n a r y alveoli in m a n c o n s t i t u t e s a b o u t 50 s q u a r e m e t r e s , a n d in 24 h o u r s m a n e x p i r e s a n a v e r a g e of 1.3 k i l o g r a m s of c a r b o n d i o x i d e . All of m a n k i n d a n n u a l l y e x p i r e s a b o u t 1,000 m i l l i o n t o n s of c a r b o n d i o x i d e i n t o t h e a t m o s p h e r e of t h e e a r t h . " F i n a l l y , t h e r e is a n e v e n g r e a t e r r e s e r v e of b o u n d c a r b o n d i o x i d e u n d e r g r o u n d i n t h e f o r m of l i m e s t o n e s , c h a l k , m a r b l e a n d o t h e r m i n e r a l s , f o r m i n g l a y e r s h u n d r e d s a n d e v e n t h o u s a n d s of m e t r e s t h i c k . If w e c o u l d r e t u r n t h e e n t i r e a m o u n t of c a r b o n d i o x i d e b o u n d u p i n t h e m as c a l c i u m c a r b o n a t e a n d m a g n e s i u m c a r b o n a t e t o t h e a t m o s p h e r e t h e a i r w o u l d c o n t a i n 2 5 , 0 0 0 t i m e s as muc.l. carbon dioxide. T h e c a r b o n d i o x i d e of t h e a t m o s p h e r e p a r t l y dissolves in t h e w a t e i of t h e w o r l d o c e a n . F r o m t h e a i r a n d t h e w a t e r c a r b o n d i o x i d e is a b s o r b e d b y p l a n t s . As t h e a m o u n t of c a r b o n d i o x i d e in t h e w a t e r of t h e o c e a n d e c r e a s e s n e w q u a n t i t i e s of it c o m e f r o m t h e a i r . T h e v a s t s u r f a c e of t h e o c e a n a c t s as a g r e a t p u m p a b s o r b i n g a n d a s p i r a t i n g carbon dioxide. P l a n t s a r e t h e first to d r a w c a r b o n d i o x i d e i n t o t h e cycle of l i v i n g s u b s t a n c e . T h e leaves of g r e e n p l a n t s c a p t u r e c a r b o n d i o x i d e i n t h e l i g h t a n d t r a n s f o r m it i n t o c o m p l e x o r g a n i c c o m p o u n d s . T h i s p r o c e s s is c a l l e d p h o t o s y n t h e s i s a n d i n v o l v e s l i g h t a n d c h l o r o p h y l l , t h e g r e e n s u b s t a n c e of p l a n t s . T h e e n o r m o u s i m p o r t a n c e of p h o t o s y n t h e s i s in n a t u r e w a s first e s t a b l i s h e d a n d s t u d i e d in d e t a i l by t h e R u s s i a n scientist K l i m e n t T i m i r y a z e v . I n t h e c o u r s e of a y e a r l a r g e a m o u n t s of a t m o s p h e r i c c a r b o n d i o x i d e g o t h r o u g h t h e p l a n t s . B u t this s h o r t a g e of c a r b o n d i o x i d e i n t h e a t m o s p h e r e is c o n t i n u o u s l y r e p l e n i s h e d b y t h e l i b e r a t i o n of c a r b o n d i o x i d e f r o m w a t e r r e s e r v o i r s a n d animal organisms. E n o r m o u s m a s s e s of o r g a n i c s u b s t a n c e — t i s s u e s of p l a n t s — a r e f o r m e d
109

O p e n cast m i n i n g of b r o w n

coal

as a r e s u l t of p h o t o s y n t h e s i s . P l a n t s serve as f o o d f o r a n i m a l s t h u s ensuring their existence a n d developm e n t . I f w e a d d t o this t h a t oils a n d coals a r e f o r m e d f r o m d e a d o r g a n i s m s it will b e c o m e c l e a r h o w i m p o r t a n t t h e a b s o r p t i o n of c a r b o n d i o x i d e b y p l a n t s is t o g e o c h e m i s t r y . T h e r e is n o r e a c t i o n m o r e i m p o r t a n t in its g e o c h e m i c a l e f f e c t t h a n t h e r e a c t i o n of p h o t o s y n t h e s i s i n plants.

As previously stated, the c a r b o n cycle d o e s n o t e n d w i t h t h e f o r m a t i o n of o r g a n i c compounds f r o m c a r b o n dioxide in plants a n d later in animals. O r g a n i s m s die. T h e i r b o d i e s a n d tissues a c c u m u l a t e i n l a r g e a m o u n t s i n t h e f o r m of d e p o s i t s o n t h e b o t t o m s of p o n d s , lakes a n d seas a n d as d e p o s i t s of p e a t . T h e s e r e m a i n s of o r g a n i s m s a r e s u b j e c t e d t o t h e a c t i o n of w a t e r , processes of f e r m e n t a t i o n a n d p u t r e f a c t i o n . B a c t e r i a s h a r p l y a l t e r t h e c o m p o s i t i o n of t h e tissues of t h e o r g a n i s m s . C e l l u l o s e , t h e l i g n i n of p l a n t s , persists m o s t s t u b b o r n l y . T h e o r g a n i c r e m a i n s a r e c o v e r e d u p b y a h e a v y l a y e r of s a n d a n d clay. T h e n u n d e r t h e i n f l u e n c e of h e a t , p r e s s u r e a n d c o m p l e x c h e m i c a l processes c o a l o r oil g r a d u a l l y b e g i n t o b e f o r m e d d e p e n d i n g o n t h e n a t u r e of t h e s e r e m a i n s a n d t h e c o n d i t i o n s f o r t h e i r p r e s e r v a t i o n . T h e solid o r g a n i c c a r b o n w h i c h arises as a r e s u l t of t h e p r o c e s s of p l a n t decomposition occurs in t h r e e f o r m s : a n t h r a c i t e , coal a n d lignite. A n t h r a c i t e is t h e r i c h e s t i n c a r b o n . S t u d i e s u n d e r t h e m i c r o s c o p e c o n f i r m t h e v e g e t a b l e o r i g i n of c o a l a n d l i g n i t e . T h e s e coals a r e schistous, a n d i m p r i n t s of leaves, s p o r e s a n d seeds c a n b e o b s e r v e d b e t w e e n t h e l a y e r s e v e n w i t h t h e n a k e d eye. E a c h p i e c e of c o a l is p a r t of t h e c a r b o n a t o n e t i m e a b s o r b e d b y a cell of a p l a n t as c a r b o n d i o x i d e w i t h t h e a i d of t h e e n e r g y of s o l a r r a y s a n d c h l o r o p h y l l . " A c a p t u r e d s o l a r r a y " is t h e w a y c o a l is r e f e r r e d to. As a m a t t e r of f a c t , e a c h s m a l l p i e c e of c o a l h a s r e t a i n e d t h e s o l a r r a y c a p t u r e d b y t h e p l a n t a n d first t r a n s f o r m e d i n t o c o m p l e x v e g e t a b l e tissue a n d t h e n c h a n g e d i n t h e p r o c e s s of slow d e c o m p o s i t i o n . I t h e a t s t h e boil110

i

ers of mills, f a c t o r i e s a n d s e a g o i n g s h i p s ; its e n e r g y d r i v e s g i g a n t i c m a c h i n e r y a n d its o u t p u t d e t e r m i n e s t h e i m m e n s e d e v e l o p m e n t of modern industry. T h e a n n u a l p r o d u c t i o n of c o a l is e x p r e s s e d b y t h e e n o r m o u s figure of m o r e t h a n 1,000 m i l l i o n t o n s w h i c h b y f a r e x c e e d s t h e o u t p u t of a n y other mineral. I n k n o w n coal reserves t h e U . S . S . R . holds second p l a c e i n t h e w o r l d , b u t w i t h t h e g r o w t h of t h e c o u n t r y ' s i n d u s t r y these e n o r m o u s r e s e r v e s will o n l y last f r o m 100 t o 2 0 0 y e a r s . W e m u s t e x p l o r e t h e i n t e r i o r of o u r e a r t h in o r d e r t o i n c r e a s e t h e r e a l r e s e r v e s of t h i s v a l u a b l e s u b s t a n c e . B u t c o a l yields n o t o n l y h e a t . M a n e x t r a c t s f r o m it v a l u a b l e p r o d u c t s w h i c h h a v e l a i d t h e basis f o r t h e c h e m i c a l i n d u s t r y of c o a l . F r o m o r d i n a r y coal m a n h a s l e a r n e d t o p r o d u c e a n i l i n e dyes, a s p i r i n a n d s t r e p t o c i d e . W h i l e c o a l w a s f o r m e d m a i n l y f r o m p l a n t cells a n d tissues, s u c h a l i q u i d o r g a n i c s u b s t a n c e as oil w a s f o r m e d f r o m o t h e r p r o t o z o a a n d t h e i r s p o r e s ; h e n c e , t h i s l i q u i d f u e l , w h i c h is e v e n m o r e v a l u a b l e t h a n coal, is also a sort of " c a p t u r e d s o l a r r a y . " M o d e r n fast ships, p l a n e s a n d a u t o m o b i l e t r a n s p o r t c a n exist o n l y o n oil p u r i f i e d a n d r e f i n e d i n t o p u r e g r a d e s of g a s o l i n e . M a n h a s l e a r n e d t o p r o d u c e a r t i f i c i a l b e n z i n e f r o m c e r t a i n g r a d e s of coal, b u t t h e r e is n o t v e r y m u c h c o a l fit f o r this p u r p o s e , t h e y i e l d of l i q u i d p r o d u c t s is l o w a n d t h e q u a l i t y of a r t i f i c i a l g a s o l i n e is l o w e r . I n q u e s t of oil m a n drills wells m o r e t h a n f o u r k i l o m e t r e s d e e p a n d e x t r a c t s . this v a l u a b l e l i q u i d , t h e " b l a c k b l o o d of t h e e a r t h , " f r o m t h e e a r t h ' s entrails. T h e well, t h r o u g h w h i c h oil is extracted, operates for several years. C o m p l e x s t r u c t u r e s — d e r r i c k s 37 t o 43 metres tall—are put u p on the s u r f a c e . T h e forest of oil d e r r i c k s looks v e r y e f f e c t i v e f r o m a f a r . O n e c a n see s u c h oilfields i n t h e C a u c a s u s o n t h e w e s t e r n slopes of the Urals (Bashkiria), in Central Asia a n d o n S a k h a l i n . T h e r e a r e also c o n s i d e r a b l e oil d e p o s i t s i n I r a n , M e s o p o t a m i a a n d in other countries.

O i l f o u n t a i n which f o r m e d an oil lake in t h e B a k u fields. T h e fountain g u s h e d f o r t h r e e y e a r s on e n d 111

T h u s , this e l e m e n t c o m e s f r o m t h e i n t e r i o r t o t h e s u r f a c e a g a i n ; this t i m e it is b r o u g h t o u t b y m a n h i m s e l f ; a n d i n t h e c o n t i n u o u s s t r u g g l e f o r e x i s t e n c e , f o r t h e possession of t h e n a t u r a l e n e r g y reserves, m a n a n n u a l l y b u r n s m o r e t h a n 7 0 0 m i l l i o n t o n s of c o a l . I n order to get heat m a n changes everything into c a r b o n dioxide and water again. A g e n t s of d i f f e r e n t o r d e r s a n d d i f f e r e n t s i g n i f i c a n c e , t h u s , s t r u g g l e w i t h e a c h o t h e r n o w o x i d i z i n g c a r b o n a n d n o w r e d u c i n g it t o its native state. B u t , as p r e v i o u s l y s t a t e d , i n a d d i t i o n t o c o a l t h e r e a r e t w o m o r e i n t e r e s t i n g v a r i e t i e s of p u r e c a r b o n — d i a m o n d a n d g r a p h i t e . H o w d i f f e r e n t t h e s p a r k l i n g d i a m o n d is f r o m t h e o r d i n a r y g r e y g r a p h i t e with which we write! W e always a t t r i b u t e differences in the properties of b o d i e s t o t h e d i f f e r e n c e s i n t h e i r c o m p o s i t i o n . I n t h i s case, h o w e v e r , t h e d i f f e r e n t p r o p e r t i e s a r e d u e to d i f f e r e n t a r r a n g e m e n t of t h e a t o m s i n t h e crystals. I n t h e d i a m o n d c r y s t a l t h e a t o m s lie v e r y close t o e a c h o t h e r . T h i s a c c o u n t s f o r its c o n s i d e r a b l e specific g r a v i t y a n d h a r d n e s s , w h i c h

F o r e s t of oil d e r r i c k s in a B a k u oilfield

112

e x c e e d s t h e h a r d n e s s of all t h e o t h e r m i n e r a l s , as w e l l as f o r its e x c e p t i o n ally h i g h r e f r a c t i o n i n d e x . D i a m o n d c a n f o r m f r o m m o l t e n rock only u n d e r very high pressures of 3 0 a n d , p e r h a p s , e v e n 6 0 t h o u s a n d a t m o s p h e r e s . S u c h p r e s s u r e s exist o n l y a t a d e p t h of 6 0 t o 100 k i l o m e t r e s . R o c k s v e r y s e l d o m c o m e t o t h e s u r f a c e f r o m s u c h d e p t h s , a n d this m a y be the reason w h y d i a m o n d s are encountered extremely rarely. For its h a r d n e s s a n d s p a r k l e t h e d i a m o n d is v e r y h i g h l y v a l u e d as a first-class precious stone. India has long been k n o w n for her diamonds d e p o s i t s . D i a m o n d fields w e r e d i s c o v e r e d i n B r a z i l ( 1 8 6 7 ) a n d i n t h e S o v i e t U n i o n . T h e g r e a t e r p a r t of is n o w m i n e d a t t h e A f r i c a n d e p o s i t s d i s c o v e r e d i n V a a l River, the right tributary of t h e O r a n g e R i v e r . A t first t h e y w e r e m i n e d in river clay placer deposits, b u t it w a s s o o n d i s c o v e r e d t h a t t h e y w e r e also t o b e f o u n d in the blue clay on the gently s l o p i n g hills a w a y f r o m t h e river. T h e blue clay b e g a n to be worked a n d a " d i a m o n d r u s h " s t a r t e d ; p l o t s of b l u e clay three metres square were b o u g h t at a million times their p r i c e a n d v e r y d e e p holes were dug. People swarmed like a n t s i n t h e s e holes a n d d u g the rock. Suspension ways w e r e built in o r d e r to r e m o v e t h e precious clay. It was not very deep, however, before the clay disappeared and hard green r o c k k n o w n as k i m b e r l i t e c a m e i n t o v i e w . I t also c o n t a i n e d diamonds, but they were very
117

m i n e d in placer (1727), in Africa world's diamonds t h e v a l l e y of t h e

O p e n cast w o r k in d i a m o n d - b e a r i n g pits in t h e e n v i r o n s of K i m b e r l e y in 1830. T h e pict u r e s h o w s n u m e r o u s r o p e s u s e d by t h e o w n e r s of s m a l l p l o t s f o r h o i s t i n g t h e ore

hard

to

extract

and

the

small a

owners had

to give u p their a large stock

costly

and

inefficient resumed The

efforts. Alter work, hut

period

of inactivity mines. into

company

this t i m e rock pipes by

it s a n k goes

diamond-hearing It fills t h e

down

the

interior

to

inacces-

sible d e p t h s .

formed

during

volcanic

explosions. the 30 largest to too

fifteen craters of t h e m metres. Kimberliie less than 100 is 3 5 0

produced metres in

these explosions are the rest

known; from

diameter,

measure

is s p r i n k l e d milligrams

with 'or

vcrv a

small carat).

diamond Large

grains are

weighing also en-

half

stones

c o u n t e r e d s o m e t i m e s . T h e " E x c e l s i o r ' " w e i g h i n g 9 7 2 c a r a t s o r i<)4 g r a m s was the largest and for a long time. An even or larger diamond grams rare was and named in

"Cullman" K)o(i. The Stones most

weighing

3,025 than weigh

carats 10

605 are

found

weighing

more

carats

expensive. ordinary or the

famous diamonds crumbs, drops

f r o m 40 to 200 carats. T h e black are variety also

diamonds diamond

as well as t h e

--'"carbonado" very valuable

(diamond

fragments)

because

I he u n r l j , L'rc.uu-t lii.imomiN: ;rop row* " ( o c a r \1or:u! ' \\ L-i':hcd -80 carars nn I ' l u u s , Or I o v - w c i u h t 104 carats, " Reecnr ' - 1 c a r a t > ; (bottom row " I• lorcntine 14. carals, oM anil new :;rim!inu of the " K o h - i - \ o r " d i a m o m : (ittO 106 t : ' ' 1 14

they are used in engineering for drilling and boring h a r d rock. T h e drawing machines which produce tungsten filament threads for electric light bulbs require rather large stones. Graphite is the same carbon, but how its properties differ from those of diamonds, though! Its atoms easily separate from each other along planes. This soft mineral with a metallic lustre is not transparent, easily breaks u p into small sheets and leaves a trace on paper. Graphite very poorly combines with oxygen and can stand very high temperature being a sort of fireproof material. It is of dual origin: it is formed either by the decomposition of carbon dioxide liberated from the magma during the formation of igneous rock or by the metamorphosis of coal. A famous deposit of the first type is in Siberia. Lenses of very pure graphite are found here amid the cooled igneous rock—nephelitic syenite. Enormous deposits of graphite occur in the basin ' of the Yenisei River. This graphite originated from coal and is high in ash content.
Original forms of native diamonds, sketched by

Whenever we write in A . F e r s i n a n in 1911 pencil we use graphite. For the manufacture of lead pencils graphite is mixed with purified clay and the hardness of the pencil depends on the amount of the latter; little clay is used for soft pencils and vice versa. T h e cylinders are then pressed and glued into wood. But only 5 per cent of the total graphite produced goes into lead pencils. Most of it is used to manufacture fireproof crucibles for melting the highest grades of steel,
8» 115

Benzine for motors

Fuel for engines Hydrogen for dirigidtes and /he cfiemical industry

Carbon tetrachloride tar fire extinguishers

/fW materials for explosives

Solvents for

lacquers Artificial fats for soap

fiaw materials for aniline dyes

li/dricafion for machinery

^ _ Acetylene for welding and catting metals

ftaw ma ferials for the production at rubber

Rav materials for ff>e mam/facta re ofplastics part

Use of oil in v n r i o j s branches of industry. T h e picture shows only a small of the different substances p r o d u c e d by chemical processing of oil

electric f u r n a c e electrodes, machinery sprinkling parts. We should in now layers recall of the (for the example, clay

and

for lubricating as in a

friction powder

parts it is

in

heavy for

bloomings'); employed

used

moulds

casting

metal

machine

the

fate

of in

the the

carbon form of

dioxide

that

was chalk

retained and To suffice We see fine

earth

limestones,

marble. begin it to find with, how a a was little .it formed? This is easy the to answer;

examine in it

chalk world and are

powder of

under

microscope. We shall of a

shall

whole little

microscopic not of

fossils.

numerous and

circles,

rods These

crystals remains

infrequently the lime

beautiful

pattern.

skeletons

of m i c r o s c o p i c o r g a n i s m s — r h i z o p o d s . S o m e of t h e i r species a r e still f o u n d in t h e w a r m seas. T h e s k e l e t o n s of r h i z o p o d s a r e m a d e of c a l c i u m c a r b o n a t e , a n d m y r i a d s of s u c h skeletons f o r m e d t h e rock a f t e r t h e d e a t h of t h e o r g a n i s m s . B u t t h e f o r m a t i o n of r o c k involves n o t o n l y t h e l o w e r m i c r o s c o p i c a n i m a l s ; t h e s k e l e t o n s of m a n v o t h e r m a r i n e a n i m a l s a n d p l a n t s a r e m a d e of c a l c i u m c a r b o n a t e . These skeletons a r e also e n c o u n t e r e d in l i m e s t o n e s . By t h e r e m a i n s of t h e o r g a n i s m s scientists c a n tell t h e t i m e t h e limestones were formed. T h e latest g e o c h e m i c a l r e s e a r c h m a k e s it possible to d e t e r m i n e t h e r e l a t i o n b e t w e e n c o a l a n d oil a n d tlie t o t a l a m o u n t of l i m e s t o n e s in t h e w o r l d . C o n s e q u e n t l y , t h e a b u n d a n c e of l i m e s t o n e in e a c h g e o l o g i c a l e p o c h e n a b l e s us to e s t i m a t e t h e a m o u n t s of c o a l a n d oil w h i c h w e r e t h e n f o r m e d . T h e s e g e o c h e m i c a l c o n c l u s i o n s a r e of g r e a t i m p o r t a n c e even if t h e p r a c t i c a l e s t i m a t e s p r o v e i n a c c u r a t e . M a n y of t h e a n c i e n t l i m e s t o n e s c h a n g e t o m a r b l e u n d e r t h e i n f l u e n c e of p r e s s u r e a n d lose all t r a c e s of o r g a n i c life. T h e c a r b o n d i o x i d e a c c u m u l a t e d i n t h e m o v e r a p e r i o d of millions of y e a r s h a s left its cycle. O n l y if m o u n t a i n - f o r m i n g or v o l c a n i c processes s h o u l d o c c u r a n y w h e r e n e a r t h e m a r b l e s t h e y m a y a g a i n release c a r b o n d i o x i d e u n d e r t h e i n f l u e n c e of h e a t a n d give rise to its n e w cycle. T h u s n a t u r e itself m a i n t a i n s a b a l a n c e in t h e e t e r n a l cycle of c h e m i c a l processes.

PHOSPHORUS—ELEMENT OF LIFE AND THOUGHT

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a n d c l o u d s of s m o k e . . . . T h e w a l l s a r e c o v e r e d w i t h v a r i o u s heavenly volumes

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s a l t s , p i l e s o f s a n d a n d h u m a n b o n e s , v e s s e l s w i t h t h e " w a t e r of table sparkling red and retorts, and solutions. laboratory we

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t h e f i g u r e of a g r e y - h a i r e d a l c h e m i s t w h o in his l o n g v o l u n t a r y trving to c h a n g e silver to gold a n d been wavs, dissolving powders the and to utilize t h e another. in a bones and p o w e r of c o m b u s t i o n different to t r a n s f o r m o n e m e t a l into human of man urine

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118

M e d i e v a l a l c h e m i s t in his l a b o r a t o r y

old people young and would teach m a n to produce costly gold from ordinary metal. I t was under these mysterious and complex conditions that the alchemists of the i 7th century were trying to work out the problems of chemistry. But the attempts to produce gold from mercury or to obtain the philosopher's stone from h u m a n bones proved futile. Time wore on and the experiments brought no results. T h e alchemists surrounded their laboratories with ever greater mystery and hid their recipes and the thick volumes of their notes. In 1669 Lady Fortune finally visited one of the alchemists working in H a m b u r g . In search of the precious stone he took fresh urine, evaporated it dry and annealed the black residue. At first he heated this residue gently, then more and more strongly; a white wax-like substance began to collect at the top of the tube, and the alchemist noticed, much to his surprise, that the substance was luminescent. Hennig Brandt (that was the alchemist's name) long kept his discovery absolutely secret. O t h e r alchemists vainly tried to gain access
119

R.Boyle

to his laboratory. T h e powers that be came to H a m b u r g in an endeavour to buy his secret. T h e discovery created a tremendous impression; the greatest minds of the 17th century took an interest in it believing that the philosopher's stone had been found. This stone shed a cold, quiet light; it was given the n a m e of "cold light," while the substance itself was named "phosphorus" (which means "light-bearing" in Greek). Robert Boyle and Leibniz took considerable interest in Brandt's discovery. Very soon one of Boyle's pupils and assistants in London attained such wonderful results that he even advertised in a newspaper: Hankwitz, London chemist, address so and so, prepares all sorts of medicines. In addition he informs all those who are curious that he is the only one in London capable of producing all varieties of phosphorus at 3 pound sterling per ounce. And still the production of phosphorus remained a secret of the alchemists until 1737. Their attempts to utilize this remarkable element were fruitless. Believing they had discovered the "philosopher's stone

G e n e r a l v i e w of a p a t i t e d e p o s i t s

1 20

they vainly tried to use this luminescent white phosphorus in changing silver to gold. T h e philosopher's stone would not reveal its secret properties, while the explosions which sometimes occurred during experiments only frightened the investigators. Phosphorus remained a mysterious substance and found no application for itself. It took nearly two centuries before Liebig, a chemist, discovered in his modest chemical laboratory one more mystery—the significance of phosphorus and phosphoric acid in the life of plants. It became clear that phosphoric compounds were the basis of life in the fields, and the idea that compounds of the "cold light" should be strewn over the fields to improve the crops was voiced for the first time in this laboratory. We know the mistrust with which these words of Liebig were treated. His attempts to fertilize the soil with saltpetre were useless, and the cargo of this salt brought by ships from South America found no buyers and was d u m p e d into the sea. T h e possibility of using the salts of the "cold light" for the purpose of increasing the yield of rye and wheat and for developing the stem of the valuable fibrous p l a n t - flax—was long considered a mere fantasy. It took years of persistent scientific work again before phosphorus became one of the most important chemical elements in agriculture.

M y second story deals with 1939. In the U.S.S.R., apatite, a light green stone and very valuable mineral, is mined on a large scale on the slopes of snow-covered mountains in the north. It is produced in tremendous quantities and its output vies with that of the phosphorite extracted on the Mediterranean Coast, in Africa and in Florida. Apatite goes to large concentration plants where it is pulverized and separated from harmful constituents; the result is a pure white powder, as soft and friable as flour. T h e n it is loaded into railway trucks and dozens of trainloads of it are sent from the distant Arctic regions to factories in Leningrad, Moscow, Odessa, Vinnitsa, Donets Basin, Perm and Kuibyshev where it is treated with sulphuric acid and transformed into a new substance, another white powder—a soluble phosphate fertilizer. Millions of tons of these phosphates are strewn by special machines over the fields of our country doubling the yield of flax, increasing the sugar content of sugar-beets, multiplying the number of cotton bolls and improving the vegetable crops.
121

D i s p e r s e d o v e r t h e fields t h e m i n u t e s t a t o m s of p h o s p h o r u s g e t i n t o t h e b r e a d , vegetables a n d other foods we consume. C a l c u l a t i o n s s h o w t h a t i n e a c h p i e c e of b r e a d w e i g h i n g 100 g r a m s w e c o n s u m e u p to 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 a t o m s of p h o s p h o r u s , i.e., a figure so e n o r m o u s t h a t it is h a r d t o call it i n o r d i n a r y l a n g u a g e . W e h a v e told you a b o u t the country's m a i n s o u r c e of p h o s p h a t e s , t h e a p a t i t e of t h e K h i b i n y M o u n t a i n s . B u t i m m e n s e as t h e m i n e s o n K o l a P e n i n s u l a a r e they cannot alone provide enough phosp h a t e f o r t h e v a s t fields of t h e S o v i e t U n i o n b e c a u s e of t r a n s p o r t l i m i t a t i o n s . T h e n u m b e r of t r a i n l o a d s of p r e c i o u s apatite t h a t reach Siberia, K a z a k h s t a n B l a s t - f u r n a c e f o r s u b l i m a t i o n of a n d C e n t r a l Asia d o e s n o t suffice a n d phosphorus here newly discovered deposits c o m e to t h e a i d . P h o s p h o r i t e s a r e n o w v i g o r o u s l y m i n e d i n m a n y sections of t h e E u r o p e a n p a r t of t h e S o v i e t U n i o n ; 110 less i m p o r t a n t d e p o s i t s are n o w k n o w n in Siberia a n d in C e n t r a l Asia. N e w deposits a r e b e i n g p r o s p e c t e d f o r a n d w o r k e d i n v a r i o u s p a r t s of t h e c o u n t r y . T h e p h o s p h o r i t e d e p o s i t s m a k e it possible t o s e c u r e scores of m i l l i o n s of t o n s of p h o s p h a t e f e r t i l i z e r w h i c h b r i n g s its l i f e - g i v i n g f o r c e t o t h e c o u n t r y ' s s t a t e a n d c o l l e c t i v e - f a r m fields a n d f u l l y i m p r e g n a t e s t h e g r a i n s i n t h e e a r s a n d t h e s t e m s of t h e p l a n t s w i t h its v i v i f y i n g atoms. W e h a v e p a i n t e d t w o p i c t u r e s f r o m t h e h i s t o r y of p h o s p h o r u s : its d i s c o v e r y a n d its u t i l i z a t i o n i n o u r d a y s . M o r e t h a n t e n m i l l i o n t o n s of p h o s p h a t e f e r t i l i z e r is a n n u a l l y p r o d u c e d in t h e w o r l d ; of these t w o m i l l i o n t o n s a r e s t r e w n o v e r t h e fields. B u t p h o s p h o r u s is u s e d n o t o n l y f o r f e r t i l i z e r . T h e i m p o r t a n c e of this s u b s t a n c e i n c r e a s e s w i t h e a c h p a s s i n g y e a r . A t t h e p r e s e n t t i m e this " c o l d l i g h t " is u s e d i n a t least 120 b r a n c h e s of i n d u s t r y . I n t h e first p l a c e p h o s p h o r u s is t h e s u b s t a n c e of life a n d t h o u g h t ; t h e c o n t e n t of p h o s p h o r u s i n t h e b o n e s d e t e r m i n e s t h e g r o w t h a n d n o r m a l
122

d e v e l o p m e n t of t h e cells of t h e b o n e m a r r o w a n d is, in t h e l o n g r u n , r e s p o n s i b l e for t h e s t r e n g t h of t h e living o r g a n i s m s . T h e h i g h c o n t e n t of p h o s p h o r u s in t h e c e r e b r a l m a t t e r i n d i c a t e s its essential role in t h e w o r k of t h e b r a i n . P h o s p h o r u s d e f i c i e n c y in t h e food l e a d s to a w e a k e n i n g of t h e e n t i r e o r g a n i s m . T h e e x i s t e n c e of a n u m b e r of d i f f e r e n t medicinc-a n d p h a r m a c e u t i c a l p r e p a r a t i o n s c o n t a i n i n g p h o s p h o r u s for the weak a n d t h e c o n v a l e s c e n t s is n o m e r e a c c i d e n t . N o t o n l y m a n n e e d s p h o s p h o r u s ; p l a n t s a n d a n i m a l s also r e q u i r e e n o r m o u s q u a n t i t i e s oi it. M a n h a s l e a r n e d to fertilize w i t h p h o s p h o r u s n o t o n l y t h e l a n d b u t t h e sea as well. F e r t i l i z a t i o n of s e a - w a t e r w i t h p h o s p h o r u s in enclosed b a y s a n d gulfs r a p i d l y i n c r e a s e s t h e r e p r o d u c t i o n a n d g r o w t h of seaw e e d s a n d o t h e r m i c r o s c o p i c o r g a n i s m s w h i c h l e a d s to a n i n c r e a s e d r e p r o d u c t i o n of fish. W e h a v e p e r s o n a l l y witnessed e x p e r i m e n t s in w h i c h p h o s p h o r u s w a s i n t r o d u c e d i n t o p o n d s n e a r L e n i n g r a d as a r e s u l t of w h i c h t h e fish grew t o twice t h e i r f o r m e r size. P h o s p h o r u s h a s latelv p l a y e d a v e r v i m p o r t a n t p a r t in t h e p r e p a r a t i o n of v a r i o u s f o o d s a n d , especially, m i n e r a l w a t e r s . H i g h g r a d e s of m i n e r a l w a t e r s a r e o b t a i n e d w i t h t h e a i d of p h o s p h o r i c a c i d . P h o s p h a t e s , especially t h o s e of m a n g a n e s e a n d i r o n , p r o d u c e s t r o n g a n d d u r a b l e c o a t i n g s . W e k n o w t h a t h i g h - q u a l i t v w a r e s of stainless steel a r e m a d e by a s p e c i a l m e t h o d of c o a t i n g w i t h p h o s p h a t e s . T h e s u r f a c e s of p l a n e s c a n be r e n d e r e d stainless w i t h t h e a i d of s u c h p h o s p h a t e c o a t i n g s . T h e " c o l d l i g h t " of p h o s p h o r u s c r e a t e d in its t i m e o n e of t h e l a r g e s t b r a n c h e s of i n d u s t r y , namely, the m a t c h industry. O u r young readers do not know the p h o s p h o r u s m a t c h e s u s e d b e f o r e t h e m a t c h e s of o u r t i m e w e r e i n v e n t e d . I still r e m e m b e r since m y c h i l d h o o d t h e boxes of p h o s p h o r u s m a t c h e s which were m a d e with red h e a d s * a n d lighted by r u b b i n g against s o m e o b j e c t . P e o p l e p a r t i c u l a r l y liked t o l i g h t these m a t c h e s a g a i n s t t h e soles of t h e i r shoes. H o w e v e r , t h e d a n g e r o u s p r o p e r t i e s ol p h o s p h o r u s n e c e s s i t a t e d t h e i n v e n t i o n of o t h e r m a t c h e s , t h e o n e s w e a r c using today. T h e use of p h o s p h o r u s in m a t c h e s s u g g e s t e d t h e i d e a of u t i l i z i n g this s u b s t a n c e for a cold fog r a t h e r t h a n f o r a cold l i g h t . W h e n burningp h o s p h o r u s c h a n g e s t o p h o s p h o r i c a c i d w h i c h d r i f t s in t h e a i r for a longt i m e in t h e f o r m of a m i s t . M i l i t a r y e n g i n e e r i n g h a s m a d e use of this p e c u l i a r i t y of p h o s p h o r i c a c i d for c r e a t i n g s m o k e - s c r e e n s . I n c e n d i a r y b o m b s c o n t a i n a c o n s i d e r a b l e a m o u n t of p h o s p h o r u s , a n d in m o d e r n w a r f a r e p h o s p h o r i c b o m b s
123

Manufacture of matches

Fertilizer

Manufacture of flares

P
Smoke shells

incenaiary nhpi i.t

Manufacture of plastics

Chemical reagents

Medical preparations

P/iofographu

I'sc of p h o s p h o r u s in d i f f e r e n t b r a n c h e s of industry

s p r e a d i n g a w h i t e c o l d f o g h a v e b e c o m e o n e of t h e m e a n s of a t t a c k and destruction. W e shall n o t w e a r y y o u w i t h t h e c o m p l e x c h e m i c a l c o u r s e t r a v e l l e d b y p h o s p h o r u s i n n a t u r e , f r o m t h e m e l t s d e e p i n t h e i n t e r i o r of t h e e a r t h to t h e fine a p a t i t e n e e d l e s a n d t h e l i v i n g filters ( m i c r o - o r g a n i s m s ) w h i c h a b s o r b p h o s p h o r u s f r o m its w e a k s o l u t i o n s i n s e a - w a t e r . T h e h i s t o r y of m i g r a t i o n of p h o s p h o r u s in t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t is u n c o m m o n l y i n t e r e s t i n g . T h e f a t e of p h o s p h o r u s is b o u n d u p w i t h t h e c o m p l e x process of life a n d d e a t h . B u t p h o s p h o r u s a c c u m u l a t e s w h e r e o r g a n i c life t e r m i n a t e s a n d a n i m a l s d i e e n m a s s e , a t t h e j u n c t i o n of sea-currents where submarine cemeteries are formed. I n the earth p h o s p h o r u s a c c u m u l a t e s in t w o w a y s : e i t h e r in t h e d e e p d e p o s i t s of a p a t i t e s e p a r a t e d f r o m t h e h o t m o l t e n m a g m a or i n t h e r e m a i n s of t h e skeletal p a r t s of a n i m a l s . T h e a t o m of p h o s p h o r u s goes t h r o u g h a c o m p l e x cycle in t h e h i s t o r y of t h e e a r t h . S e p a r a t e links of its m i g r a t i o n s have been discovered by chemists, geochemists a n d technologists. Its p a s t f a t e is lost i n t h e d e e p i n t e r i o r of t h e e a r t h ; its f u t u r e is i n w o r l d industry.

SULPHUR—BASIS OF THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY
S u l p h u r is o n e of t h e first c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s k n o w n t o m a n . I t w a s e n c o u n t e r e d in m a n y places along the M e d i t e r r a n e a n Coast a n d could n o t e s c a p e t h e a t t e n t i o n of t h e a n c i e n t p e o p l e s — t h e G r e e k s a n d R o m a n s . V o l c a n i c e r u p t i o n s i n v a r i a b l y b r o u g h t a lot of s u l p h u r t o t h e s u r f a c e ; t h e o d o u r of s u l p h u r d i o x i d e a n d h y d r o g e n s u l p h i d e w a s c o n s i d e r e d a sign of t h e a c t i v i t y of V u l c a n , t h e u n d e r g r o u n d g o d . T h e c l e a r , t r a n s p a r e n t c r y s t a l s of s u l p h u r i n t h e l a r g e S i c i l i a n d e p o s i t s w e r e n o t i c e d m a n y c e n t u r i e s B . C . T h e a b i l i t y of this s t o n e t o l i b e r a t e a s p h y x i a n t gases a t t r a c t e d s p e c i a l a t t e n t i o n . I t w a s p r e c i s e l y b e c a u s e of t h i s u n u s u a l p r o p e r t y t h a t s u l p h u r w a s c o n s i d e r e d o n e of t h e b a s i c elements in the world at that time. N o w o n d e r , t h e r e f o r e , t h a t t o t h e m i n d s of a n c i e n t n a t u r a l i s t s a n d especially alchemists s u l p h u r always p l a y e d a n e x c e p t i o n a l r o l e in t h e p r o c e s s e s of v o l c a n i c a c t i v i t y o r f o r m a t i o n of m o u n t a i n r a n g e s a n d lodes. A t t h e s a m e t i m e it a p p e a r e d t o t h e a l c h e m i s t s t h a t s u l p h u r possessed a m y s t e r i o u s p r o p e r t y of l i b e r a t i n g n e w substances during combustion and should, therefore, have been the missing c o n s t i t u e n t of t h e p h i l o s o p h e r ' s s t o n e w h i c h t h e y so v a i n l y t r i e d t o find i n o r d e r to be able to p r o d u c e artificial gold. T h e i d e a of t h e e x c e p t i o n a l r o l e of s u l p h u r i n n a t u r e is e x c e l l e n t l y c o n P h o s p h o r u s s m e l t i n g in t h e Ages Middle

125

O l d e n g r a v i n g of V e s u v i u s

v e y e d in t h e f a m o u s t r e a t i s e of t h e R u s s i a n scientist L o m o n o s o v e n t i t l e d " O n T e r r e s t r i a l L a y e r s " a n d p u b l i s h e d i n 1763. T h e f o l l o w i n g are a few quotations from the treatise: " I n c o n s i d e r i n g t h e g r e a t d e a l of u n d e r g r o u n d fire t h e m i n d i m m e d i a t e l y t u r n s t o c o g n i t i o n of t h e m a t t e r w h i c h it c o n t a i n s . " . . . "Is there anything that can burn better than sulphur? W h a t can keep u p a n d f e e d a fire w i t h g r e a t e r f o r c e t h a n s u l p h u r ? " " W h a t c o m b u s t i b l e m a t t e r c o m e s m o r e a b u n d a n t l y t h a n s u l p h u r o u t of t h e e a r t h ' s interior?" " B e c a u s e it is n o t o n l y from t h e j a w s of fire-breathing mountains t h a t it b e l c h e s f o r t h , a n d i n h o t s p r i n g s t h a t s p u r t o u t of t h e e a r t h a n d in d r y u n d e r g r o u n d v e n t s t h a t it a c c u m u l a t e s i n g r e a t a m o u n t s ,
126

I

S u l p h u r hills in t h e K a r a K u m s . T u r k m e n

S.S.R.

b u t b e c a u s e t h e r e is n o t a s i n g l e o r e a n d h a r d l y a s t o n e w h i c h b y m u t u a l f r i c t i o n w i t h a n o t h e r d o e s n o t g i v e off" a s u l p h u r o u s s m e l l t h u s a n n o u n c i n g its p r e s e n c e . . . . T a k i n g f i r e i n t h e e n t r a i l s of t h e e a r t h a n d e x p a n d i n g t h e h e a v y a i r i n t h e a b y s s e s it p r e s s e s a g a i n s t t h e e a r t h l y i n g a b o v e , lifts it a n d b y m o v i n g it i n d i f f e r e n t d i r e c t i o n s a n d i n d i f f e r e n t a m o u n t s , p r o d u c e s d i f f e r e n t q u a k e s a n d p r i m a r i l y b r e a k s t h r o u g h w h e r e v e r it f i n d s t h e l e a s t r e s i s t a n c e , s h o o t i n g i n t h e a i r t h e l i g h t p a r t s of t h e d e stroyed earth's surface w h i c h in falling take u p the near-by fields, w h i l e t h e o t h e r s , b e c a u s e o f t h e i r e n o r m i t y , o v e r c o m e t h e fire b y t h e i r gravity and coming d o w n form mountains. " W e h a v e o b s e r v e d a g r e a t d e a l of fire i n t h e b o w e l s of t h e e a r t h a n d a n a b u n d a n c e of s u l p h u r w h i c h it r e q u i r e s f o r b u r n i n g a n d w h i c h suffices f6r e a r t h q u a k e s a n d for p r o d u c i n g g r e a t a l t e r a t i o n s — c a l a m i t o u s b u t also useful, t e r r i b l e b u t also b r i n g i n g d e l i g h t . " T r u e e n o u g h , t h e e a r t h ' s i n t e r i o r c o n t a i n s a lot o f s u l p h u r a n d i n c o o l i n g it g i v e s o f f m a n y v o l a t i l e c o m p o u n d s o f v a r i o u s m e t a l s i n c o m bination with sulphur, arsenic, chlorine, b r o m i n e a n d iodine. W e can j u d g e a b o u t t h i s n o t o n l y b y t h e o d o u r t y p i c a l of v o l c a n i c e r u p t i o n s , of a s p h y x i a n t soffioni i n S o u t h I t a l y o r of t h e c l o u d s of s u l p h u r d i o x i d e of t h e K a m c h a t k a e r u p t i o n s ; s u l p h u r is a l s o b r o u g h t o u t i n
27

s o l u t i o n s a n d it f o r m s lodes. T o g e t h e r w i t h a r s e n i c a n d a n t i m o n y , its f r i e n d s a n d f e l l o w - t r a v e l l e r s i n t h e s e h o t v o l a t i l e fluids, it f o r m s t h e m i n e r a l s f r o m w h i c h m a n h a s o b t a i n e d z i n c a n d l e a d , silver a n d g o l d since t i m e i m m e m o r i a l . But on the earth's surface these d a r k , o p a q u e , lustrous polymetallic ores a n d various glances a n d pyrites are subjected to t h e a c t i o n of a t m o s p h e r i c o x y g e n a n d of w a t e r ; t h e l a t t e r d e c o m p o s e the sulphides into n e w c o m p o u n d s , oxidizing t h e s u l p h u r into sulp h u r d i o x i d e . W e k n o w this g a s b y t h e o d o u r of s u l p h u r m a t c h e s . W i t h w a t e r it f o r m s s u l p h u r o u s a n d s u l p h u r i c a c i d s . S u l p h u r a n d its p r o d u c t s a r e s i m i l a r l y l i b e r a t e d d u r i n g o x i d a t i o n of l a r g e p y r i t e lenses, t h e y d e s t r o y t h e s u r r o u n d i n g r o c k s a n d , c o m b i n i n g w i t h s t a b l e r e l e m e n t s , f i n a l l y y i e l d g y p s u m o r o t h e r m i n e r a l s . I t will b e n o t e d t h a t s u l p h u r i c a c i d , w h i c h is f o r m e d in p y r i t e d e p o s i t s a n d w h e r e n a t i v e s u l p h u r is m i n e d , possesses d e s t r u c t i v e p r o p e r t i e s . I r e c a l l t h e M e d n o g o r s k M i n e i n t h e S o u t h U r a l s w h e r e so m u c h s u l p h u r i c a c i d is l i b e r a t e d d u r i n g t h e o x i d a t i o n of p y r i t e t h a t it is a b s o l u t e l y i m p o s s i b l e t o g u a r d oneself a g a i n s t its p o i s o n o u s a c t i v i t y a n d t h e w o r k e r s ' c l o t h e s d o n o t l a s t l o n g b e c a u s e t h e a c i d eats holes i n t h e m . W h e n we worked in t h e K a r a - K u m sands ( T u r k m e n S.S.R.) w e d i d n o t k n o w this p r o p e r t y of s u l p h u r d e p o s i t s , a n d w h e n o u r s a m p l e s of s u l p h u r o r e n e a t l y w r a p p e d i n p a p e r c a m e t o L e n i n g r a d w e f o u n d t h a t t h e p a p e r w a s e n t i r e l y e a t e n a w a y , t h a t o n l y s c r a p s of t h e labels r e m a i n e d a n d t h a t e v e n t h e b o x e s w e r e d a m a g e d . W e h a d t o d e s c r i b e t h e h e r o of t h e s e c a l a m ities, t h e n a t u r a l s u l p h u r i c a c i d , as a new i n d e p e n d e n t liquid mineral. T h e K a r a - K u m o r e is n o t e d f o r t h e f a c t t h a t it consists of a m i x t u r e of s a n d a n d s u l p h u r . T o o b t a i n p u r e s u l p h u r P. V o l k o v , S o v i e t c h e m i c a l engineer, proposed a n ingenious m e t h o d . F i n e o r e is p u t i n t o a b o i l e r working u n d e r high pressure, water is a d d e d , t h e b o i l e r is h e r m e t i c a l l y sealed a n d s t e a m u n d e r a pressure
D u n e s of g y p s u m s a n d of 5 to 6 atmospheres is passed

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t h r o u g h it. T h e t e m p e r a t u r e in t h e a u t o c l a v e rises to a b o u t 140° C . , t h e s u l p h u r m e l t s a n d collects i n t h e l o w e r p a r t of t h e b o i l e r w h i l e the clay a n d sand are stirred u p by t h e s t e a m a n d carried to the top. A t a p is o p e n e d s o m e t i m e l a t e r a n d t h e s u l p h u r q u i e t l y flows i n t o s p e c i a l t r a y s . T h e e n t i r e process of m e l t i n g t a k e s a b o u t t w o h o u r s . S o v i e t e n g i n e e r s solved t h e p r o b l e m of p u r i f y i n g K a r a - K u m s u l p h u r as s i m p l y as all t h a t . S u l p h u r d o e s n o t k e e p its i n i t i a l f o r m l o n g : it s o o n c o m b i n e s w i t h v a r i o u s m e t a l s a n d in v o l c a n i c r e g i o n s f o r m s a c c u m u l a t i o n s of a l u n i t e w h i c h is d i s p e r s e d a r o u n d a c t i v e v o l c a n o e s i n w h i t e s p o t s or b a n d s . S o m e a s t r o n o m e r s b e l i e v e t h a t a l u n i t e is r e s p o n s i b l e f o r t h e w h i t e h a l o e s a n d t h e w h i t e r a y s w h i c h s u r r o u n d t h e c r a t e r s of t h e l u n a r mountains. A l a r g e a m o u n t of o x i d i z e d s u l p h u r is in c o m b i n a t i o n w i t h c a l c i u m . T h e r e s u l t i n g c o m p o u n d is r a t h e r h a r d t o dissolve i n t h e l a b o r a t o r y b u t it is a s u f f i c i e n t l y m o b i l e c o m p o u n d in t h e e a r t h . T h i s c o m p o u n d , w h i c h w e call g y p s u m , is d e p o s i t e d i n l a r g e q u a n t i t i e s as t h i c k l a y e r s i n s a l t - l a k e s a n d i n d r y i n g sea b a s i n s . B u t t h e h i s t o r y of s u l p h u r o n t h e e a r t h ' s s u r f a c e d o e s n o t e n d w i t h this. P a r t of t h e s u l p h u r i c a c i d c h a n g e s i n t o a g a s a g a i n ; a n u m b e r of m i c r o - o r g a n i s m s r e d u c e s u l p h u r ; h y d r o g e n s u l p h i d e a n d v o l a t i l e gases a r e f o r m e d f r o m t h e s o l u t i o n s of its salts a n d a r e b r o u g h t o u t to the surface in very large a m o u n t s by oil-bearing waters; they saturate t h e a i r i n m a r s h y l o w l a n d s a n d in a n u m b e r of firths a n d lakes f o r m a b l a c k silty m a s s w h i c h is c a l l e d c u r a t i v e m u d a n d is extensively used for t h e r a p e u tic p u r p o s e s in t h e C r i m e a a n d the Caucasus. A v e r y g r e a t p a r t of t h e s u l p h u r v o l a t i l i z e s as h y d r o g e n sulphide, thus, r e t u r n i n g to a mobile form. This ends one of t h e p e r i o d s i n t h e c o m p l e x cycle of this e l e m e n t i n g e o logical h i s t o r y . But man has sharply
E x p l o s i o n of p o w d e r
129

c h a n g e d t h e p a t h s w h i c h sulp h u r t r a v e l s o n e a r t h , a n d it has b e c o m e o n e of industry's most valuable materials. O n l y a m i l l i o n t o n s of i t , i s m i n e d a n n u a l l y i n its p u r e s t a t e , b u t in iron compounds from w h i c h s u l p h u r is o b t a i n e d for acid it is m i n e d in scores of m i l l i o n s of t o n s a n nually. Sulphur has become the basis of t h e c h e m i c a l i n d u s t r y a n d w e should be h a r d p u t to it t o n a m e all t h e b r a n c h e s of i n d u s t r i a l e n g i n e e r i n g f o r w h i c h it is i n d i s p e n s a b l e . I shall m e n t i o n o n l y t h e m a i n b r a n c h e s , b u t t h e s e e x a m p l e s a r e e n o u g h t o s h o w t h a t i n d u s t r y c a n n o t exist w i t h o u t sulphur.
A t a match f a c t o r y . M a t c h c s b e f o r e p a c k i n g

S u l p h u r is r e q u i r e d f o r t h e p r o d u c t i o n of p a p e r , c e l l u l o i d , p a i n t s , m o s t m e d i c i n e s , m a t c h e s , f o r t h e p u r i f i c a t i o n of b e n z i n e , ether a n d oils, a n d f o r t h e m a n u f a c t u r e of p h o s p h a t e fertilizers, vitriols, a l u m , s o d a , glass, b r o m i n e a n d i o d i n e . W i t h o u t it it is h a r d t o p r o d u c e n i t r i c , h y d r o c h l o r i c a n d a c e t i c a c i d s ; h e n c e , it is c l e a r w h y s u l p h u r h a s p l a y e d a n e n o r m o u s p a r t in t h e d e v e l o p m e n t o f i n d u s t r y since t h e b e g i n n i n g of t h e 19th c e n t u r y . A s s u l p h u r i c a c i d w e n e e d it f o r t h e p r o d u c t i o n of d y n a m i t e , w h i l e its u s e in g u n p o w d e r h a s m a d e it a b s o lutely indispensable to fire-arms. T h e s t r u g g l e f o r s u l p h u r s t a n d s o u t , t h e r e f o r e , all t h r o u g h t h e h i s t o r y of t h e 18th c e n t u r y , Sicily w a s l o n g t h e o n l y s u p p l i e r of s u l p h u r . I t w a s p a r t of t h e I t a l i a n k i n g d o m a n d since t h e b e g i n n i n g of t h e 18th c e n t u r y British f r i g a t e s h a d r e p e a t e d l y b o m b a r d e d t h e S i c i l i a n c o a s t i n a n e n d e a v o u r t o c a p t u r e this w e a l t h . T h e n t h e S w e d e s d i s c o v e r e d a m e t h o d of p r o d u c i n g s u l p h u r a n d s u l p h u r i c a c i d f r o m p y r i t e s . T h e vast S p a n i s h p y r i t e d e p o s i t s b e c a m e t h e c e n t r e of a t t e n t i o n of all E u r o p e a n states a n d t h e British f r i g a t e s a p p e a r e d a t t h e S p a n i s h c o a s t in o r d e r to seize this s o u r c e of s u l p h u r a n d s u l p h u r i c a c i d , as well. T h e Sicilian d e p o s i t s w e r e n e g l e c t e d a n d all a t t e n t i o n w a s f o c u s e d on Spain.
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T h e n t h e first a n d e x t r e m e l y rich s u l p h u r deposits w e r e discovered in Florida. I n p u r s u i t of h i g h e r p r o ductivity a seemingly incredible m e t h o d was p r o p o s e d : superheated steam was p u m p e d underground; owing to the low melting t e m p e r a t u r e of s u l p h u r ( i i 9 ° C . ) t h e s t e a m m e l t e d it u n d e r g r o u n d a n d f o r c e d it t o t h e s u r f a c e in a liquid state. T h e first i n s t a l l a t i o n f o r p u m p i n g out molten sulphur was built and the sulphur was ejected to the surface w h e r e it solidified i n t o l a r g e hills. T h i s m e t h o d is v e r y p r o ductive and enormous amounts of s u l p h u r w e r e o b t a i n e d b y it in A m e r i c a . T h e I t a l i a n a n d Spanish deposits receded into the background. Once again a brilliant idea occurred to t h e Swedes in t h e p o l a r c o u n t r y of s u l p h u r o u s ores. O n e of t h e p l a n t s b e g a n t o p r o d u c e s u l p h u r as a b y product while processing p y r i t i c ores.
;!r-nrk Compressed air
Liquid sulphur

Free (loose sedimentary rocks)

Sulphurcontaimng calcite Compressed air

Sulphur in native bed

Anhydride Roc* salt

Installation for sulphur extraction from a deep bore-hole. air the arc limestones, latter. Superheated pumped which Liquid it steam and compressed pipes and along of into melt ring surenorthrough contain sulphur and in double sulphur, rises the

s p a c e in t h e p i p e s face where rectangular

pours out to the form

hardens

Again a metal sulphide mous h a s b e c o m e t h e s o u r c e of sulphur and a g a i n t h e l a t e of

monoliths

sulphuric

acid

has

changed.

I a m t e l l i n g y o u this to s h o w y o u h o w i n t r i c a t e l y c r e a t i v e i d e a s s o m e t i m e s c h a n g e t h e use of a s u b s t a n c e i n i n d u s t r y . T h e s e n e w m e t h o d s will r e m a i n in t h e h i s t o r y of s c i c n c e ; t h e y h a v e r a d i c a l l y c h a n g e d q

.'•latches

drugs

fertilizer Insecticides
Faner Use of sulphur in various branches of industry •Jvim

the techniques of sulphur extraction and have influenced certain production relations. It is. not without reason that one of the Italian journals wrote that the new methods "killed" the population of Sicily forcing it to starve by growing oranges on its poor plantations and grazing goats in its parched mountain pastures.

CALCIUM—SYMBOL OF DURABILITY
O n e day, as I was passing through Xovorossiisk, I was askec! bv a group of engineers and technicians working at the large cement plants located near the city to lecture at their club on limestones and marls which are the principal raw materials for cement. I had to tell them that I did not know anv-thing about the subject. I knew very well that various kinds of limestones formed the basis of lime and cement; I also knew how valuable good lime and cement were: 1 told them how hard it was to get these two necessarv products for the construction jobs in the North. Simple lime w as usuallv ordered from the Valdai Hills fifteen hundred kilometres awav from the construction sites, while cement came from Xovorossiisk in a roundabout way, across the Black, Aegean and Mediterranean seas, and the Atlantic and Arctic oceans: I told them that that was why I vcrv well understood how terribly important lime was to life and construction, but that personally I never had anything to do with limestones and knew nothing about them. " Then tell us about calcium," one of the engineers said, thus emphasizing that the metal known as calcium was the basis of all limestones. "Tell us about this metal from the point of view of geochemistry, its properties, its fate, where and how it accumulates, and why it is precisely this element that creates the beautv of marbles and imparts such valuable technical properties to limestones and cement marls." I gave them a lecture on this subject, and this is how the story of calcium atoms in the universe, which 1 am going to tell vou, came about.

G e n e r a l v i e w of a c e m e n t

plant

I t o l d t h e m t h a t since t h e y w e r e w o r k i n g i n t h e c e m e n t i n d u s t r y , t h e i n d u s t r y of b i n d i n g s u b s t a n c e s , o n e of t h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t b r a n c h e s of t h e b u i l d i n g i n d u s t r y , t h e h i s t o r y of c a l c i u m a t o m s s h o u l d b e of special i n t e r e s t t o t h e m . Chemists occupies a it consists trons, a n d trons. a n d physicists say t h a t i n M e n d e l e y e v ' s s y s t e m c a l c i u m v e r y specific p l a c e u n d e r n u m b e r 20. T h i s m e a n s t h a t of a n u c l e u s , i.e., m i n u t e s t p a r t i c l e s — p r o t o n s a n d n e u t w e n t y f r e e n e g a t i v e l y c h a r g e d p a r t i c l e s k n o w n as elec-

N u m b e r 4 0 d e n o t e s t h e a t o m i c w e i g h t of this e l e m e n t l o c a t e d in t h e f o u r t h series of t h e s e c o n d g r o u p of M e n d e l e y e v ' s s y s t e m . T o f o r m s t a b l e m o l e c u l e s in its c o m p o u n d s it r e q u i r e s t w o n e g a t i v e c h a r g e s . As t h e c h e m i s t s say, it h a s a v a l e n c e of t w o . Y o u m u s t h a v e n o t i c e d t h a t i n w h a t I said I u s e d figures w h i c h a r e m u l t i p l i e s of f o u r . I n g e o c h e m i s t r y t h e s e a r e v e r y i m p o r t a n t n u m b e r s . W e k n o w t h a t in life, t o o , w h e n w e w a n t t o m a k e s o m e t h i n g s t a b l e w e a l w a y s use t h e s e n u m b e r s ; f o r e x a m p l e , a
134

t a b l e has l o u r legs. A s t a b l e b o d y , a n y s t r u c t u r e , is usual!) m e t r i c a l so t h a t t h e r i g h t a n d t h e left h a l v e s a r e s i m i l a r .

sym-

T h e n u m b e r s 2, 4, 20 a n d 4 0 tell us t h a t c a l c i u m a t o m s a r e exc e p t i o n a l l y s t a b l e , a n d w e d o n o t k n o w y e t h o w m a n y h u n d r e d s ol millions of d e g r e e s it w o u l d t a k e to d e s t r o y this d u r a b l e s t r u c t u r e of t h e small n u c l e u s a n d t h e g r o u p of t h e t w e n t y n e g a t i v e p l a n e t s s p e e d i n g a r o u n d it. A n d as t h e a s t r o p h y s i c i s t s b e g i n to u n d e r s t a n d t h e s t r u c t u r e of t h e e n t i r e w o r l d t h e e n o r m o u s p a r t t h e c a l c i u m a t o m s h a v e p l a v e d in t h e u n i v e r s e c o m e s i n c r e a s i n g l y to t h e lore. M e r e is t h e c o r o n a d u r i n g a s o l a r eclipse. E v e n t h e n a k e d eye c a n see t h e i m m e n s e p r o m i n e n c e s , t h e e x t r u s i o n of r e d - h o t s p e e d i n g p a n i c l e s of m e t a l s for a d i s t a n c e of h u n d r e d s of t h o u s a n d s ol k i l o m e t r e s : c a l c i u m plays t h e p r i n c i p a l p a r t a m o n g these. P e r f e c t m e t h o d s h a v e n o w e n a b l e d o u r a s t r o n o m e r s t o find o u t w h a t fills t h e i n t e r p l a n e t a r y spaces. The e n t i r e s p a c e a m i d t h e d i s p e r s e d stellar n e b u l a e is p i e r c e d by s p e e d i n g light a t o m s of c e r t a i n c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s , a n d it is a g a i n c a l c i u m w h i c h a l o n g w i t h s o d i u m plavs a b i g p a r t a m o n g t h e m . A n d t h e n o b e v i n g t h e laws of g r a v i t y c e r t a i n s p e e d i n g p a r t i c l e s ol t h e u n i v e r s e t r a v e l l i n g t h e i r i n t r i c a t e r o u t e s c o m e (lying to o u r e a r t h . T h e v fall in t h e f o r m ol m e t e o r i t e s , a n d a g a i n c a l c i u m plays a t r e m e n d o u s p a r t in t h e m . O n o u r e a r t h , too, w e c o u l d h a r d l y t h i n k of a n y m e t a l of g r e a t e r i m p o r t a n c e to t h e f o r m a t i o n of t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t a n d t h e c r e a t i o n of life a n d t e c h n i c a l progress. As f a r b a c k as t h e t i m e w h e n t h e m o l t e n masses boiled o n t h e s u r l a c e of t h e e a r t h , w h e n t h e h e a v y v a p o u r s g r a d u a l l y s e p a r a t e d o u t a n d t h e a t m o s p h e r e f o r m e d , a n d w h e n t h e first d r o p s of w a t e r c o n d e n s e d a n d c r e a t e d t h e g r e a t o c e a n s a n d seas, c a l c i u m , t o g e t h e r w i t h its f r i e n d m a g n e s i u m , w h i c h is as d e n s e a n d s t r o n g a n d as e v e n - n u m b e r e d .in e l e m e n t (its n u m b e r is 12), is o n e of t h e most i m p o r t a n t m e t a l s on e a r t h . In t h e d i f f e r e n t rocks, w h i c h p o u r e d o u t to t h e s u r l a c e or h a r d e n e d in t h e i n t e r i o r , t h e a t o m s of c a l c i u m a n d m a g n e s i u m p l a y e d a special p a r t . T h e floor of t h e l a r g e o c e a n s , especially t h e Pacific, a r e still p a v e d w i t h basalt in w h i c h c a l c i u m a t o m s a r e v e r v i m p o r t a n t , a n d w e k n o w t h a t o u r c o n t i n e n t s float on this basalt b e d w h i c h f o r m s a sort ol t h i n , h a r d crust 011 t h e m e l t s ol t h e i n t e r i o r .
( i e o c h e m i s t s h a v e ev e n e s t i m a t e d erust includes | per cent that t h e c o m p o s i t i o n ol t h e 2 per cent earth's by calcium and magnesium

Marble quarry

weight. T h e y have linked the laws of calcium dispersion with the remarkable properties of the calcium atom itself, with the even number of its electrons and with the wonderful stability of this beautiful and perfect structure. Immediately after the formation of the earth's crust these atoms began their complicated migrations. At that time of the distant past volcanic eruptions'brought out large masses of carbon dioxide to the exterior. T h e heavy clouds of the atmosphere saturated with vapours of water and carbon dioxide surrounded the earth and destroyed the earth's surface removing the still hot masses of the earth in the wild primary storms. Thus, the most interesting stage in the history of migrations of calcium atoms began. With carbon dioxide calcium yielded strong, stable compounds. In a surplus of carbon dioxide the calcium carbonate was transported by water; with a loss of carbon dioxide it was deposited in the form of a white crystalline powder. T h a t is how the thick layers of limestones were formed. Wherever the sediments on the surface of the earth accumulated the remains of clays, layers of marls were deposited. T h e stormy movements of the molten underground masses, which broke into the layers of limestone, roasted them with their vapours at a temperature of thousands of degrees and transformed them into the snowwhite mountains of marble whose proud peaks blend with the snow. And then out of some complex clusters of carbon compounds came the first lumps of organic matter. These jelly-like colloid masses resembling the medusas of our Black Sea gradually grew more complex and new properties, properties of the living cells, arose. T h e great laws of evolution, the struggle for existence and for the further development of the genus rendered these molecules more complex, led them to new combinations and

C o r a l p o l y p s in t h e o c e a n

37

new properties arose on the basis of the' great laws of the organic world. Life was gradually taking form, first as simple cells in the hot seas and oceans, then as more complex multi-cellular organisms all the way up to man, the most perfect organism on earth. This gradual complication in the growth of each organism always reflected the struggle for the creation of a strong and stable body. I n a number of cases the soft and clastic body of an animal could not resist its enemies who tore it to pieces and destroyed it at each step. I n the process of gradual evolution organic substance increasingly strove to protect itself. W h a t was required was either some impenetrable shell around the soft body to hide the animal, t.t r ,• N e s t s of w h i t e
built of Africa ants-termitescarbonate.

„ ,

or a strong internal frame,' the thing we &

call a skeleton, so that the soft body might hold firmly on the hard bones. And the history of 1 life shows us that in this search for a hard and durable material calcium has played a very specific part. Calcium phosphate was the first to be drawn into the shells and the first shells encountered in the earth's crust were made of the mineral known as apatite. It was not the best way, however. Phosphorus is needed for life itself and its reserves are not everywhere so large as to enable the animal to build a strong shell. T h e history of the development of the animal and plant world has shown that it is of greater advantage to build the strong parts from other insoluble compounds—opal, b a r i u m sulphate and strontium sulphate, but calcium carbonate proved the most suitable material. True, phosphorus proved no less necessary, and as various types of molluscs and crawfish, as well as unicellular organisms started to make extensive use of calcium Shell of a ' f r e s h - w a t e r m o l l u s c used carbonate for their pretty shells the f o r m a n u f a c t u r e of b u t t o n s
calcium
138

skeletal p a r t s of t e r r e s t r i a l a n i m a l s b e g a n t o b e b u i l t of p h o s p h a t e s . T h e b o n e s of m a n o r of l a r g e a n i m a l s a r e m a d e of c a l c i u m p h o s p h a t e w h i c h i n its n a t u r e v e r y m u c h r e s e m b l e s o u r m i n e r a l a p a t i t e . B u t i n t h e f o r m e r , as well as i n t h e l a t t e r case, c a l c i u m h a s played a n appreciable part. T h e only d i f f e r e n c e is t h a t t h e s k e l e t o n of m a n w a s b e i n g b u i l t of t h e p h o s p h a t e of this m e t a l , w h i l e t h e shells w e r e b u i l t m a i n l y of its c a r b o n a t e . I t is h a r d t o t h i n k of a m o r e r e markable picture than the one that p r e s e n t s itself t o a n a t u r a l i s t as h e c o m e s to t h e coast of, say, t h e M e d iterranean.

Shells

of

molluscs

arc

extracted

f r o m t h e sea by d r a g g i n g . U s e d in I remember w h e n as a y o u n g t h e c e m e n t i n d u s t r y as p u r e CaCC>3 geologist I f o u n d m y s e l f f o r t h e first a n d f o r t h e m a n u f a c t u r e of b u t t o n s t i m e o n t h e r o c k y s h o r e of N e r v i , near Genoa. I was amazed at the b e a u t y a n d m u l t i f o r m i t y of shells, p a r t i - c o l o u r e d s e a w e e d s , h e r m i t c r a b s w i t h t h e i r b e a u t i f u l little l i m e s t o n e h o m e s , v a r i o u s molluscs, w h o l e colonies of sea-mosses a n d v a r i o u s l i m e s t o n e corals.

I w a s c o m p l e t e l y i m m e r s e d i n this w o n d e r f u l w o r l d of t r a n s p a r e n t b l u i s h w a t e r t h r o u g h w h i c h I c o u l d see i r r i d e s c e n t c o m p o u n d s of t h e s a m e c a l c i u m c a r b o n a t e . B u t m y r e v e r i e s i n this n e w w o r l d w e r e i n t e r r u p t e d by a n e n o r m o u s octopus, w h i c h c a m e u p to our rock unnoticed, a n d I b e g a n t o t e a s e it w i t h a stick. C a l c i u m a c c u m u l a t e d i n shells a n d s k e l e t o n s o n t h e floors of sea b a s i n s in h u n d r e d s of t h o u s a n d s of f o r m s . T h e r e t h e i n t r i c a t e r e m a i n s of d e a d o r g a n i s m s f o r m e d w h o l e c e m e t e r i e s of c a l c i u m c a r b o n a t e , t h e f o u n d a t i o n of n e w r o c k , e n t i r e f u t u r e m o u n t a i n r a n g e s . A n d n o w w h e n w e a d m i r e t h e m u l t i f o r m i t y of m a r b l e c o l o u r s w h i c h decorate o u r architectural structures, or delight at the beautiful grey o r w h i t e m a r b l e of t h e s w i t c h b o a r d at a n e l e c t r i c s t a t i o n , o r g o d o w n t h e stairs of o u r M e t r o w i t h t h e i r y e l l o w - b r o w n steps m a d e of t h e Shevardino marble-like limestone found near Moscow, we must not
39

f o r g e t t h a t t h e basis f o r all t h e s e e n o r m o u s a c c u m u l a t i o n s of l i m e s t o n e w a s laid b y a s m a l l l i v i n g cell a n d b y t h e c o m p l e x c h e m i c a l r e a c t i o n which catches the dispersed calcium a t o m s in sea-water, changes t h e m i n t o h a r d c r y s t a l l i n e s k e l e t o n s a n d fibres of c a l c i u m m i n e r a l s t h a t w e r e g i v e n t h e n a m e s of c a l c i t e a n d a r a g o n i t e . B u t w e k n o w t h a t t h e m i g r a t i o n s of c a l c i u m a t o m s d o n o t e n d w i t h that. T h e w a t e r s dissolve t h e c a l c i u m a g a i n a n d its s p h e r i c a l i o n s r e s u m e their migrations in the earth's crust in complex a q u e o u s solutions n o w f o r m i n g so-called h a r d , c a l c i u m - r i c h w a t e r s , n o w p r e c i p i t a t i n g t o g e t h e r w i t h s u l p h u r i n t h e f o r m of g y p s u m a n d n o w c r y s t a l l i z i n g i n t o s t a l a c t i t e s a n d s t a l a g m i t e s , t h e c o m p l e x f a n t a s t i c f o r m a t i o n s in l i m e s t o n e caves. T h e n b e g i n s t h e last s t a g e in t h e h i s t o r y of c a l c i u m - a t o m m i g r a t i o n s : m a n t a k e s possession of c a l c i u m . H e n o t o n l y uses m a r b l e s a n d l i m e s t o n e s

T h e M a r b l e P a l a c e , L e n i n g r a d b r a n c h of t h e L e n i n M u s e u m . W i t h t h e of t h e g r o u n d 140 floor (built of g r a n i t e ) constructed

exception marble

entirely f r o m Russian

in their p u r e form, b u t in the l a r g e f u r n a c e s of t h e c e m e n t p l a n t s a n d i n t h e l i m e kilns h e releases c a l c i u m f r o m t h e p o w e r of c a r b o n d i o x i d e a n d c r e a t e s l a r g e a m o u n t s of c e m e n t a n d lime without which we would have no industry. I n t h e m o s t c o m p l e x processes of p h a r m a c e u t i c a l , o r g a n i c a n d inorganic chemistry calcium plays an enormous part and determines t h e s e processes i n t h e labor a t o r i e s of c h e m i s t s , t e c h n o l o g i s t s a n d m e t a l l u r g i s t s . B u t e v e n this n o l o n g e r satisfies m a n . T h e r e is t o o m u c h c a l c i u m a r o u n d us a n d this s t a b l e a t o m c a n b e u s e d f o r S c u l p t u r e of a girl. M a d e of w h i t e U r a l s even finer chemical reactions; m a r b l e by S. K o n e n k o v m a n s p e n d s scores of t h o u s a n d s of k i l o w a t t s of e l e c t r i c p o w e r o n i t : h e n o t o n l y frees t h e c a l c i u m a t o m s in l i m e s t o n e f r o m t h e c a r b o n d i o x i d e , b u t also severs its b o n d w i t h o x y g e n a n d p r o d u c e s it in its p u r e f o r m , i.e., in t h e f o r m of a s h i n y , s p a r k l i n g , soft a n d resilient m e t a l w h i c h b u r n s in t h e a i r a n d c o v e r s itself w i t h a w h i t e film of t h e same lime. A n d it is p r e c i s e l y this a f f i n i t y f o r o x y g e n , this close a n d s t r o n g b o n d w h i c h is e s t a b l i s h e d b e t w e e n t h e a t o m s of t h e c a l c i u m , m e t a l a n d t h e a t o m s of o x y g e n t h a t m a n m a k e s use of. H e i n t r o d u c e s t h e m e t a l l i c a t o m s of c a l c i u m i n t o m o l t e n i r o n a n d i n s t e a d of u s i n g v a r i o u s o t h e r c o m p l e x d e o x i d i z e r s a n d a n u m b e r of m e t h o d s of p u r i f y i n g p i g i r o n a n d steel f r o m h a r m f u l gases h e m a k e s t h e m e t a l l i c a t o m s of c a l c i u m d o this w o r k b y u t i l i z i n g t h e m i n o p e n - h e a r t h a n d b l a s t furnaces. T h u s t h e m i g r a t i o n of this e l e m e n t is r e s u m e d ; its m e t a l l i c p a r t i c l e s d o not sparkle long for they a r e a g a i n t r a n s f o r m e d into c o m p l e x oxygen c o m p o u n d s m o r e s t a b l e o n tfye s u r f a c e of o u r e a r t h . A s y o u see, t h e h i s t o r y of c a l c i u m a t o m s is m u c h m o r e c o m p l i c a t e d
141

Kaluzhskaya Urals marble

Station

of t h e M o s c o w

U n d e r g r o u n d . T h e walls are f a t e d

with

white

R y e l o r u s s k a y a S t a t i o n of the M o s c o w U n d e r g r o u n d . T h e c o l u m n s a r e m a d e of w h i t e m a r b l e , t h e w a l l s a n d t h e m o s a i c floor a r c l a i d o u t of m u l t i - c o l o u r e d d o m e s t i c m a r b l e s

t h a n w e t h i n k ; it w o u l d be difficult to find a n o t h e r c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t w h i c h t r a v e l s s u c h i n t r i c a t e r o u t e s in s p a c e a n d w h i c h d e t e r m i n e s m o r e i m p o r t a n t m o m e n t s in t h e o r i g i n of o u r w o r l d s a n d in o u r ind u s t r i a l life. W e m u s t n o t f o r g e t t h a t c a l c i u m is o n e of t h e m o s t v i g o r o u s a n d m o b i l e a t o m s in t h e u n i v e r s e , t h a t it h a s u n l i m i t e d possibilities of c o m b i n i n g i n t o c r y s t a l l i n e s t r u c t u r e s a n d t h a t m a n will m a k e m a n y n e w d i s c o v e r i e s in w h i c h h e will b e a b l e t o use these m o b i l e g l o b u l e s for developing n e w materials for b u i l d i n g a n d industry p e r h a p s never b e f o r e e q u a l l e d in s t r e n g t h . B u t this still r e q u i r e s a lot of w o r k a n d a g r e a t e r insight i n t o t h e n a t u r e of this a t o m . T o m a k e a g o o d g e o c h e i n i s t a n d b e a b l e to c h a r t a n e w c o u r s e in g e o l o g y o n e m u s t b e a t h o u g h t f u l c h e m i s t a n d physicist a n d a n e x p e r t in g e o l o g y . T o b e a g o o d t e c h n o l o g i s t a n d u n d e r s t a n d t h e n e w w a y s of i n d u s t r y , t h e p a t h s w h i c h will lead to b r i l l i a n t victories o v e r n a t u r e a n d t o t h e w i d e s t possible u t i l i z a t i o n of t h e m o s t a b u n d a n t e l e m e n t s of t h e e a r t h , o n e h a s to m a s t e r t h e sciences of c h e m i s t r y , physics, g e o l o g y a n d g e o c h e m i s t r y .

POTASSIUM—BASIS OF PLANT LIFE
P o t a s s i u m is a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l k a l i e l e m e n t w h i c h o c c u p i e s a r a t h e r l o w p l a c e i n t h e first g r o u p of M e n d e l e y e v ' s P e r i o d i c T a b l e . I t is a t y p i c a l o d d e l e m e n t b e c a u s e its c h a r a c t e r i s t i c i n d i c e s a r e o d d ; its a t o m i c n u m b e r , i.e., t h e n u m b e r of e l e c t r o n s c o n s t i t u t i n g its e l e c t r o n shell is 19 a n d its a t o m i c w e i g h t is 39. I t f o r m s s t r o n g b o n d s o n l y w i t h o n e a t o m of a h a l o i d , f o r e x a m p l e , c h l o r i n e ; it is, as w e say, u n i v a l e n t . As a n o d d e l e m e n t p o t a s s i u m is a t t h e s a m e t i m e c h a r a c t e r i z e d b y t h e c o n s i d e r a b l e size of its c h a r g e d s p h e r i c a l p a r t i c l e s a n d this t o g e t h e r w i t h t h e i r o d d n u m b e r is r e s p o n s i b l e f o r t h e i r c o n s t a n t t e n d e n c y to m i g r a t i o n a n d t h e i r s p e c i a l m o b i l i t y . N o w o n d e r , t h e r e f o r e , t h a t t h e e n t i r e h i s t o r y of p o t a s s i u m in t h e e a r t h is c o n n e c t e d , like t h e f a t e of its f r i e n d s o d i u m , w i t h e x c e p t i o n a l mobility a n d complex transformations. It forms m o r e t h a n one h u n d r e d m i n e r a l s in t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t a n d , in s m a l l a m o u n t s , p a r t of a h u n d r e d o t h e r m i n e r a l species. Its a v e r a g e c o n t e n t in t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t is close to 2.5 p e r c e n t . T h i s is a l a r g e figure a n d it shows t h a t a l o n g w i t h sodium a n d calcium potassium belongs to the elements which prevail in t h e e a r t h . T h e h i s t o r y of p o t a s s i u m in t h e c o m p l e x g e o l o g i c a l p a s t of o u r p l a n e t is v e r y i n t e r e s t i n g . I t h a s b e e n s t u d i e d in d e t a i l a n d w e c a n n o w t r a c e the entire course traversed by potassium atoms until they complete t h e i r c o m p l e x life cycle a n d r e t u r n to t h e b e g i n n i n g of t h e i r m i g r a t i o n s . W h e n t h e m o l t e n m a g m a s h a r d e n in t h e i n t e r i o r of t h e e a r t h a n d individual elements are distributed according to their mobility, a c c o r d i n g to t h e i r a b i l i t y to m i g r a t e , t o f o r m v o l a t i l e gases or m o b i l e f u s i b l e p a r t i c l e s w e find p o t a s s i u m a m o n g t h e m . It d o e s n o t p r e c i p i t a t e in
'44

t h e first c r y s t a l s w h i c h a r e f o r m e d b e f o r e o t h e r s in t h e i n t e r i o r of o u r e a r t h ; w e s c a r c e l y e n c o u n t e r it i n g r e e n o l i v i n e - c o n t a i n i n g P l u t o n i c r o c k s w h i c h m a k e u p c o n t i n u o u s z o n e s of t h e e a r t h ' s i n t e r i o r . E v e n i n t h e b a s a l t m a s s e s w h i c h f o r m t h e o c e a n floor w e e n c o u n t e r n o m o r e t h a n 0.3 per cent potassium. I n t h e c o u r s e of t h e c o m p l e x c r y s t a l l i z a t i o n of m o l t e n m a g m a s t h e m o r e m o b i l e a t o m s of t h e e a r t h a c c u m u l a t e i n t h e i r u p p e r p a r t s ; h e r e w e find m o r e of t h e s m a l l h e a v i l y - c h a r g e d i o n s of silicon a n d a l u m i n i u m ; h e r e w e also h a v e m a n y o d d a t o m s of t h e alkalis p o t a s s i u m a n d s o d i u m a n d v o l a t i l e w a t e r c o m p o u n d s . T h e r o c k s w e call g r a n i t e s a r e f o r m e d f r o m t h e s e m o l t e n r e m a i n s . T h e y c o v e r v a s t sections of t h e e a r t h ' s s u r f a c e r e p r e s e n t i n g t h e c o n t i n e n t s floating o n b a s a l t s . T h e g r a n i t e s h a r d e n in t h e i n t e r i o r of t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t a n d p o t a s s i u m a c c u m u l a t e s in t h e m in a m o u n t s constituting nearly two per cent, a n d m a i n l y f o r m s p a r t of t h e m i n e r a l w e call f e l d s p a r o r o r t h o c l a s e . P o t a s s i u m is also a c o n s t i t u e n t of t h e w e l l - k n o w n b l a c k a n d w h i t e m i c a s ; i n s o m e p l a c e s it a c c u m u l a t e s i n e v e n g r e a t e r a m o u n t s f o r m i n g

L a k e - s a l t in t h e p o o l of t h e K a r a k o l salt w o r k s , T a j i k S.S.R. 10 145

l a r g e c r y s t a l s of a w h i t e m i n e r a l , c a l l e d l e u c i t e , of w h i c h p a r t i c u l a r l y big quantities are contained in the potassium-rich lavas in Italy w h e r e it is m i n e d f o r t h e p u r p o s e of p r o ducing potassium and aluminium. T h e g r a n i t e s a n d a c i d l a v a s of i g n e o u s r o c k a r e t h u s t h e c r a d l e of potassium atoms on earth. W e know h o w they are destroyed o n t h e s u r f a c e of t h e e a r t h b y w a t e r , A c r o s s t h e salt b e d of L a k e B a s k u n c h a k air a n d the c a r b o n dioxide with which the atmosphere and the water a r e s a t u r a t e d , a n d h o w r o o t s of p l a n t s g r o w t h r o u g h t h e m c o r r o d i n g individual minerals by the acids they liberate. T h o s e w h o h a v e e v e r b e e n in t h e e n v i r o n s of L e n i n g r a d m u s t h a v e s e e n h o w easily g r a n i t e s d i s i n t e g r a t e a t t h e i r o u t c r o p s a n d i n b o u l d e r s , h o w t h e i r m i n e r a l s a r e w e a t h e r e d , t h e r o c k loses its l u s t r e a n d p u r e q u a r t z s a n d s a c c u m u l a t e in t h e f o r m of d u n e s as r e m a i n s of t h e o n c e p o w e r f u l g r a n i t e massifs. F e l d s p a r d i s i n t e g r a t e s a t t h e s a m e t i m e . T h e p o t e n t a g e n t s of t h e e a r t h ' s s u r f a c e e x t r a c t t h e s o d i u m a n d p o t a s s i u m a t o m s f r o m it a n d l e a v e a p e c u l i a r s k e l e t o n of l a m i n a t e d m i n e r a l f o r m i n g c o m p l e x r o c k s w h i c h w e call c l a y . A t this m o m e n t o u r t w o f r i e n d s — p o t a s s i u m a n d s o d i u m — b e g i n t h e i r n e w m i g r a t i o n s . I n c i d e n t a l l y , t h e y a r e f r i e n d s o n l y u n t i l this m o m e n t b e c a u s e a f t e r t h e d e s t r u c t i o n of t h e g r a n i t e e a c h of t h e m b e g i n s l i v i n g its o w n life. S o d i u m is easily w a s h e d o u t b y w a t e r ; t h e r e is n o t h i n g t o r e t a i n its ions i n t h e s u r r o u n d i n g s i l t - c o n t a i n i n g c l a y s a n d sediments. T h e s e ions a r e carried a w a y b y streams a n d rivers i n t o l a r g e seas w h e r e t h e y f o r m t h e s o d i u m c h l o r i d e w h i c h w e call c o m m o n salt a n d w h i c h is t h e p r i n c i p a l i n i t i a l p r o d u c t of o u r e n t i r e chemical industry. B u t p o t a s s i u m h a s a d i f f e r e n t f a t e . I n s e a - w a t e r s w e find it o n l y i n s m a l l q u a n t i t i e s . T h e r e is a b o u t t h e s a m e n u m b e r of s o d i u m a n d p o t a s s i u m a t o m s i n rocks, b u t of o n e t h o u s a n d p o t a s s i u m a t o m s o n l y t w o r e a c h t h e s e a - b a s i n s , w h i l e t h e o t h e r 9 9 8 a r e a b s o r b e d b y t h e soil a n d r e m a i n i n silts a n d i n t h e s e d i m e n t s of m a r s h e s a n d rivers. T h e soil a b s o r b s p o t a s s i u m a n d this c o n s t i t u t e s its m i r a c u l o u s f o r c e .
146

A c a d e m i c i a n K . G e d r o i t z , w e l l - k n o w n soil scientist, w a s t h e first t o d i v i n e t h e g e o c h e m i c a l n a t u r e of t h e soil. H e f o u n d i n it t h e p a r t i cles w h i c h r e t a i n d i f f e r e n t m e t a l s , e s p e c i a l l y p o t a s s i u m , arid d e m o n s t r a t e d t h a t t h e f e r t i l i t y of t h e soil i n l a r g e m e a s u r e d e p e n d e d o n t h e p o t a s s i u m a t o m s w h i c h a r e so l i g h t l y a n d so loosely c o n n e c t e d w i t h it t h a t e a c h p l a n t cell c o u l d a b s o r b t h e s e a t o m s a n d m a k e use of t h e m f o r its o w n life. A n d it is b y a b s o r b i n g t h e s e l i g h t l y - b o u n d , s e e m i n g l y f r e e - h a n g i n g , p o t a s s i u m a t o m s t h a t t h e p l a n t d e v e l o p s its sprouts. R e s e a r c h h a s s h o w n t h a t t h e r o o t s of p l a n t s r e a d i l y e x t r a c t p o t a s s i u m together with sodium and calcium. P l a n t s c a n n o t live w i t h o u t p o t a s s i u m . W e d o n o t k n o w y e t w h y they c a n n o t n o r w h a t p a r t potassium plays in the p l a n t organism, but experiments have shown that without potassium the plants wither a w a y a n d die. I n c i d e n t a l l y , it is n o t o n l y p l a n t s t h a t n e e d p o t a s s i u m ; t h e l a t t e r also f o r m s a n essential p a r t of a n i m a l o r g a n i s m s . T h u s , f o r e x a m p l e , t h e m u s c l e s of m a n c o n t a i n m o r e p o t a s s i u m t h a n s o d i u m . E s p e c i a l l y l a r g e a m o u n t s of p o t a s s i u m a r e c o n t a i n e d i n t h e b r a i n , t h e liver, t h e h e a r t a n d t h e k i d n e y s . I t will b e n o t e d t h a t p o t a s s i u m is p a r t i c u l a r l y i m p o r t a n t d u r i n g t h e g r o w t h a n d d e v e l o p m e n t of t h e o r g a n i s m . T h e h u m a n a d u l t r e q u i r e s m u c h less p o t a s s i u m . P o t a s s i u m b e g i n s o n e of t h e cycles i n its m i g r a t i o n s f r o m t h e soil. I t is e x t r a c t e d f r o m t h e soil b y t h e r o o t s of p l a n t s , is a c c u m u l a t e d i n their dead remains, partly passes i n t o t h e o r g a n i s m of m a n o r a n i m a l s a n d is a g a i n returned with the humus t o t h e soil f r o m w h i c h i t was extracted by a living cell. T h e g r e a t e r p a r t of p o t a s sium travels precisely this route, but individual atoms m a n a g e to reach large oceans a n d t o g e t h e r w i t h o t h e r salts to determine the salinity of s e a - w a t e r , though the
10'

E v a p o r a t i n g p o o l s at t h e Saki S a l t - W o r k s in t h e C r i m e a . T h e b r i n e rich in p o t a s s i u m a n d b r o m i n e is e v a p o r a t e d h e r e

147

l a t t e r c o n t a i n s 4 0 t i m e s as m a n y a t o m s of s o d i u m as p o t a s s i u m . H e r e is w h e r e t h e s e c o n d cycle of t h e m i g r a t i o n s of p o t a s s i u m a t o m s begins. W h e n l a r g e r e g i o n s of o c e a n s b e g i n t o d r y o u t b e c a u s e of t h e m o v e m e n t s of t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t t h e y g i v e rise t o s e p a r a t e s h a l l o w seas, lakes, firths, l a g o o n s a n d b a y s , a n d f o r m s a l t - l a k e s like L a k e S a k i o r t h e lakes n e a r Y e v p a t o r i y a o n t h e B l a c k S e a c o a s t . O n h o t s u m m e r d a y s w a t e r e v a p o r a t e s so g r e a t l y t h a t t h e salt p r e c i p i t a t e s , is c a r r i e d a s h o r e b y w a v e s a n d s o m e t i m e s a c c u m u l a t e s o n t h e b o t t o m of a b s o l u t e l y d r y lakes i n t h e f o r m of a g l i t t e r i n g w h i t e s h e e t . I t will b e o b s e r v e d t h a t t h e salts p r e c i p i t a t e in a c e r t a i n s e q u e n c e : c a l c i u m c a r b o n a t e crystallizes first a n d is f o l l o w e d b y g y p s u m ( c a l c i u m s u l p h a t e ) a n d s o d i u m c h l o r i d e , i.e., c o m m o n salt. A b r i n e w h i c h is g r e a t l y s a t u r a t e d w i t h salts a n d w h i c h is k n o w n as " r a p a " i n t h e S o u t h of t h e U . S . S . R .

V

H a r v e s t i n g in fields f e r t i l i z e d by p o t a s s i u m , p h o s p h o r u s , a n d n i t r o g e n
148

salts

r e m a i n s ; this b r i n e c o n t a i n s scores of p e r c e n t of v a r i o u s salts a n d , especially, salts o f p o t a s s i u m a n d m a g n e s i u m . Potassium h a p p e n s to b e even m o r e mobile t h a n s o d i u m ; the p r o p erties of its l a r g e s p h e r i c a l a t o m s m a n i f e s t t h e m s e l v e s a n d it c o n t i n u e s its m i g r a t i o n s u n t i l a n e v e n h o t t e r s u n e v a p o r a t e s t h e lakes t o t h e v e r y e n d , u n t i l w h i t e a n d r e d p o t a s s i u m salts a r e p r e c i p i t a t e d o n t h e s u r f a c e of salt d e p o s i t s ; it is in t h i s m a n n e r t h a t p o t a s s i u m d e p o s i t s are formed. V e r y l a r g e a c c u m u l a t i o n s of p o t a s s i u m salts, w h i c h m a n so b a d l y n e e d s f o r i n d u s t r y , s o m e t i m e s f o r m in t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t . H e r e it is n o l o n g e r t h e m y s t e r i o u s forces of t h e soil a n d n o t p l a n t s t h a t d e t e r m i n e t h e r o u t e to b e t r a v e l l e d b y p o t a s s i u m ; n o r is it t h e s o u t h e r n s u n t h a t a c c u m u l a t e s it o n t h e s h o r e s of s a l t - l a k e s ; h e r e in i n d u s t r y it is m a n h i m s e l f w h o is t h e a g e n t of t h e n e w a n d e n o r m o u s cycle i n t h e m i g r a t i o n s of its a t o m s . S t u d y i n g t h e r o l e of p o t a s s i u m a n d p h o s p h o r u s in p l a n t s J u s t u s L i e b i g , o n e of t h e g r e a t e s t G e r m a n c h e m i s t s , u t t e r e d t h e f o l l o w i n g w i n g e d w o r d s a b o u t 100 y e a r s a g o : " O u r fields c a n n o t b e fertile w i t h o u t t h e s e t w o e l e m e n t s . " A n i d e a , f a n t a s t i c f o r its t i m e , crossed his m i n d ; i t o c c u r r e d t o h i m p e o p l e s h o u l d f e r t i l i z e t h e i r fields b y a r t i f i c i a l l y introducing various salts—potassium, nitrogen a n d phosphorus—into t h e soil a f t e r e s t i m a t i n g t h e a m o u n t s t h e p l a n t s c o u l d utilize. H i s i d e a w a s m e t w i t h d i s t r u s t b y t h e f a r m i n g p e o p l e of t h e m i d d l e of last c e n t u r y ; it w a s c o n s i d e r e d a " s c i e n t i s t ' s f a n c y , " e s p e c i a l l y since t h e s a l t p e t r e , w h i c h w a s b r o u g h t b y s a i l i n g vessels f r o m S o u t h A m e r i c a a n d w h i c h h e p r o p o s e d f o r u t i l i z a t i o n as fertilizer, w a s excessively e x p e n s i v e a n d f o u n d n o m a r k e t . S o u r c e s of p h o s p h o r u s w e r e u n k n o w n , w h i l e t h e g r i n d i n g of b o n e s p r o p o s e d b y L i e b i g y i e l d e d e x t r e m e l y costly f e r t i l i z e r . P e o p l e d i d n o t k n o w h o w t o m a k e use of p o t a s s i u m a n d o n l y r a r e l y c o l l e c t e d t h e a s h e s of p l a n t s a n d s t r e w e d t h e m o v e r t h e fields. T h e f a r m e r s of t h e U k r a i n e h a v e l o n g b e e n b u r n i n g t h e r e m a i n s of m a i z e stalks a n d s c a t t e r i n g t h e ashes, t h u s o b t a i n e d , a b o u t t h e fields; t h e s i g n i f i c a n c e of t h e s e a s h e s t o t h e c r o p s o c c u r r e d t o t h e m s p o n t a n e o u s l y w i t h o u t t h e a i d of science. M a n y years have have acquired great n o w largely depends soil s u f f i c i e n t a m o u n t s p a s s e d since t h e n a n d p r o b l e m s of f e r t i l i z a t i o n i m p o r t a n c e i n all c o u n t r i e s ; f e r t i l i t y of t h e soil o n w h e t h e r m a n is a b l e t o i n t r o d u c e i n t o t h e of t h e s u b s t a n c e s w h i c h t h e p l a n t s h a v e e x t r a c t e d
49

f r o m it a n d w h i c h m a n h a s t a k e n a w a y f r o m t h e fields i n t h e f o r m of g r a i n , s t r a w a n d f r u i t . I t n o w a p p e a r s t h a t p o t a s s i u m h a s b e c o m e o n e of t h e m o s t n e c e s s a r y e l e m e n t s of f a r m i n g . S u f f i c e it t o say t h a t i n 1940 s u c h c o u n t r i e s as H o l l a n d u s e d u p t o 4 2 t o n s of p o t a s s i u m o x i d e p e r h e c t a r e . T r u e , this figure is m u c h l o w e r i n o t h e r c o u n t r i e s ; o n l y a b o u t f o u r t o n s p e r h e c t a r e is u s e d in America. A n d m a n k i n d h a s f a c e d t h e p r o b l e m of finding l a r g e d e p o s i t s of p o t a s s i u m salts, of l e a r n i n g t o e x t r a c t t h e m a n d t o m a n u f a c t u r e f e r t i l i z e r from them. G e r m a n y l o n g o w n e d t h e w o r l d ' s p o t a s s i u m i n d u s t r y . D e p o s i t s of t h e f a m o u s S t a s s f u r t salts w e r e d i s c o v e r e d o n t h e e a s t e r n slopes of t h e H a r z M o u n t a i n s a n d h u n d r e d s of t h o u s a n d s of t r a i n l o a d s of p o t a s s i u m salts w e r e t r a n s p o r t e d f r o m N o r t h G e r m a n y t o all c o u n t r i e s . T h e o t h e r c o u n t r i e s , f o r w h i c h f a r m i n g w a s a q u e s t i o n of v i t a l i m p o r t a n c e , c o u l d n o t p u t u p w i t h it. N o r t h A m e r i c a s p e n t a lot of t i m e a n d e n e r g y b e f o r e it f o u n d a s m a l l p o t a s s i u m d e p o s i t . T h e F r e n c h m a d e s o m e h e a d w a y b y d i s c o v e r i n g p o t a s s i u m in t h e R h i n e V a l l e y ; w h i l e p o t a s s i u m w a s b e i n g s e a r c h e d f o r t h e p o t a s s i u m m i n e r a l s of t h e i g n e o u s r o c k f o u n d i n I t a l y w e r e m a d e u s e of. B u t all this w a s i n s i g n i f i c a n t c o m p a r e d w i t h t h e a m o u n t s r e q u i r e d b y t h e e x h a u s t e d soils. R u s s i a n e x p l o r e r s t r i e d f o r m a n y y e a r s t o find p o t a s s i u m d e p o s i t s i n R u s s i a . I n d i v i d u a l c o n j e c t u r e s p r o v e d fruitless u n t i l t h e p e r s i s t e n t w o r k of a w h o l e school of y o u n g c h e m i s t s s u p e r v i s e d b y A c a d e m i c i a n N . K u r n a k o v r e s u l t e d in t h e d i s c o v e r y of t h e w o r l d ' s l a r g e s t p o t a s s i u m deposits. T h e d i s c o v e r y w a s a c c i d e n t a l , b u t a c c i d e n t s i n s c i e n c e a r e u s u a l l y t h e r e s u l t of l o n g a n d l a b o r i o u s p r e p a r a t i o n , w h i l e t h e " a c c i d e n t a l d i s c o v e r y " is n e a r l y a l w a y s m e r e l y t h e last s t e p i n t h e l e n g t h y s t r u g g l e f o r t h e e f f e c t u a t i o n of a d e f i n i t e i d e a a n d a r e w a r d f o r a p r o t r a c t e d a n d persistent search. T h i s also h o l d s t r u e of t h e d i s c o v e r y of p o t a s s i u m . A c a d e m i c i a n K u r n a k o v h a d studied t h e c o u n t r y ' s salt-lakes for m a n y decades a n d his m i n d p e r s i s t e n t l y s e a r c h e d f o r t h e r e m a i n s of t h e a n c i e n t p o t a s s i u m lakes. W h i l e w o r k i n g i n t h e l a b o r a t o r y o n t h e c o m p o s i t i o n of salt f r o m old P e r m i a n s a l t - w o r k s N i k o l a i K u r n a k o v n o t i c e d i n s o m e cases a high potassium content. O n a visit t o o n e of t h e s a l t - w o r k s h e o b s e r v e d a s m a l l p i e c e of b r o w n r e d m i n e r a l w h i c h r e m i n d e d h i m of t h e r e d p o t a s s i u m salts, t h e c a r 150

nallites of the G e r m a n deposits. True, the personnel of the saltworks were not sure where this piece had come from and whether it had not been from the collection of the salts they h a d received from Germany. But Academician K u r n a k o v took the piece, put it in his pocket and went to Leningrad. U p o n analysis he found much to everybody's surprise that the piece was potassium chloride.

*

^

m

T h e first strike was made, b u t that was not enough; it was still necessary to prove that this piece of potassium had come from the entrails of the Solikamsk earth and that there were large deposits there. A hole h a d to be bored, some salt extracted under the difficult condiAcadcmician Nikolai Kurnakov tions of the twenties and its com(1860-1941) position studied. P. Preobrazhensky, one of the most prominent geologists of the Geological Committee, undertook to do the work. H e pointed out the necessity of boring deep holes, and soon these holes reached thick layers of potassium salts, thus opening a new era in the history of potassium over the entire surface of the earth. Now that several decades have passed since this discovery the picture of distribution of the potassium reserves among all countries of the world has completely changed. W e find the greater part of these reserves in the Soviet U n i o n ; in terms of potassium oxide Germany owns only 2,500 million tons, Spain—350 million, France—285 million, while America and the other countries have very little potassium. Not all of the potassium deposits in the Soviet Union have been studied, however. It is quite probable that the U.S.S.R. will soon increase its reserves a n d new pictures of potassium migration in the ancient Permian seas 300 to 400 million years ago will be revealed.

This distant past in the geological history of our country is now pictured as follows: T h e ancient Permian Sea covered the entire East of the European part of the Soviet Union. This sea was the shallow southern portion of the ocean that spread over the country from the North. Its separate bays and gulfs reached Arkhangelsk on the White Sea and Novgorod. I n the East the sea bordered on the Urals, while in the southwest its arms stretched as far as the Donets Basin and Kharkov. I n the southeast it reached far south to the regions of the Caspian. Some scientists even believed that in the G e o l o g i s t P. P r e o b r a z h e n s k y (1874-1944) beginning of its existence our Russian Permian Sea merged with the great Thetis Ocean which engirded the earth in the distant past of the Permian epoch. This large ocean gradually grew shallow forming separate lakes along its coast, while the humid climate was replaced by the winds and the sun of the deserts. T h e young Urals Mountains were being destroyed by powerful hot winds; everything was being moved to the shores of the dying Permian Sea. T h e sea was receding to the south. Gypsum and common salt were accumulating in the lakes and firths in the north, while the content of potassium and magnesium salts was increasing in the south. T h e brine which m a n obtains artificially in the sedimentary basins, for example the Saki Lake, was accumulating in the southeast. Separate shallow seas and lakes saturated with residual salts of potassium and magnesium were thus gradually formed. Deposits of potassium salts began to accumulate. Separate potassium deposits hidden under the soil stretch from Solikamsk to the southeast Urals. Everywhere the bore holes r u n into powerful underground lenses of common salt overlaid by potassium salts.
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Sylvinite, a r o c k consisting of l a y e r s of sylvite a n d h a l i t e . S o l i k a m s k d e p o s i t

A small piece of brown-red salt noticed by the keen eye of a scientist in the laboratory of the works thus led to the solution of one of the greatest problems, the problem of potassium. T h e country was now in a position not only fully to provide the fields with fertilizer and to increase their yield, but also to create a new potassium industry and to produce the most diverse potassium salts so indispensable to chemical production. These are potassium hydroxide, carbonate, nitrate, perchlorate, chromate and other diverse compounds increasingly used in the national economy. Large amounts of magnesium are obtained as "waste products" along with potassium; a lustrous light metal is isolated from these waste products by electrolysis, while one of its alloys, known as "electron,"* opens a new page in the field of railway a n d aircraft construction. * The alloy electron should not be confused with the electron which is a particle of negative electricity; this is only an accidental coincidence of terms.
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j T h e c o u n t r y ' s a g r o c h e m i s t s a r e n o w r e a l i z i n g t h e i r d r e a m of p r o m i c i n g e n o u g h p o t a s s i u m o x i d e i n o r d e r f u l l y t o p r o v i d e o u r fields w i t h this v a l u a b l e s u b s t a n c e a n d t o i n c r e a s e t h e i r y i e l d . S u c h is t h e h i s t o r y of p o t a s s i u m i n t h e e a r t h a n d i n t h e h a n d s of man. B u t this e l e m e n t h a s a n o t h e r s m a l l f e a t u r e t o w h i c h w e s h o u l d t u r n o u r a t t e n t i o n . C u r i o u s l y e n o u g h o n e of t h e i s o t o p e s of p o t a s s i u m possesses r a d i o a c t i v e p r o p e r t i e s ( v e r y w e a k , t o b e s u r e ) , i.e., it is u n s t a b l e ; t h i s i s o t o p e e m i t s v a r i o u s r a y s a n d c h a n g e s t o a t o m s of a n o t h e r s u b s t a n c e , w h i c h i n s u b s e q u e n t g r o u p i n g s f o r m s a t o m s of calcium. This p h e n o m e n o n could not b e d e m o n s t r a t e d for a long time, b u t it t u r n e d o u t l a t e r t h a t this v e r y p o t a s s i u m - 4 0 r e a l l y p l a y e d a n i m p o r t a n t p a r t i n t h e life of t h e e a r t h b e c a u s e c o n s i d e r a b l e a m o u n t s of h e a t w e r e l i b e r a t e d d u r i n g t h e t r a n s f o r m a t i o n of t h e u n s t a b l e p o t a s s i u m a t o m s i n t o a t o m s of c a l c i u m . S o v i e t r a d i o l o g i s t s h a v e e s t i m a t e d t h a t a t least 20 p e r c e n t of t h e h e a t f o r m e d i n t h e e a r t h u n d e r t h e i n f l u e n c e of a t o m i c d i s i n t e g r a t i o n is p r o d u c e d b y t h e salts of p o t a s s i u m a n d , h e n c e , t h e e n o r m o u s r o l e p l a y e d b y t h e d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of t h e p o t a s s i u m a t o m s i n t h e t h e r m a l r e s o u r c e s of t h e e a r t h . N a t u r a l l y , biologists a n d physiologists t r i e d t o find o u t t h e i m p o r t a n c e of t h e s e p r o p e r t i e s t o t h e life of t h e p l a n t itself a n d g a v e e x p r e s s i o n t o t h e i d e a t h a t t h e m i r a c u l o u s a n d as y e t i n c o m p r e h e n s i b l e l o v e of t h e p l a n t s f o r p o t a s s i u m w a s d u e t o t h e f a c t t h a t b y t h e i r r a d i a t i o n s t h e a t o m s of p o t a s s i u m e x e r t e d s o m e s p e c i a l i n f l u e n c e o n t h e life a n d g r o w t h of t h e cell. M a n y e x p e r i m e n t s w e r e c o n d u c t e d i n t h i s d i r e c t i o n b u t so f a r t h e y h a v e f a i l e d t o p r o d u c e a n y d e f i n i t e results. T h e s e d i s i n t e g r a t i n g a t o m s of p o t a s s i u m a n d t h e i r r a d i a t i o n s i n all p r o b a b i l i t y p l a y a s i g n i f i c a n t p a r t a n d a r e r e s p o n s i b l e f o r a n u m b e r of p e c u l i a r i t i e s i n t h e g r o w t h a n d d e v e l o p m e n t of t h e l i v i n g cell a n d of t h e w h o l e organism. S u c h a r e t h e p a g e s f r o m t h e g e o c h e m i s t r y of p o t a s s i u m , this o d d , m i g r a t i n g c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t . S u c h is t h e h i s t o r y of its m i g r a t i o n s a n d cycle o n e a r t h . A s i m i l a r s t o r y of m i g r a t i o n s i n t h e i n t e r i o r of t h e e a r t h , o n its s u r face a n d in industry c a n b e told a b o u t every chemical element, b u t f o r m a n y of t h e m i n d i v i d u a l s t a g e s i n t h e i r h i s t o r y still e s c a p e t h e
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s c r u t i n y of t h e i n v e s t i g a t o r ; o n l y s e p a r a t e h i s t o r i c a l e x c e r p t s c a n n o w b e w r i t t e n f o r m a n y e l e m e n t s , a n d it is u p t o t h e g e o c h e m i s t of t h e f u t u r e t o c o m b i n e t h e m i n t o a h a r m o n i o u s a n d c o n s i s t e n t s t o r y . T h e h i s t o r y of p o t a s s i u m is m o r e o b v i o u s b e c a u s e all t h e e p o c h s i n t h e life of this i m p o r t a n t e l e m e n t a r e c l e a r t o us. N o t o n l y d o w e k n o w its h i s t o r y , b u t w e also h a v e i n o u r h a n d s a p o w e r f u l i n s t r u m e n t f o r f i n d i n g its d e p o s i t s a n d f o r t h e t e c h n o l o g y of its u s e ; t h e o n l y t h i n g t h a t is still m y s t e r i o u s t o us is t h e r o l e it plays in the living organism, p e r h a p s the most interesting a n d most i m p o r t a n t p a g e i n its h i s t o r y .

IRON AND THE IRON AGE
I r o n is n o t o n l y t h e m a i n m e t a l i n n a t u r e ; it is t h e basis of c u l t u r e a n d i n d u s t r y , t h e i n s t r u m e n t of w a r a n d of p e a c e f u l l a b o u r . I t w o u l d be h a r d t o find in M e n d e l e v e v ' s P e r i o d i c T a b l e a n o t h e r e l e m e n t so b o u n d u p w i t h t h e p a s t , p r e s e n t a n d f u t u r e f o r t u n e s of m a n . P l i n y t h e E l d e r , o n e of t h e first m i h e r a l o g i s t s of a n c i e n t R o m e , w h o d i e d in 79 A . D . d u r i n g t h e e r u p t i o n of V e s u v i u s , s m o t h e r e d b y " t h e a s h e s a n d d u s t e r u p t e d b y a firir-breathing m o u n t a i n " as t h e R u s s i a n m i n e r alogist V a s i l y S e v e r g i n w r o t e a b o u t h i m m o r e t h a n 100 y e a r s a g o , expressed himself very beautifully a b o u t iron. I n his fine t r a n s l a t i o n w e r e a d s o m e b r i l l i a n t p a g e s f r o m t h e h i s t o r y of i r o n as it o c c u r r e d t o P l i n y : " I r o n ores give m a n a n excellent a n d a t t h e same time a most h a r m f u l instrument. I t is b y m e a n s of this i n s t r u m e n t t h a t w e till t h e e a r t h , p l a n t b u s h e s , cultivate fruit-bearing orchards and by shearing wild vines m a k e t h e m grow younger with each passing year. I t is also w i t h this i n s t r u m e n t t h a t w e b u i l d h o u s e s , c r u s h s t o n e s a n d use iron for m a n y similar purposes. But it is w i t h t h e s a m e i r o n t h a t w e fight b a t t l e s a n d l o o t ; a n d w e u s e it n o t o n l y close-by, b u t also t h r o w it b y s t r o n g h a n d o r s h o o t it in t h e form of f e a t h e r e d a r r o w s . T h e c o n t r i v a n c e s of t h e h u m a n m i n d a r e , in m y A l c h e m i c a l symbol f o r iron used opinion, t h e most vicious thing. I n
in t h e M i d d l e A g e s
156

Picture of an old iron works (19th century)

o r d e r t h a t m a n b e killed t h e s o o n e r , d e a t h h a s b e e n g i v e n w i n g s a n d f e a t h e r s h a v e b e e n a t t a c h e d t o i r o n . M a n a l o n e a n d n o t n a t u r e is to b l a m e for this." S i n c e a b o u t t h e f o u r t h m i l l e n n i u m B. G., w h e n m a n first m a s t e r e d t h i s m e t a l , t h e s t r u g g l e f o r i r o n h a s n e v e r c e a s e d i n t h e h i s t o r y of m a n . I n t h e b e g i n n i n g m a n m a y h a v e p i c k e d u p t h e s t o n e s t h a t fell f r o m t h e sky ( m e t e o r i t e s ) a n d m a d e his w a r e s f r o m t h e m , like t h e A z t e c s of M e x i c o , t h e I n d i a n s of N o r t h A m e r i c a , t h e E s k i m o s i n G r e e n l a n d a n d t h e i n h a b i t a n t s of t h e N e a r E a s t . I t is n o t w i t h o u t r e a s o n t h a t t h e a n c i e n t A r a b l e g e n d tells us t h a t i r o n is of celestial o r i g i n . I n t h e l a n g u a g e of t h e C o p t s it is e v e n c a l l e d " s k y - s t o n e " ; r e i t e r a t i n g t h e a n c i e n t E g y p t i a n l e g e n d s t h e A r a b s u s e d t o s a y t h a t d r o p s of g o l d fell f r o m t h e sky t o t h e A r a b i a n D e s e r t ; o n e a r t h this g o l d c h a n g e d t o silver a n d t h e n t o b l a c k i r o n as p u n i s h m e n t t o t h e t r i b e s t h a t f o u g h t f o r t h e possession of t h e h e a v e n l y g i f t . I t was a long t i m e before iron could be extensively used because it w a s d i f f i c u l t t o s m e l t it o u t of t h e o r e s a n d t h e r e w e r e v e r y f e w stones, i . e . , m e t e o r i t e s , f a l l i n g f r o m t h e sky.
57

O n l y i n t h e first m i l l e n n i u m A . D . d i d m a n l e a r n t o s m e l t i r o n o r e s a n d t h e b r o n z e a g e w a s r e p l a c e d b y t h e i r o n a g e w h i c h in t h e h i s t o r y of c u l t u r e h a s l a s t e d t o - d a t e . I n t h e c o m p l e x h i s t o r y of t h e p e o p l e s t h e s t r u g g l e f o r i r o n , as also for gold, has always p l a y e d a n e n o r m o u s role, b u t n e i t h e r the m e d i e v a l metallurgists n o r the alchemists could gain real mastery over the m e t a l ; m a n b e g a n t o m a s t e r i r o n o n l y i n t h e 19th c e n t u r y , a n d it g r a d u a l l y b e c a m e o n e of t h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t m e t a l s i n i n d u s t r y . A s m e t a l l u r g y developed, t h e small primitive iron-smelting f u r n a c e s w e r e r e p l a c e d b y b l a s t - f u r n a c e s w h i c h g a v e rise t o g i a n t m e t a l l u r g i c a l p l a n t s w i t h a c a p a c i t y of t h o u s a n d s of t o n s . T h e i r o n - o r e d e p o s i t s h a v e b e c o m e t h e basis of t h e w e a l t h of i n d i v i d u a l c o u n t r i e s . T h e e n o r m o u s i r o n r e s e r v e s of s e v e r a l t h o u s a n d million tons in L o r r a i n e were t h e reason for t h e struggle a m o n g the c a p i t a l i s t s . W e k n o w t h a t in t h e s e v e n t i e s of last c e n t u r y F r a n c e a n d G e r m a n y f o u g h t f o r t h e possession of t h e v a s t o r e r e s e r v e s of t h e R h i n e deposits. W e witnessed t h e episodes in t h e struggle b e t w e e n E n g l a n d a n d G e r m a n y f o r K i i r u n a v a a r a , this r e m a r k a b l e m i n e i u P o l a r S w e d e n t h a t a n n u a l l y yields u p t o 10 m i l l i o n t o n s of e x c e l l e n t i r o n ores. W e k n o w h o w Russia gradually discovered a n d mastered her iron resources beginning with Krivoi Rog a n d t h e U r a l s a n d all t h e w a y u p to t h e large iron reserves in the deposits of the Kursk Anomaly. T h e n u m e r o u s deposits in the Soviet U n i o n create t h e m i g h t of t h e c o u n t r y ' s i n d u s t r y b y s u p p l y i n g it w i t h m e t a l f o r rails, bridges, locomotives, agricultural m a c h i n e r y a n d o t h e r tools f o r p e a c e f u l l a b o u r . T h e figures of annual pig iron and steel production now r u n into m a n y
A blast-furnace at the Magnitogorsk Plant millions of tons.

158

I n the struggle for m e t a l n e w ways f o r t h e d e v e l o p m e n t of m o d e r n m e t a l lurgy can already be discerned. I r o n a n d steel a r e o f t e n r e p l a c e d b y n e w v a r i e t i e s of h i g h - g r a d e steel, and the rare metals—chromium, nickel, v a n a d i u m , t u n g s t e n a n d niob i u m — a d d e d t o t h e alloys i n a m o u n t s of t e n t h s of o n e p e r c e n t e n h a n c e t h e p r o p e r t i e s of t h e m e t a l m a k i n g it h a r d , unyielding a n d stable. I n a n effort to improve the properties of m e t a l a n d t o o b t a i n n e w chemical reactions in t h e e n o r m o u s b l a s t - f u r n a c e s a n d f o u n d r i e s m a n is s o l v i n g o n e of his b a s i c p r o b l e m s i n Geode of limonite (brown hemat h e fight f o r i r o n . I r o n is s l i p p i n g tite) from the Bakal Mine in the f r o m t h e h a n d s of m a n ; it is n o t g o l d South Urals. It was formed by disintegration of iron carbonate (sidet h a t a c c u m u l a t e s in t h e safes a n d b a n k s rite). Collection of the Sverdlovsk a n d o n l y a n i n s i g n i f i c a n t p a r t of w h i c h Mining Institute Museum is lost. I r o n is u n s t a b l e o n t h e s u r f a c e of t h e e a r t h , i n o u r s u r r o u n d i n g s ; w e k n o w o u r s e l v e s h o w easily it rusts. S u f f i c e it t o l e a v e a p i e c e of w e t i r o n i n t h e o p e n a n d w e s o o n find it c o v e r e d w i t h r u s t y s p o t s ; s h o u l d w e fail t o c o v e r a n i r o n r o o f w i t h a c o a t of oil p a i n t , r u s t will e a t o u t b i g h o l e s i n t h e i r o n i n s i d e of a y e a r . I n t h e e a r t h w e find i r o n tools of t h e o l d a g e s t r a n s f o r m e d i n t o b r o w n h y d r o u s o x i d e s ; s p e a r s , a r r o w s a n d a r m o u r a r e all r u i n e d , s u b j e c t t o t h e g r e a t c h e m i c a l l a w of i r o n o x i d a t i o n u n d e r t h e i n f l u e n c e of t h e o x y g e n c o n t a i n e d i n t h e a i r . M a n is n o w f a c i n g a t a s k of e x c e p t i o n a l i m p o r t a n c e , t h e t a s k of safeg u a r d i n g his i r o n . M a n n o t o n l y i m p r o v e s t h e q u a l i t i e s of m e t a l b y t h e a d d i t i o n s I m e n t i o n e d , b u t also c o v e r s i r o n w i t h a c o a t i n g of z i n c o r tin, c h a n g i n g it t o w h i t e m e t a l ; m a n c h r o m i u m - p l a t e s a n d n i c k e l - p l a t e s v a r i o u s p a r t s of m a c h i n e s , c o v e r s t h e m e t a l w i t h d i f f e r e n t p a i n t s a n d t r e a t s it w i t h p h o s p h a t e s . M a n uses v a r i o u s m e t h o d s t o p r e v e n t t h e i r o n f r o m oxidation b y t h e moisture a n d oxygen in o u r surroundings. A n d w e m u s t say t h i s is n o easy m a t t e r ; h e i n v e n t s n e w m e t h o d s u s i n g
159

zinc and cadmium and replaces tin by other metals. But the natural chemical processes occur spontaneously and the more iron m a n extracts from the entrails of the earth, the more he develops his ferrous metallurgy, the greater will be the need for safeguarding this metal. How strange it seems to speak about safeguarding iron when there is so much of it around. Meanwhile, geological congresses were held recently and having estimated the iron reserves geologists pointed at the impending iron shortage; they predicted the exhaustion of the world deposits in 50 to 70 years and said m a n would have to replace this metal by another. T h e y said concrete, clay and sand would replace iron in building, industry and life. However, time marches on, the date set for the exhaustion of the iron reserves should be drawing close, but the geologists are discovering ever new iron deposits. T h e iron-ore resources in the Soviet Union fully satisfy the needs of industry and there seems to be no end to the discoveries of new iron deposits. Iron is one of the most important metals in the universe. We see its lines in all cosmic bodies; they sparkle in the atmospheres of the hot stars; we see atoms of iron stormily moving across the solar surface;

I r o n m i n i n g in t h e V y s o k a y a G o r a I r o n M i n e n e a r N i z h n y T a g i l in t h e U r a l s ( S v e r d lovsk Region) 160

P o u r i n g steel a t a m o d e r n m e t a l l u r g i c a l

plant

e v e r y y e a r t h e y c o m e f a l l i n g d o w n o n e a r t h i n t h e f o r m of fine c o s m i c d u s t a n d i r o n m e t e o r i t e s . L a r g e m a s s e s of n a t i v e i r o n fell i n t h e S t a t e of A r i z o n a , in S o u t h A f r i c a a n d i n t h e b a s i n of t h e P o d k a m e n n a y a T u n g u s k a ( U . S . S . R . ) . G e o p h y s i c i s t s assert t h a t t h e e n t i r e c e n t r e of t h e e a r t h consists of a m a s s of n i c k e l i f e r r o u s i r o n a n d t h a t o u r e a r t h ' s c r u s t is a s c a l e s i m i l a r t o t h e glassy slags w h i c h r u n o u t of a b l a s t f u r n a c e d u r i n g t h e s m e l t i n g of p i g i r o n . B u t t h e e n o r m o u s r e s e r v e s of i r o n f o u n d i n t h e c o s m o s o r t h e d e p o s i t s c o n t a i n e d i n t h e i n t e r i o r of o u r p l a n e t a r e as y e t i n a c c e s s i b l e t o i n d u s t r y ; w e a r e l i v i n g a n d w o r k i n g o n a t h i n film of e a r t h , a n d m e t a l l u r g y m u s t d e p e n d o n l y u p o n t h e few- h u n d r e d m e t r e s b e l o w t h e s u r f a c e f r o m w h i c h m o d e r n m i n i n g is a b l e t o e x t r a c t i r o n ores. M e a n w h i l e g e o c h e m i s t s r e v e a l t h e h i s t o r y of i r o n . T h e y say t h a t even the earth's crust contains 4.5 per cent iron a n d that the only m e t a l of w h i c h t h e r e is m o r e t h a n i r o n i n s u r r o u n d i n g n a t u r e is a l u m i n i u m . W e k n o w t h a t it is a c o n s t i t u e n t of t h e m o l t e n m a s s e s
161

Cristalline

sima . Sial

Sial.

D i a g r a m of the structure of the e a r t h . S i a l - r o c k s rich in silicon and aluminium (granite type). Sima—rocks rich in silicon, m a g n e s i u m , and iron (basalt type). T h e ore shell and the iron core are located in the centrc of the earth

w h i c h h a r d e n in t h e i n t e r i o r of t h e e a r t h i n t h e f o r m of o l i v i n i c a n d b a s a l t rocks, as t h e h e a v i e s t a n d p r i m o r d i a l r o c k ( s i m a ) . W e k n o w t h a t r e l a t i v e l y little i r o n r e m a i n s in g r a n i t e r o c k s (sial) w h i c h is e v i d e n t f r o m t h e i r light: c o l o u r s w h i t e , p i n k a n d g r e e n . A n d still, c o m p l e x c h e m i c a l r e a c t i o n s a c c u m u l a t e e n o r m o u s r e s e r v e s of i r o n o r e o n t h e s u r f a c e of t h e e a r t h . S o m e of t h e m a r e f o r m e d in t h e s u b t r o p i c s w h e r e t h e p e r i o d s of t r o p i c a l r a i n s a r e f o l l o w e d b y b r i g h t s u n n y d a y s of h o t s u m m e r s . E v e r y t h i n g s o l u b l e t h e r e is w a s h e d o u t of t h e r o c k a n d l a r g e a c c u m u l a t i o n s — c r u s t s of i r o n a n d a l u m i n i u m o r e s arc formed. W e know how rushing waters containing organic substance bring t r e m e n d o u s a m o u n t s of i r o n f r o m v a r i o u s , j o c k s a n d d e p o s i t t h e m o n t h e floors of n o r t h e r n lakes, f o r e x a m p l e in K a r e l i a ; p i e c e s of i r o n as s m a l l as p i n - h e a d s o r w h o l e l a y e r s of it a r e d e p o s i t e d o n (lie floors
62

of t h e lakes i n t o w h i c h t h e w a t e r s flow, involving special iron bacteria. I r o n ores h a v e t h u s a c c u m u l a t e d i n m a r s h e s a n d 011 t h e b o t t o m of seas all t h r o u g h t h e l o n g g e o l o g i c a l h i s t o r y of t h e e a r t h , a n d t h e r e is n o d o u b t t h a t in a n u m b e r of cases a n i m a l a n d p l a n t life h a s e x e r t e d its i n f l u e n c e 011 t h e f o r m a t i o n of t h e s e d e p o s i t s . T h i s is t h e w a y t h e l a r g e K e r c h d e p o s i t s w e r e f o r m e d ; t h e e n o r m o u s r e s e r v e s of i r o n M a g n e t i c A n o m a l y w e r e , i n all p r o b a b i l i t y , Old engraving dating from 1497. M a g n e t i c iron clilfs also f o r m e d s i m i l a r l y . pidl the nails out of the T h e o r e s of t h e s e t w o last d e p o s i t s w e r e ship, a n d the ship sinks f o r m e d b y t h e w a t e r s of a n c i e n t seas so l o n g a g o t h a t t h e h o t b r e a t h of t h e e a r t h ' s i n t e r i o r h a s b e e n a b l e t o c h a n g e t h e i r s t r u c t u r e , a n d i n s t e a d of t h e b r o w n h e m a t i t e w e find in K e r c h , w e see h e r e a l t e r e d b l a c k i r o n ores c o n s i s t i n g of h e m a t i t e a n d m a g n e t i t e . T h e m i g r a t i o n s of i r o n o n t h e e a r t h ' s s u r f a c e n e v e r cease. T r u e , v e r y little of it a c c u m u l a t e s in s e a - w a t e r a n d it is r i g h t l y said t h a t this w a t e r c o n t a i n s p r a c t i c a l l y n o i r o n a t all. H o w e v e r , u n d e r special, exceptional conditions ferruginous sediments, even entire iron-ore d e p o s i t s , w h i c h a r e e n c o u n t e r e d in a n u m b e r of a n c i e n t sea layers, a r e f o r m e d in t h e sea a n d in s h a l l o w b a y s . O u r f a m o u s i r o n - o r e d e p o s i t s n e a r K h o p e r a n d K e r c h in t h e U k r a i n e a n d n e a r A y a t y in t h e U r a l s w e r e t h u s f o r m e d . B u t i r o n is m i g r a t i n g e v e r y w h e r e — i n s t r e a m s , r i v e r s , l a k e s a n d m a r s h e s — a n d p l a n t s a l w a y s f m d this i m p o r t a n t c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t w i t h o u t w h i c h t h e y c a n n o t live. T r y a n d d e p r i v e a p o t of f l o w e r s of its i r o n a n d y o u will soon see t h a t t h e f l o w e r s lose t h e i r c o l o u r s a n d o d o u r , a n d t h a t t h e i r leaves t u r n yellow a n d b e g i n to w i t h e r a w a y . T h e life-giving chlorophyll, w h i c h i m p a r t s t h e p o w e r t o t h e l i v i n g cell a n d w h i c h e x t r a c t s t h e c a r b o n f r o m c a r b o n d i o x i d e b y g i v i n g u p t h e o x y g e n to t h e a i r , c a n n o t exist w i t h o u t i r o n b e c a u s e it c a n n o t b e f o r m e d w i t h o u t it. T h e cycle of i r o n o n e a r t h is, t h u s , c o m p l e t e d in p l a n t s a n d in o t h e r livi n g systems, a n d t h e r e d c o r p u s c l e s in t h e b l o o d of m a n a r c o n e of t h e last s t a g e s in t h e m i g r a t i o n s of this m e t a l w i t h o u t w h i c h t h e r e c a n b e n o life.
II

STRONTIUM—METAL OF RED LIGHTS
Is t h e r e a n y o n e w h o h a s n e v e r s e e n b e a u t i f u l f i r e w o r k s w i t h t h e i r r e d s p a r k s w h i c h slowly f a d e i n t h e a i r a n d a r e r e p l a c e d b y s i m i l a r l y brilliant green lights? T h o u s a n d s of b r i g h t r e d , g r e e n , y e l l o w a n d w h i t e lights, r e v o l v i n g s u n s a n d h i s s i n g r o c k e t s of t h e f i r e w o r k s let off d u r i n g o u r m a j o r h o l i d a y s , p l a y i n t h e a i r a n d s c a t t e r t h e d a r k n e s s of t h e n i g h t . S i m i l a r

S a l u t e in L e n i n g r a d
164

r e d flares g o u p i n t h e a i r f r o m ships a t t i m e s of g r a v e d a n g e r ; t h e y a r e d r o p p e d f r o m planes for night signalization a n d they talk with e a c h o t h e r in their c o d e d l a n g u a g e d u r i n g p r e p a r a t i o n s for night attacks a n d bombings. V e r y f e w p e o p l e k n o w h o w t h e s e b r i g h t " B e n g a l " lights, w h i c h h a v e g o t t h e i r n a m e f r o m I n d i a , .-re m a d e ; t h e r e , w h i l e c o n d u c t i n g r e l i g i o u s services, t h e p r i e s t s i n s p i r e d f e a r i n t h e w o r s h i p p e r s b y s u d d e n l y l i g h t i n g m y s t e r i o u s g h a s t l y - g r e e n o r b l o o d - r e d lights i n t h e s e m i - d a r k n e s s of t h e i r t e m p l e s a n d h o u s e s of p r a y e r . N o t e v e r y b o d y k n o w s t h a t t h e s e lights a r e o b t a i n e d f r o m t h e salts of s t r o n t i u m a n d b a r i u m , t h e t w o p e c u l i a r h e a v y e a r t h s t h a t c o u l d n o t b e t o l d a p a r t f o r a l o n g t i m e u n t i l it w a s o b s e r v e d t h a t in fire o n e of t h e m s h e d a b r i g h t r e d l i g h t a n d t h e o t h e r a g r e e n i s h - y e l l o w . S o o n a f t e r w a r d s m a n l e a r n e d t o p r o d u c e v o l a t i l e salts of t h e s e t w o m e t a l s , m i x t h e m w i t h p o t a s s i u m c h l o r a t e , c o a l a n d s u l p h u r , a n d f r o m this m i x t u r e t o press little b a l l s , c y l i n d e r s a n d p y r a m i d s w i t h w h i c h t h e s k y - r o c k e t s a n d t h e t u b e s of t h e fireworks a r e filled. S u c h is o n e of t h e last p a g e s in t h e l o n g a n d i n t r i c a t e h i s t o r y of t h e s e t w o e l e m e n t s . I s h o u l d p r o b a b l y b o r e y o u if I t o l d y o u i n d e t a i l a b o u t t h e l o n g r o u t e t r a v e l l e d b y t h e a t o m s of s t r o n t i u m a n d b a r i u m f r o m t h e m o l t e n g r a n i t e s a n d a l k a l i n e m a g m a s in t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t all t h e w a y t o t h e i n d u s t r i a l e n t e r p r i s e s w h i c h r e f i n e sugar, p r o d u c e defence e q u i p m e n t , m a k e metal or m a n u f a c t u r e fireworks. I m u s t tell y o u t h a t I r e a d a r e m a r k a b l e s t o r y a b o u t t h e m i n e r a l s of s t r o n t i u m w r i t t e n b y a K a z a n scientist a n d p u b l i s h e d in a V o l g a n e w s p a p e r w h i l e I w a s still a s t u d e n t of M o s c o w U n i v e r s i t y . T h i s t a l e n t e d m i n e r a l o g i s t d e s c r i b e d h o w h e a n d o n e of his f r i e n d s c o l l e c t e d b e a u t i f u l b l u e c r y s t a l s of celestite o n t h e b a n k s of t h e V o l g a . H e r e l a t e d h o w d i s p e r s e d a t o m s g a v e rise t o t h e s e b l u e c r y s t a l s in t h e P e r m i a n l i m e s t o n e , w h a t p r o p e r t i e s t h e y h a d a n d w h a t t h e i r uses w e r e ; this s t o r y i m p r i n t e d itself u p o n m y m e m o r y so v i v i d l y t h a t I r e m e m b e r e d f o r m a n y l o n g y e a r s t h e b l u e m i n e r a l celestite w h i c h h a d g o t its n a m e f r o m t h e L a t i n w o r d caelum, m e a n i n g sky, f o r its b e a u t i f u l s k y - b l u e colour. T o find this s t o n e w a s m y c h e r i s h e d d r e a m f o r a l o n g t i m e ; in 1938 I w a s , finally, l u c k y e n o u g h t o find it w h e n I least e x p e c t e d it a n d I r e c a l l e d this r e m a r k a b l e s t o r y .
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I w a s c o n v a l e s c i n g in K i s l o v o d s k ( N o r t h C a u c a s u s ) . A f t e r m y s e r i o u s illness I w a s still u n a b l e t o c l i m b m o u n t a i n s t h o u g h I w a s irresistibly d r a w n t o rocks, q u a r r i e s a n d cliffs. A b e a u t i f u l b u i l d i n g of a n e w h o l i d a y h o m e w a s b e i n g e r e c t e d n e a r our s a n a t o r i u m . It was b e i n g d e c o r a t e d by pink volcanic tuff b r o u g h t f r o m t h e v i l l a g e of A r t i k ( A r m e n i a ) a n d . t h e r e f o r e , n a m e d A r t i k t u f f . T h e f e n c e a n d g a t e w a y w e r e b e i n g m a d e of a y e l l o w i s h d o l o m i t e i n w h i c h lovelv p a t t e r n s a n d o r n a m e n t s w e r e h e w n . I fell i n t o t h e h a b i t of visiting t h e b u i l d i n g a n d w a t c h i n g t h e w o r k m e n skilfully h e w t h e soft d o l o m i t e s t o n e a n d k n o c k off s e p a r a t e h a r d pieces. " I n this s t o n e w e s o m e t i m e s find h a r m f u l h a r d n o d u l e s . " said o n e of t h e w o r k e r s . " W e call t h e m s t o n e d i s e a s e b e c a u s e t h e y g e t in t h e w a y of h e w i n g ; w e b r e a k t h e m off a n d t h r o w t h e m i n t o t h a t pile there." I w e n t o v e r t o t h e pile a n d in o n e of t h e b r o k e n n o d u l e s s a w a s m a l l b l u e c r v s t a l ; w h y , t h a t w a s r e a l celestite! I t w a s a lovely t r a n s p a r e n t b l u e n e e d l e , like a l i g h t s a p p h i r e f r o m C e y l o n , like a l i g h t s u n - f a d e d cornflower. I b o r r o w e d a h a m m e r f r o m o n e of t h e w o r k e r s , b r o k e u p s e v e r a l n o d u l e s a n d w a s s t r u c k d u m b w i t h d e l i g h t . B e f o r e m e w e r e crystals of celestitc. B l u e b r u s h e s of t h e m l i n e d t h e cavities i n s i d e t h e n o d u l e s . A m o n g t h e m w e r e w h i t e t r a n s p a r e n t c r y s t a l s of c a l c i t e , w h i l e t h e n o d u l e itself w a s f o r m e d b y q u a r t z a n d g r e y c h a l c e d o n y , a d e n s e a n d s t r o n g s e t t i n g for t h e celestite n e c k l a c e . I asked the workers w h e r e t h e d o l o m i t e for t h e b u i l d i n g was q u a r r i e d a n d w a s s h o w n t h e w a y t o t h e q u a r r y . E a r l y in t h e m o r n i n g t w o d a y s l a t e r w e d r o v e a l o n g a d u s t y r o a d to t h e d o l o m i t e q u a r r y . O u r r o u t e r a n a l o n g t h e s t o r m v little A l i k o n o v k a R i v e r , p a s t t h e b e a u t i f u l b u i l d i n g of t h e " C a s t l e of L o v e a n d P e r f i d y . " T h e v a l l e y g r e w n a r r o w a n d c h a n g e d t o a g o r g e w i t h s t e e p cliffs of l i m e s t o n e a n d d o l o m i t e s h a n g i n g like c o r n i c e s o v e r o u r h e a d s . S o o n w e p e r c e i v e d t h e q u a r r y w i t h e n o r m o u s b o u l d e r s a n d f r a g m e n t s of l a t e r a l r o c k . W e h a d n o luck a t first. T h e l a r g e n o d u l e s , w e s p a r e d n o e f f o r t to b r e a k u p , c o n t a i n e d s m a l l c r y s t a l s of c a l c i t e a n d r o c k c r y s t a l o r s t a l a g m i t i c masses of w h i t e a n d g r e y o p a l a n d s e m i - t r a n s p a r e n t c h a l c e d o n v ; finally, w e h i t t h e r i g h t p l a c e . O n e a f t e r a n o t h e r w e s o r t e d o u t ores of b r i g h t - b l u e celestite. c a r e f u l l v c a r r i e d t h e m d o w n , w r a p p e d t h e m in p a p e r a n d a g a i n c r a w l e d o v e r t h e d u m p s c o l l e c t i n g t h e w o n 11>6

d e r f u l s a m p l e s . P r o u d l y w e b r o u g h t o u r s a m p l e s b a c k to t h e s a n a t o r i u m , a r r a n g e d a n d w a s h e d t h e m , b u t felt w e d i d n o t h a v e e n o u g h . I n a f e w d a y s w e w e r e off i n o u r little c a r t a g a i n in q u e s t of celestite. O u r r o o m w a s filled w i t h b o u l d e r s of d o l o m i t e c o n t a i n i n g b l u e e y e s ; t h e d i r e c t o r of t h e s a n a t o r i u m w a t c h e d us r e p r o a c h f u l l y , b u t we kept bringing ever n e w samples. O u r b e h a v i o u r intrigued some of o u r s a n a t o r i u m n e i g h b o u r s . E v e r y b o d y t o o k a n i n t e r e s t in t h e b l u e s t o n e s ; s o m e of t h e m e v e n f o l l o w e d us t o t h e d o l o m i t e q u a r r y a n d also b r o u g h t b a c k v e r y g o o d s a m p l e s just t o m a k e us e n v i o u s . B u t n o b o d y c o u l d u n d e r s t a n d w h a t w e c o l l e c t e d t h o s e s t o n e s for. O n e v e r y d u l l a u t u m n e v e n i n g s o m e of o u r f e l l o w - p a t i e n t s a t t h e s a n a t o r i u m a s k e d m e to tell t h e m a b o u t t h e s e b l u e stones, w h y t h e y w e r e f o r m e d in t h e y e l l o w K i s l o v o d s k d o l o m i t e a n d w h a t g o o d t h e y were. W e g a t h e r e d in a cozy r o o m , I spread the samples before my listeners a n d s o m e w h a t e m b a r r a s s e d b y this u n e x p e c t e d a u d i e n c e , i n w h i c h m a n y h a d n o k n o w l e d g e of e i t h e r c h e m i s t r y o r m i n e r a l o g y , b e g a n m y story. . . . W a y b a c k , m a n y , m a n y m i l l i o n s of y e a r s a g o , t h e U p p e r J u r a s s i c S e a r o l l e d its w a v e s t o t h e m i g h t y C a u c a s i a n M o u n t a i n s . T h e sea n o w r e c e d e d a n d n o w a g a i n i n u n d a t e d t h e shores, e r o d e d t h e g r a n i t e cliffs a n d d e p o s i t e d a l o n g t h e s h o r e s t h e f i n e r e d s a n d w h i c h n o w covers the paths n e a r the s a n a t o r i u m . L a r g e s a l t - l a k e s w e r e f o r m e d i n t h e s h a l l o w b a y s a n d in t h e s t o r m y o v e r f l o w i n g r i v e r s r u n n i n g d o w n f r o m t h e m o u n t a i n p e a k s of t h e primeval Caucasus. T h e Jurassic Sea receded to the north while a r g i l l a c e o u s s e d i m e n t s , s a n d s , t h i n l a y e r s of g y p s u m a n d in s o m e p l a c e s r o c k salt w e r e d e p o s i t e d a l o n g t h e s h o r e s a n d o n t h e floors of lakes, f i r t h s a n d s h a l l o w seas. C o n t i n u o u s l a y e r s of d o l o m i t e w e r e d e p o s i t e d in d e e p e r p l a c e s . T h e s e d o l o m i t e s n o w f o r m h e a v y s t r a t a of u n i f o r m y e l l o w , g r e y a n d white colour. B u t h o w i n t r i c a t e a n d v a r i e d w a s t h e f a t e of this sea, in w h i c h t h e s e sediments were deposited! N u m e r o u s living creatures s w a r m e d along its shores. H e r e w e c o u l d h a v e a d m i r e d t h e v a r i e g a t e d p i c t u r e of life w h i c h a m a z e s us o n t h e cliffs of t h e M e d i t e r r a n e a n c o a s t a n d e v e n i n t h e w a r m b a y s of t h e K o l a F i o r d . Various blue-green a n d p u r p l e seaweeds, hermit crabs with their b e a u t i f u l shells, snails a n d shells of all possible f o r m s a n d c o l o u r
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S a n a t o r i u m of t h e M i n i s t r y of the C o a l I n d u s t r y in K i s l o v o d s k . B u i l t of local d o l o m i t e

D o l o m i t e staircase in K i s l o v o d s k . N o r t h

Caucasus

i n h a b i t e d t h e s e cliffs, c o v e r i n g t h e m w i t h a p a r t i c o l o u r e d c a r p c t . S e a - u r c h i n s w i t h t h e i r r e d quills, l a r g e five-pointed stars w i t h s i n u o u s p o i n t s a n d jelly-fish of m o s t d i v e r s e f o r m s g l e a m e d in t h e w a t e r . I n n u m e r a b l e s m a l l r a d i o l a r i a n s lived o n s t o n e s o n t h e floor of t h e sea n e a r t h e c o a s t l i n e ; s o m e of t h e m w e r e t r a n s p a r e n t as glass a n d c o n s i s t e d of p u r e o p a l , o t h e r s w e r e s m a l l w h i t e g l o b u l e s n o l a r g e r t h a n o n e m i l i m e t r e w i t h a s m a l l s t e m t h r e e t i m e s t h e size of t h e b o d y . T h e y w e r e p e r c h e d o n stones, o n b e a u t i f u l o v e r g r o w t h s of sea mosses a n d s o m e t i m e s e v e n c o v e r e d t h e quills of s e a - u r c h i n s t r a v e l l i n g w i t h t h e m a l o n g t h e b o t t o m of t h e sea. T h e s e w e r e t h e f a m o u s r a d i o l a r i a n s - a c a n t h a r i a , w h o s e skeletons w e r e m a d e of f r o m 18 t o 32 n e e d l e s . F o r a l o n g t i m e n o b o d y k n e w w h a t t h e y w e r e m a d e of a n d it w a s o n l y a c c i d e n t a l l y d i s c o v e r e d t h a t t h e y w e r e n o t m a d e of silica o r o p a l , b u t s t r o n t i u m s u l p h a t e . T h e s e i n n u m e r a b l e r a d i o l a r i a n s a c c u m u l a t e d i n t h e i r i n t r i c a t e life's process strontium sulphate, which they extracted from the sea-water, a n d gradually built their crystalline needles. T h e dead radiolarians t h e a c c u m u l a t i o n of o n e w a t e r s of t h e C a u c a s i a n the white feldspars that fell t o t h e b o t t o m of t h e sea. T h u s b e g a n of t h e r a r e m e t a l s w h i c h g o t i n t o t h e l i t t o r a l seas f r o m t h e e r o d e d g r a n i t e massifs, f r o m f o r m p a r t of t h e C a u c a s i a n g r a n i t e s .

W e s h o u l d p r o b a b l y n e v e r h a v e t h o u g h t of t h e e x i s t e n c e of these a c a n t h a r i a in t h e U p p e r J u r a s s i c Seas a n d it w o u l d n e v e r h a v e o c c u r r e d t o c h e m i s t s t o look f o r s t r o n t i u m in t h e p u r e l i m e s t o n e s a n d d o l o m i t e s of o u r q u a r r i e s if a n o t h e r e v e n t h a d n o t d i s t u r b e d t h e c a l m of t h e old s e d i m e n t s in t h e J u r a s s i c Seas in t h o s e d i s t a n t t i m e s of t h e g e o l o g i c a l past. T h e C a u c a s u s b e g a n to e x p e r i e n c e n e w p a r o x y s m s of its v o l c a n i c a c t i v i t y . M o l t e n m a s s e s w e r e e r u p t e d a g a i n , f o r m a t i o n of n e w m o u n t a i n r a n g e s w a s s t a r t e d , h o t v a p o u r s a n d s p r i n g s b e g a n t o p o u r o u t to t h e surface t h r o u g h cracks a n d breaks, while the f a m o u s laccoliths, the Beshtau, Zheleznaya, M a s h u k a n d other mountains, were coming i n t o b e i n g r a i s i n g l a y e r s of C r e t a c e o u s a n d T e r t i a r y rocks in t h e r e g i o n of M i n e r a l n i v e Y o d v . T h e h o t b r e a t h of t h e e a r t h ' s i n t e r i o r s a t u r a t e d t h e l i m e s t o n e s a n d t h e s e d i m e n t s of g y p s u m a n d salts, a n d t h e l a t t e r f o r m e d w h o l e u n d e r g r o u n d seas a n d r i v e r s of m i n e r a l w a t e r s ; s o m e t i m e s t h e y w e r e cold a n d s o m e t i m e s t h e y w e r e still k e p t w a r m b y t h e b r e a t h of t h e e a r t h :
jIK)

these waters pierced the dolomites and limestones in the old sediments along the cracks and by their chemical solutions forced them to recrystallize and change to the beautiful a n d durable dolomite stone of which houses are built. U n d e r the influence of complex chemical reactions the minutest dispersed atoms of strontium, the remains of the radiolarians-acantharia entered the solution and were again precipitated in the cavities of the Jurassic dolomites growing into beautiful crystals of blue celestite. O u r celestite geodes were gradually formed over a period of many thousands of years and now, when cold solutions of the earth's surface penetrate to them, the crystals of celestite fade, become opaque, their shiny facets are corroded and the atoms of strontium resume their migrations over the earth's surface in quest of new and stabler chemical compounds. T h e picture from the history of Kislovodsk celestites I have just painted recurs in many regions of the country. Wherever large sea basins disappeared and shallow seas and salt-lakes were formed during the history of the earth's crust the little globules of the acantharia died and over a period of scores of millions of years the small needles of the formerly living acantharia gave rise to small crystals of strontium.

Skeletons of protozoa-acantharia, whose needles consist of strontium sulphate 170

G e o d e of cclestite split in t w o p a r t s

T h e m o u n t a i n ranges in C e n t r a l Asia a r e engirded by a n u n b r o k e n r i n g of celestite r o c k ; w e p i c t u r e t o ourselves s i m i l a r crystals i n t h e m o s t a n c i e n t S i l u r i a n seas i n t h e Y a k u t i a n R e p u b l i c , b u t t h e l a r g e s t d e p o s i t s a r e c o n n e c t e d w i t h t h e seas of t h e P e r m i a n e p o c h w h i c h d e p o s i t e d t r e m e n d o u s a m o u n t s of celestite i n t h e l i m e s t o n e s a l o n g the Volga and the Northern Dvina. I shall n o t tell y o u w h a t s u b s e q u e n t l y h a p p e n s t o t h e c r y s t a l s of celestite i n t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t . M a n y of t h e m , as w e h a v e seen, b e g i n t o dissolve a g a i n , t h j i r a t o m s g e t i n t o t h e soil, a r e c a r r i e d a w a y b y w a t e r , a r e dissolved in t h e b o u n d l e s s o c e a n s , a r e a c c u m u l a t e d a g a i n i n s a l t - l a k e s a n d sea f i r t h s , f o r m n e e d l e s of a c a n t h a r i a a g a i n ancl i n m i l l i o n s of y e a r s will a g a i n give rise t o n e w crystals of celestite. I n this c o n t i n u o u s c h a n g e of c h e m i c a l processes, i n t h e c o m p l e x c h a i n of n a t u r a l p h e n o m e n a t h e m i n e r a l o g i s t a n d g e o c h e m i s t g r a s p o n l y s e p a r a t e links. H e m u s t p e n e t r a t e w i t h his e x p e r i e n c e d eye, f i n e a n a l y s i s a n d p r o f o u n d scientific t h o u g h t i n t o t h e c o m p l e x c o u r s e of m i g r a t i o n s of t h e a t o m i n t h e u n i v e r s e . F r o m s e p a r a t e p a s s a g e s h e recreates whole pages a n d f r o m these pages he compiles the great
171

b o o k of t h e c h e m i s t r y of t h e e a r t h w h i c h tells us f r o m b e g i n n i n g t o e n d h o w t h e a t o m m i g r a t e s i n n a t u r e , w h o his f e l l o w - t r a v e l l e r s a r e , w h e r e it f i n d s its p e a c e f u l o r restless d e a t h in t h e f o r m of s t a b l e crystals, where the dispersed atoms eternally c h a n g e their fellow-travellers n o w e n t e r i n g s o l u t i o n s a n d n o w endlessly s c a t t e r i n g in t h e g r e a t v a s t ness of n a t u r e . A n d the geochemist must get a n insight into these intricate m i g r a tions of t h e a t o m . T h e m i n u t e s t c r y s t a l m u s t l e a d h i m like a t h r e a d t o t h e b e g i n n i n g of t h e clew. A r e w e in a p o s i t i o n t o s p e a k of t h e b e g i n n i n g of t h e h i s t o r y of s t r o n t i u m a t o m s ? W h e r e a n d h o w d i d t h e y c o m e i n t o b e i n g in t h e h i s t o r y of t h e universe ? W h y d o t h e lines of s t r o n t i u m s p a r k l e p a r t i c u l a r l y b r i g h t l y in s o m e stars :' W h a t a r e t h e s e lines d o i n g in t h e r a y s of t h e s u n a n d h o w h a v e t h e y c o m e to b e t h e r e ? H o w h a s this m e t a l a c c u m u l a t e d o n t h e s u r face of t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t , h o w h a s it c o l l e c t e d in t h e m o l t e n g r a n i t e m a g m a s a n d h o w h a s it c o n c e n t r a t e d t o g e t h e r w i t h c a l c i u m in t h e w h i t e crvstals of f e l d s p a r s ? All these a r e q u e s t i o n s t h e g e o c h e m i s t c a n n o t a n s w e r . H e c a n n o t tell you as clearly a b o u t this as I h a v e j u s t told y o u a b o u t t h e b l u e crystals of celestite in t h e e n v i r o n s of K i s l o v o d s k . A n d h e c a n tell you as little a b o u t t h e last p a g e s in t h e h i s t o r y of t h e s t r o n t i u m a t o m . M a n h a d long p a i d n o a t t e n t i o n to it. H e s o m e t i m e s u s e d it f o r his r e d lights, b u t for t h a t h e d i d not h a v e to e x t r a c t l a r g e q u a n t i t i e s of s t r o n t i u m salts f r o m t h e e n t r a i l s of t h e e a r t h . T h e n s o m e c h e m i s t f o u n d a h a p p y use for s t r o n t i u m in t h e s u g a r - r e f i n i n g i n d u s t r y ; h e f o u n d t h a t s t r o n t i u m a n d s u g a r f o r m e d a special c o m p o u n d , s t r o n t i u m s a c c h a r a t e , a n d t h a t this c o m p o u n d c o u l d b e successfully u s e d in r e f i n i n g s u g a r f r o m molasses. E x t e n s i v e u t i l i z a t i o n of this m e t a l b e g a n a n d l a r g e a m o u n t s of it w e r e m i n e d in G e r m a n y a n d B r i t a i n . But a n o t h e r chemist f o u n d that s t r o n t i u m could be replaced by c a l c i u m w h i c h is c h e a p e r . T h e s t r o n t i u m m e t h o d p r o v e d u n n e c essary a n d t h e m e t a l b e g a n to b e n e g l e c t e d , t h e m i n e s w e r e closed a n d o n l y h e r e a n d t h e r e w e r e t h e w a s t e s of its salts used lor r e d lights. T h e n c a m e t h e i m p e r i a l i s t w a r of i q 14-18, a n d e n o r m o u s q u a n t i t i e s of signal Hares w e r e n e e d e d . R e d , l o g - p i e r c i n g lights p r o v e d i n d i s p e n s a ble in l i g h t i n g t h e spaces t h a t w e r e to b e p h o t o g r a p h e d f r o m t h e a i r ;

t h e c a r b o n s of t h e s e a r c h l i g h t s w e r e i m p r e g n a t e d w i t h salts of r a r e earths and strontium. A n e w a p p l i c a t i o n was f o u n d for s t r o n t i u m . L a t e r metallurgists learned to p r o d u c e metallic strontium. Chemists, m e t a l l u r g i s t s a n d m a n u f a c t u r e r s t o o k a n e w i n t e r e s t in s t r o n t i u m . L i k e m e t a l l i c c a l c i u m a n d b a r i u m it p u r i f i e s i r o n f r o m h a r m f u l gases a n d a d m i x t u r e s . I t b e g a n to b e u s e d in f e r r o u s m e t a l l u r g y , a n d n o w g e o c h e m i s t s a r e s e a r c h i n g f o r its d e p o s i t s a g a i n , a r e s t u d y i n g t h e a c c u m u l a t i o n s of s t r o n t i u m in t h e c a v e s of C e n t r a l Asia, a r e p r o d u c i n g its salts a t l a r g e p l a n t s a n d a r e e x t r a c t i n g it f r o m m i n e r a l w a t e r s ; in a w o r d , s t r o n t i u m h a s a g a i n b e c o m e a n e l e m e n t of i n d u s t r y . W e c a n n o t tell its f u t u r e f a t e . W e , g e o c h e m i s t s , d o n o t yet k n o w e i t h e r t h e first o r t h e last p a g e s in t h e h i s t o r y of this m e t a l . . . . T h a t w a s h o w I f i n i s h e d m y s t o r y a b o u t t h e b l u e s t o n e t o m v listeners at the sanatorium. I n t h e i r eyes t h e useless b l u e c r y s t a l s w e r e t r a n s f o r m e d i n t o a p a r t of socialist c o n s t r u c t i o n . T h e y n o l o n g e r l o o k e d a s k a n c e a t o u r morningtrips to the q u a r r y , a n d even the chief surgeon ceased g r u m b l i n g t h a t w e filled t h e w h o l e r o o m w i t h stones a n d w e r e v i o l a t i n g t h e s a c r e d s a n a t o r i u m r e g i m e n . I n a w o r d , celestite h e l p e d us t o m a k e up again. I t w a s t h e n t h a t I d e c i d e d to w r i t e m v s t o r y a b o u t it. I t a p p e a r s in m y b o o k e n t i t l e d Recollections about a Stone. I a d v i s e those of y o u w h o w e r e n o t b o r e d b y this essay to r e a d also t h a t ' little story in o r d e r t h a t y o u b e t t e r r e m e m b e r w h a t a fine s t o n e o u r b l u e celestite is.

TIN

Ml "FA I. OF THE F001 )-CAI\

Sn

tin

is a

modest

and

seemingly

i n 110 w a v

distinguished

metal.

We

\crv seldom The

h e a t ' o f it i n o u r e v e r v d a v l i l e t h o u g h is t o s e r v e man under

w e u s e it v e r y

often.

fate of this m e t a l white

a dilferent

name. metal, some never

118,70

Bronze, tin-foil,

metal, solder, porcelain

babbitt,

printer's stone, artillerv paints and the like are

beautiful

enamels,

of t h e diilerent think This tin forms is

and the

u s e f u l t h i n g s ol w h i c h most essential for its

many

people

would

constituent. and are verv not singular vet hilly propunder-

metal

notable

remarkable mvsterv and

erties; s o m e of t h e m stood The is r i c h of tin. In

a r e still a

geochemists. magma i.ind tm as which it rises I r o m the interior ot the earth is t h e acid and

granite in silica

is c u s t o m a r i l y Irom being

called lound m

"acid""! evcrv

source magma, granite, trace ol

However,

is l a r

a n d we d o not know why it in it

vet w h a t law g o v e r n s t h e b o n d s ol t i n w i t h granite the and why there is h a r d l y any

is f o u n t ! i n o n e seemingly

another,

same, is:

granite. whv does metals, in the not tin, a hcavv ol its metal, gravity, ol the

Another sink but in the

interesting magma to come

question like other is

hcavv lound

because uppermost

tends

up

and

layers

granite The gases pla\ with vei \

m a s s i t ;' thing is t h a t in among the part. at the vigorous the highly volatile vapours and tin and

dissolved an

magma We

halogens, Irom

chlorine that

(luorine, combines it and lorms tin

important gases

know

experience Ill tm the

these

even

loom with

temperature. these slate tm gases

magma

volatile And

compounds 111 l l u s

chlorides with other

lluorides.

gaseous

together

volatile

P e g m a t i t e v e i n s w i t h t i n s t o n e in g r a n i t e s . T u r k e s t a n

Mountains

c o m p o u n d s , t h o s e o f silicon, s o d i u m , l i t h i u m , b e r y l l i u m , b o r o n a n d o t h e r s , m a k e s its w a y t o t h e u p p e r z o n e of t h e g r a n i t e massif a n d e v e n b e y o n d it i n t o t h e c r a c k s in t h e s u r f a c e r o c k s . H e r e u n d e r d i f f e r e n t p h y s i c o - c h e m i c a l c o n d i t i o n s t h e tin c h l o r i d e a n d t i n f l u o r i d e r e a c t w i t h w a t e r v a p o u r s . L e a v i n g ils f o r m e r c a r riers tin c o m b i n e s w i t h t h e o x y g e n it t a k e s u p f r o m t h e w a t e r a n d is n o w n o l o n g e r l i b e r a t e d in t h e g a s e o u s s t a t e , b u t in t h e f o r m of a h a r d , s h i n y m i n e r a l c a l l e d c a s s i t e r i t e o r t i n s t o n e , w h i c h is t h e p r i n c i pal i n d u s t r i a l tin o r e . M a n y o t h e r i n t e r e s t i n g m i n e r a l s a r e sometime") liberated together with cassiterite; these include topaz, smoky q u a r t z , b e r y l , f l u o r - s p a r , t o u r m a l i n e , w o l f r a m i t e , m o l y b d e n i t e , etc. W e f o u n d o u t q u i t e r e c e n t l y t h a t l a r g e d e p o s i t s of c a s s i t e r i t e a r e f o r m e d n o t o n l y f r o m v o l a t i l e h a l o i d c o m p o u n d s of t h e g r a n i t e m a g m a .
175

T h e y also arise at later periods in the h a r d e n i n g of the granite residue when the water vapours are transformed into liquid water which transports c o m p o u n d s of various metals far a w a y from the m a t e r n a l c e n t r e ; these c o m p o u n d s are mostly sulphides—sulphur compounds. T h e r e is a good deal in these processes we do not u n d e r s t a n d as yet, b u t we do know that tin is carried out of the m a g m a also in this m a n n e r . It is r e m a r k a b l e that having used sulphur as a carrier this time tin a b a n d o n s it as it formerly did the halogens a n d combines with oxygen again forming its favourite mineral—cassiterite. Cu Au

I Cli

++1

Granite Copper Gold Tungsten Tin

AU Greatest accumulation of g pQ VI Sn

S n O , Cassiterite Nb Ta TR Niobium Tantalum Rare-earth elements Molt/bdenum 7inc Lead

2n

Pb

MO Zn Pb

D i a g r a m of distribution of tin a n d its f e l l o w - t r a v e l l e r s in the u p p e r p a r t of a granite massif

We know that tin also forms part of many other minerals, but all of these are very rarely encountered (some—exceptionally rarely) and are of no industrial importance. Cassiterite, S n 0 2 , which contains about 78.5 per cent pure tin, has always been the only tin ore. Cassiterite (from the Greek word cassiteros—tin) is mainly a black or brownish mineral. Its black colour is explained by admixtures of iron a n d manganese. It is rarely honey-yellow or red a n d still m o r e
176

rarely colourless. Its crystals are usually very small. Because of its hardness, chemical stability and gravity cassiterite does not disintegrate and is not dispersed during weathering, but accumulates with other heavy minerals on the sites of granite destruction, i.e., in river-beds or on sea coast, sometimes forming vast placer deposits ol" tinstone. Cassiterite is, thus, obtained from primary and secondary deposits. Whatever way the tin ore is obtained, first of all it goes through W o r k i n g a tin vein 111 L l a l l a g u a , Boa process of concentration, i.e., it is livia, at an a l t i t u d e of 4,500 m e t r e s purified from various admixtures, a b o v e sea l e v e l (1940) after which it is smelted. At this time the tin is reduced by the carbon of the fuel. Combining with carbon oxygen is liberated as carbon dioxide, while pure metallic tin remains. Pure tin smelted from cassiterite is a soft, silvery-white (a little duller than silver) malleable metal. T h e capacity of tin to be rolled into thin sheets is remarkable. Tin melts at 231 0 C. T i n has very m a n y peculiar properties. It is known to be able to yell, i.e., to produce a special characteristic sound when bent. Another singular, though far from indifferent, feature of this metal is its sensitivity to cold. O u t in the cold tin takes sick: from silvery-white it turns grey, increases in volume, begins to crumble and not infrequently breaks up into a powder. This is a serious disease and it is called "tin plague." This disease has ruined m a n y a tin object of great artistic and historical value. Sick tin may infect healthy metal. Fortunately tin plague can be cured. T h e metal must be resmelted and slowly cooled. If this operation (especially cooling) is performed sufficiently thoroughly tin resumes its former appearance and properties. I n the very distant past it was precisely tin that gave a powerful impetus to the cultural development of man. M a n has known tin for
12

177

Field of tin-bearing sands on Malacca Peninsula. Washed by hydromonitor gun). Washed mud flows along ditches. Johore Bahtu Mine (1940)

(water

a very long time and was able to smelt it five or six thousand years B. C., i.e., long before he learned to smelt and process iron. Pure tin is a soft and weak metal, and is unfit for manufacture. But " b r o n z e " (from the Persian word bronlpsion, meaning alloy), a gold-coloured alloy consisting of copper and 10 per cent tin, is known for its fine properties; it is harder than copper, is easily cast, forged and processed. If we designate the hardness of tin by the conventional number of 5, copper will have a hardness of 30, while bronze, an alloy with a small amount of tin, will have a hardness of 100 to 150. Because of these qualities bronze was so widespread in its time that archaeologists even distinguish a special epoch -the Bronze Age—when work-tools, arms, housewares and decorations were m a d e mainly of bronze. How m a n discovered this remarkable alloy we do not know. It is possible that m a n repeatedly smelted copper ore with an admixture of tin (we do encounter such "complex" deposits of copper and tin), finally noticed the result of this joint smelting and grasped its significance. During excavations of ancient settlements archaeologists very fre78

quently find well-preserved bronzewares—household utensils, coins and statuettes. If it is necessary to know whether these bronze-wares are local or imported a chemical analysis of the objects can provide valuable information. Ancient metal was very imperfectly refined, and by modern exact methods of analysis we can detect in it many different elements in the form of insignificant admixtures—impurities. T h e composition of these impurities sometimes offers a clew to the deposits where the copper and tin used in this bronze were obtained. If the historian or archaeologist definitely prove C h i n e s e b o y w a s h i n g t i n - b e a r i n g that the found bronze articles were s a n d s in a ditch. M a l a y a n Archipelago manufactured where they were found the geologist and the geochemist must immediately start looking for tin in that region, It is possible in this way to rediscover long forgotten tin deposits. But bronze did not lose its importance even when the Bronze Age was replaced by the Iron Age. M a n used it for objects of art, for minting coins and for casting church-bells and cannon. Tin can also form remarkable alloys with other metals, for example, with lead, antimony, etc. In our time alloys are a sphere of technical wonders, a world of ' ' m a g i c " transformations. Soviet scientists have come to know and interpret these " w o n d e r f u l " phenomena, these regroupings of atoms which occur when two or more metals are alloyed. Owing to the changes in molecular structure the alloy acquires new properties alien to each of the metals taken separately. For example, an alloy of soft metals often unexpectedly becomes very hard. Alloys of tin and lead, so-called babbitts, are used in powerful and precision apparatus and in machinery, wherever the action of a steel rod revolving at an enormous speed must be rendered harmless. These so-called "antifriction" alloys are verv durable (they are said to have
12

m

179

a low friction coefhoent). They are very important technically because they prolong the life of costly machinery. T i n possesses the remarkable capacity for being welded to metals; the use of the so-called solders, i.e., alloys of tin with lead and antimony, in engineering is based on this property. Not everybody knows what tin means to printing. It is the principal component of the so-called "type m e t a l " of which cliches, i.e., forms with relief drawings to reproduce illustrations, are cast. Nothing in the world imparts tliat mirror-like lustre to beautiful white and coloured marbles in polishing as does the white tin-oxide powder. Various tin compounds are widely used in the chemical and rubber industries, in print works, in dyeing wool and silk, in the m a n u f a c t u r e of enamels, glazes, stained glass, gold and silver leaf. It also plays a very important part in warfare. T h e oldest tin deposits have been known in Asia and in Europe, in the south of the British Isles which were even called "Cassiteridcs." It is hard to say, though, whether cassiterite got its name from the isles or the isles were named after the Greek word "cassiteros" which we encounter in Homer's Iliad where it is used to signify tin. It is noteworthy that in Cornwall cassiterite is found together with chalcopyrite, a copper mineral, so that when smelted this ore at once produces bronze. T h e main source of tin today is Malacca Peninsula, which yields close to half the world's output of this metal, and where more than 200 deposits in granites and a vast n u m b e r of rich placer deposits are known. T h e placer deposits are worked hydraulically; they are washed by powerful streams of water discharged from monitors. Liquid mud composed of a mixture of different minerals flows into special ditches with riffles where it is vigorously stirred by workers from the local population. This hard work is done mainly by children. Owing to its high specific gravity cassiterite is retained by the riffles, whence it is removed from time to time. T h e method of production, as you see, is very primitive and is based on cruel exploitation. T h e concentrate containing 60 to 70 per cent cassiterite is transported to plants where it is smelted for tin. T h e imperialist countries have been waging a fierce struggle for tin. During the Second World W a r J a p a n strove to take possession of
180

the tin deposits oil the continent and on the islands, and the tinsmelting plants in Singapore owned by British firms in order to provide for the needs of her war industry and to help Hitler Germany which was very short of tin. J a p a n and G e r m a n y at the same time aimed at depriving the U.S.A. and Britain of the sources of this valuable war metal. T a k e a look at the world m a p and you will see that the zone of tin-bearing granites and, hence, tin deposits, as well as those of tungsten and bismuth, runs along the Pacific Coast, through the Billiton (or Belitoeng), Banka (Bangka) and Singkep islands, Malacca and T h a i peninsulas and South China. Geochemistry is striving to divine the reasons for the formation of these zones containing rich deposits of tin ores and other chemical compounds found together with tin.

Stacks of c a n n e d f o o d s a t a c a n n i n g p l a n t 181

In addition to Malacca there are very rich tin concentrations in Bolivia i.South America). They are located in the Cordilleras. Lesser deposits are known in Australia, Tasmania and in the Belgian Congo 'Africa i. o r the nearlv 200,000 tons of tin constituting the world's annual production 40 to 50 per cent is used in the manufacture of white metal. Consumption of white metal is sharply increasing with the development of the canning industry. Have you ever thought of the importance, of ivhitc meln! and of the part plaved bv the tin can in which millions ol kilograms ol meat, lish, vegetables and fruit are preserved? What is white metal? It is sheet iron covered with a verv thin laser of tin about o.01 mm. ihirk. Tin plating or tinning of the iron sheets or iron cans prevents them from rusting. Pure tin is not dissolved by the liquids of the tanned foods and is practically harmless to man's health. No other plating can compete with tin in stability. Todav we can sav that tin has outlived its '"bronze age" and has become a metal of the lbod-can.

IODINE THE OMNIPRESEN 1
We all very well know what iodine is; we use it exLernallv when we cut a finger and take its brown-rod drops with milk when we grow old. Iodine is a well-known drug and yet how little we reallv knowabout it and about its fate in nature! It would be hard to find another element as full of eofitradietions and riddles as iodine. Moreover, we know so little about the principal milestones in the historv of its migrations that we cannot sav as vet whv we use it as a medicine and where it has conic from.' It will be observed that even 1). Mendelevev ran into the unpleasant properties of iodine. He distributed his elements in the order of increasing atomic weights but iodine and tellmium upset the order: tellurium stands before iodine though its atomic weight is higher. It is still that way today. Iodine and tellurium were nearly the onlv elements that disturbed the harmony of Mendelevev's I,aw. 'I'rue, wo have an idea of what is what today, but for manv vears this was an incomprehensible exception; the critics of Mendelevev's brilliant theorv repeatedly indicated that he placed his elements as he saw fit. Iodine is solid; it forms grev crvstals with a real metallic lustre. It looks like a metal and it is shot with violet, but at the same lime if we put the metallic iodine crvstals into a glass phial we soon see violet vapours in the upper pari of the phial: iodine is easily sublimated without passing through the liquid state. Here is the first contradiction that strikes votir eve, but this is immediately followed bv another. T h e colour of the vapours is dark violet, while that of the iodine itself is metallic grey. T h e salts of iodine
183

M o u n t a i n r a n g e s of t h e C e n t r a l P a m i r s . P i c t u r e m a d e d u r i n g ascent t o M o u n t f r o m an a l t i t u d e of 6,500 m e t r e s

Stalin

are altogether colourless and look like common salt; only some of them have a slightly yellowish tint. And here are some other iodine riddles. Iodine is an exceptionally rare element; our geochemists have estimated that the earth's crust contains only about 0.00001 or 0.00002 per cent; nevertheless iodine is found everywhere. W e can probably say it even more bluntly: there is not a single thing in our surroundings in which the finest methods of analysis do not, finally, detect a few atoms of iodine. Everything is permeated with iodine; the solid earth and rocks, even the purest crystals of transparent rock crystal or Iceland spar contain quite a n u m b e r of iodine atoms. Sea-water contains much more of it, the soils and running waters contain very much, and plants, animals and m a n contain still more. We absorb iodine from the air which is saturated with its vapours; we consume it with food and water. We cannot live without iodine. N o w we can understand the questions: why does iodine exist everywhere? Where does so much iodine come from? Which is its primary source? From what depths of the earth's interior is this rare element brought to us?
184

M e a n w h i l e even the most precise analyses and observations lail to discover its mysterious source because we do not know a single iodine mineral either in deep igneous rocks or in the molten magmas that have come to the surface. Ceochemists picture the origin of iod'tie on earth as follows: at one time, before the geological history of the earth, w h e n our planet was beginning to be covered with a hard crust, continuous clouds of volatile vapours of various substances enveloped the still hot earth. It was at that time that iodine and chlorine were released from the depths of the molten m a g m a s of our planet and iodine was seized by the first streams of the precipitated hot water vapours, a n d the first oceans, which gave rise to seas, accumulated iodine from the atmosphere of the earth. W e do not exactly know if this was really so, but we do know that its distribution on the earth's surface is replete with riddles. In the Arctic countries a n d in high mountains there is comparatively less iodine: in the lowlands a n d near seashores the content of iodine in the rocks increases; it increases even more in deserts while in the salts of the large deserts in South Africa or in the A t a c a m a Desert ^South America) we find real mineral c o m p o u n d s of iodine. Iodine is dissolved in the a i r ; a c c u r a t e analysis has shown that it is distributed in the air according to a verv definite law: its a m o u n t varies with the altitude. At the altitudes of the Pamirs and the Altai, more t h a n 4,000 metres above sea level, there is much less iodine than at the level of Moscow or K a z a n . At the same time we know that iodine exists not only on the earth. W e find it in meteorites which come to us from unknown spaces of the universe. Scientists have long been looking for it with the aid of new methods in the atmospheres of the sun and stars, but so lar to no avail. Sea-water contains quite a lot of iodine a b o u t two milligrams per litre, which is already an appreciable quantity. Sea-water condenses near the shores, in firths and in littoral lakes where salts accum u l a t e a n d cover the flat shores with a white film. These salt concentrations have been verv well studied 011 the C r i m e a n Black-Sea coast and in the lakes of Central Asia, but no iodine has been found in t h e m ; it has disappeared somewhere. Some part of the iodine, apparently, accumulates in silts on the bottom, but the greater part of it evaporates, goes u p into the air, and only a small portion of it is retained in the
i«:>

IODINE

CYCLE

Air

Air -Precipitations rain

Air
and snow) ferresfrial plants

Inferior reefs — 'crt/sialline)

Disintegration \of roctrs

Soil
Lcrnd animals •

Man

fresh water

fresh

water -

\
Iodine evele on earth

oceans

Seas

and

fresh wafer animals y Marine ^ plants ^ marine ' sedimentat/oo

Marine animals

r e s i d u a l b r i n e s . B u t h a r d l y a n y i o d i n e is f o u n d w h e r e t h e s a l t s o f p o t a s sium and bromine are accumulated. develops near the shores of salt-lakes and

Vegetation

sometimes

seas, f o r m i n g w h o l e forests of s e a w e e d s w h i c h It is i n these seaweeds that iodine

cover the littoral as a result of of

stones. some

accumulates and

incomprehensible contains Certain cent. Soviet several

biochemical kilograms of

processes, pure

each

ton

seaweeds element. 10 per

iodine,

this

remarkable

sea-sponges contain

even

more

iodine,

i.e., u p t o 8 o r

investigators Along a

have the

made

a

particularly coast (over the

good

study bring, of

of

the

Pacific coast. in autumn, brown

entire

vast

waves

mainlv sea-kale. of kilopartly

tremendous seaweeds They to

quantity inanv

300,000

tons)

T hese grams

contain are

hundreds partly used

of t h o u s a n d s for food them. and

of iodine. burned

collected, iodine

carefully

extract

and

potash

from

B u t t h e h i s t o r y of i o d i n e in t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t d o e s n o t e n d w i t h I o d i n e is a l s o b r o u g h t b y o i l w a t e r s . iodine is now extracted are formed Lakes of w a s t e w a t e r s f r o m near Baku.

that. which

186

It is also extruded by some volcanoes from their mysterious entrails. T h e fates of this element in the history of our earth are so diverse that it is hard to paint a full and coherent picture of the life and wanderings of this incessantly migrating atom. The!) iodine gets into the hands of man and a new riddle arises: we treat sick people with iodine, stop haemorrhages with it, kill bacteria, prevent the infection of wounds, but for all that iodine is exceptionally poisonous: its vapours irritate the mucous membrane. Too many drops or crystals of iodine can prove fatal to num. But the most surprising thing is that man is worse off when there is too little iodine. T h e organism of man and, probablv, of a number of animals must have a definite amount of iodine. We know that iodine dcficiencv in some regions manifests itself in a special disease t ailed goitre. This disease usually affects people living in Alpine regions. We know some villages in the high mountains of the Central Caucasus and the Pamirs where this disease is widespread. It is also very well known in the Alps. American investigators have recently found that goitre is also widespread in America. It appears that if we chart the incidence of goitre and draw up a m a p of the percentage of iodine contained in the water the data of the two maps will coincide. T h e h u m a n organism is exceptionally sensitive to iodine, and a decrease in its content in the air and water immediately affects the health of man. M a n has learned to treat goitre with salts of iodine. Xo less interesting are the ways in which iodine is employed in industrv; the latter makes more extensive, and more diverse use of iodine with each passing vear. O n the one hand, man has discovered compounds of iodine with organic substances which create an armour impenetrable by X-rays; at the same time if these compounds arc introduced into the organism they make it possible to photograph the internal tissues with especial clarity. We have learned that iodine has recently found entirely new fields of application. Particular importance is attached to the use ol iodine in the celluloid industry where special salts of iodine in the form ol small needle-like crystals are employed. These needle-like crystals are so distributed in the celluloid that the waves of a light ray cannot go through them in all directions. T h e result is what we call a polarized ray. We have long built special, very expensive polarizing microscopes,
i!>7

Diagram goitre iodine ever are in

of the

the

incidence and

of the

U.S.A. in water;

content there is

wherethereWhite drink3 to

little

iodine cases.

many

goitre

s p a c e s h o w s a r e a in w h i c h ing 20 water contain, of per from iodine 1,000

billionths ca.sc

with populashaded water 9 bilwent shaded water which

1 goitre tion space

annuallv. shows less of

Straight area than where 2 to

contains lionths

iodine:

goitre

up to 5 cases. Diagonal!*, space shows area contains w ater 0.5 to 2 hill ion th s: o to cm goitre 5 to of 15 eases. Black is - ^ c space cases shows per in w h i c h area in

contains

billionths

iodine:

goitre

i.ooo

population

ijut n o w this n e w filter-polaroid h a s h e l p e d us to i n v e n t m a g n i f y i n g glasses which possible two plate lighted because have in replaced the field. very the Bv microscope. combining colours panel or They two to the can or he three used during it exis peditions polaroids I can screen a

to i m p a r t lighted

bright will

drawing:

picture where effects polaroid a

to myself a rotating is put street in

decorative

motion-picture

polaroids into and an the

produce

remarkable you

picturesque When will not

r a p i d l y c h a n g i n g all c o l o u r s

of t h e solar s p e c t r u m . windshield not a see t h e headlights will with a by and how still of cars

automobile's bright you car

can drive along blind of haloes point.

vou the

the but

polaroid only the

brilliant luminous and

fiery lights When a

separate

plane of how

rises a b o v e

blacked-out parachute diversely many requires a the

city

drops

sparkling make how of

compounds Vim many see

magnesium extensively and It arc.

polaroid flare. this lot

spectacles is u s e d , in

it p o s s i b l e t o s e e e v e r y t h i n g vague problems there

underneath

element

contradictions

the. l a t e

its m i g r a t i o n s present The ceutist
188

of p r o f o u n d

research omni-

to r e v e a l all its p r o p e r t i e s a n d element. history who of t h e a discovery small

to u n d e r s t a n d

t h e n a t u r e of this

of

this

element

is the

also ashes

interesting. pharmaof plants

It w a s d i s c o v e r e d in t h e a s h e s of p l a n t s in l 8 t i owned factory

by C o u n o i s , a

processing

into saltpetre. However, the discovery of this element did not particularly impress the world's scientists and it was duly appreciated only 100 years later. With this I could finish my story about this interesting element, but one more thought P o c k e t m i n e r a l o g i c a l m a g n i f y i n g glass w i t h still occupies my mind. T h e r e p o l a r o i d m a d e of i o d i n e c o m p o u n d s . D e s i g n e d is a vacant box below iodine by P r o f e s s o r V . A r s h i n o v in the same group in Mendeleyev's table. It was pointed out yet by D. Mendeleyev who said that a new element would have to be found for it; he named it ekaiodine. W e call this box No. 85. But where is this element No. 85 found or where is it hiding? It must exist somewhere in the world and it must be discovered. It was long searched for in residual brines of lakes and salt deposits. It was sought in interplanetary spaces among the dispersed atoms, which are observed in the universe amid the stars and sunS, planets and comets; it was also looked for in all natural metals, but was never found. M a n y times scientists thought that in their instruments they saw a flash of a line corresponding to the luminescent atoms of No. 85, but subsequent investigations failed to confirm this discovery, and box No. 85 is vacant to-date.* W h a t is this mysterious undiscovered atom? It probably continues the puzzling history of iodine; it is likely endowed with even more wonderful properties and it is precisely this that renders its discovery difficult. It may exist in the universe for so short a time that even the most accurate instruments are unable to detect it; it may have so strong a charge that it cannot exist in our world. But if No. 85 is discovered on earth it will prove a n even more remarkable element than iodine and will have even more fabulous properties. It is well worth the scientists' while to work on the riddles of iodine and its fellow-element in the table. * See the word "astatine" in the dictionary of elements.

FLUORINE THE OMNIVOROUS
When I planned this book I intended to write a chapter on fluorine and its remarkable properties, but as I came to it I had to stop. I had never worked with fluorine and its compounds, had never taken an interest in its fine minerals or in its use in industry and was, therefore, in a quandary. I had to resort to mv numerous old notes and poring over them I found a number of pages from which I compiled this chapter. Charles Darwin points out in his autobiography how a scientist must work. He savs that a scientist cannot and does not have to remember even tiling, that he must make a note of everv interesting observation and whatever curious information he finds in books on separate slips of paper, and that he should put everv book that deals with questions he is interested in on a separate shelf together with the n < ites. Darwin did not think a scientist should have a large and diverse library. He always planned his major problems a few years ahead and fullv devoted himself to their solution. For each problem he picked iiis materials do/ens of times, and one or two shelves in his bookcase were occupied by the materials on individual problems. In several vcars iand sometimes it took a dozen years), he would, thus, accumulate enormous factual material for each scientific problem. He would look through this material and these books once more and write the corresponding chapter of his famous treatise that has laid the basis for modern biological science. This idea of compiling big books and monographs is very convenient and I confess that already 20 years ago T began to follow this wonderful
i<)<>

F

9

19,00

V i e w of s o u t h e r n T r a n s - B a i k a l

region

e x a m p l e set by D a r w i n a n d decidcd to p r e p a r e the books a n d materials for m y works in an exactly similar m a n n e r . I presented m y large library to the K h i b i n y M o u n t a i n Station on Kola Peninsula a n d retained only the books that were connected with the tasks I faced in the i m m e d i a t e f u t u r e . T h e s e tasks included a big p r o b l e m — t o write a history of all chemical elements in the earth, to show geologists, mineralogists a n d chemists the intricate course travelled by the atoms of any metal in their migrations in the universe, a n d to tell a b o u t their properties a n d behaviour on earth a n d in the hands of m a n . W h e n I c a m e to write the c h a p t e r on fluorine I f o u n d five small sheets of p a p e r in the paper-case which bore the inscription " F l u o r i n e . " I shall give t h e m to you a p p r o x i m a t e l y the way they were written. SHEET 1 I have long since w a n t e d to visit the famous Trans-Baikal deposits w h e n c e I received r e m a r k a b l e crystals of topaz, the beautiful rare
191

Charles
Darwin

mineral containing fluorine, crystals of all colours and druses of multicoloured fluor-spar produced for the needs of industry. Finally, we got out of the express train which was on its way to the Manchuria Station. At the station we were met by a troika and we drove down the wonderful steppes in the south of Trans-Baikal region covered with a continuous white carpet of beautiful edelweiss. The enchanting picture opened up ever more widely before us as we climbed the gently sloping hills. Here in separate granite outcrops crystals of blue and yellowish topaz were extracted; here in the cavities of granite pegmatites we saw beautiful octahedrons of fluor-spar compounds of fluorine and the metal calcium. But we were particularly impressed by the picture of a rich deposit of this mineral in a certain small valley. Here they were no longer separate small crystals precipitated from the hot aqueous solutions of cooled granites, but enormous concentrations of pink, violet ajid white fluor-spar of the most diverse shades; they shone and sparkled in the bright Manchurian sun. This valuable stone was quarried in order to be sent all across Siberia to the metallurgical plants in the Urals, Moscow and Leningrad. A grand picture of gaseous emanations of ancient and deep molten granites arose before my eyes. Concentrations of fluor-spar were formed from volatile fluorine compounds. O n e of the stages in the process of slow cooling of the granite massif, surrounded by the vapours and gases it gave off, in the interior of the earth was reflected in these formations. I recalled another picture from the historv of the same, fluor-spar. The fluor-spar of enchantingly beautiful colours from which the valuable Murino vases were manufactured and which was described in the oJd mineralogv textbooks came to niv mind. I also recalled that in Britain there was a whole industry for the processing of this stone and that in museums we could see beautiful articles made from it. Finally, quite different pictures from the environs of Moscow occurred to me. As a young teacher at the First People's University in Moscow I charged my students with th>' task of studying the minerals found in the environs of our city. These minerals included a remarkable violet-coloured stone which had been found more than 140 years
192

ago (181 o) in the small R a t o v ravine, V e r e y a District, Moscow Region, a n d h a d been n a m e d ratovkite. I t occurred in individual concentrations in the form of beautiful violet strata amid limestones..Zones of its dark-violet cubes were f o u n d along the banks of t h e O s u g a a n d V a z u z y a rivers, tributaries of the Volga. W e started actively studying this stone whicli t u r n e d out to be a p u r e calcium fluoride, the fluorite I a m telling you a b o u t . Its beautiful violet-coloured pebbles were encountered in such large a m o u n t s a n d the strata were so regularly deposited a m i d the limestones Academician Alexander Karpinsky t h a t it was h a r d to a t t r i b u t e their (1847-1936) formation to the hot e m a n a t i o n s of molten granites which h a d given rise to the lovely Trans-Baikal topazes a n d the M a n c h u r i a n fluorspar deposits. M o r e t h a n 2,000 metres separated these deposits f r o m the ancient granites, which form the basis of Moscow rocks, a n d we h a d to look for some other chemical agents t h a t a c c u m u l a t e d this beautiful stone along the Volga tributaries. W i t h the aid of Academician A. K a r pinsky our y o u n g people were able to divine the origin of this stone. I t a p p e a r s ratovkite was connected with the ancient sediments of the Moscow seas a n d t h a t in its concentration a p a r t was played by living creatures, i.e., sea-shells, especially the lime-shells t h a t accum u l a t e d crystals of calcium fluoride in their cells. T h e pictures I h a v e p a i n t e d here clearly show the peculiar a n d intricate course travelled by fluorine in its migrations in n a t u r e . SHEET 2 A brief description of one d a y spent in C o p e n h a g e n , the Danish capital, d u r i n g m y trip to a geological congress.
13

193

After the congress we visited the famous cryolite mill in the environs of this city. T h e snow-white stone resembling ice is brought here from peaks on the icy coast of Greenland. D u e to some strange natural coincidence this stone, in no way differing in appearance from ice, is encountered only in one place on earth—in the polar regions of the west coast of Greenland where it is quarried in vast fields, loaded on ships and sent to Copenhagen. Cryolite goes to special mills where it is separated from the other minerals, especially lead, zinc and iron ores, and only a pure snow-like powder remains and is used as flux for the production of aluminium. Highly valuable, this powder is shipped in special boxes to chemical plants where a new fate awaits it: it is smelted together with aluminium ore in electric furnaces and the stream of molten metal glitter-

T a j i k s e x a m i n i n g o r e c o n t a i n i n g crystals o£ f l u o r i t c f r o m a d e p o s i t in T a j i k i s t a n

194

Professor Moissan obtaining the

first

fluorine

in his P a r i s l a b o r a t o r y in 1886

ing like silver runs d o w n into large tanks p r e p a r e d beforehand. This metal is a l u m i n i u m a n d m o d e r n a l u m i n i u m production cannot do w i t h o u t cryolite. So far there are no other methods of p r o d u c i n g this metal which is necessary for the industries of both w a r a n d peace a n d the a n n u a l world o u t p u t of which n o w runs into two million tons. E n o r m o u s electric installations use the power of large rivers a n d waterfalls to dissolve a l u m i n i u m oxide in cryolite a n d to produce p u r e metallic a l u m i n i u m . T r u e n a t u r a l cryolite is now replaced by a n artificial salt of a l u m i n i u m a n d sodium fluoride. But it is the same cryolite only p r o d u c e d by m a n a t chemical plants. SHEET 3 F r a g m e n t s of p u r e t r a n s p a r e n t fluorite were found on the steep slope of a cliff overhanging a beautiful lake in Tajikistan. I t was so t r a n s p a r e n t t h a t lenses for microscopes a n d precision instruments
13

i95

could be m a d e f r o m it. T h e d e m a n d for t r a n s p a r e n t fluorite was so great t h a t it was necessary to send a special expedition to the steep cliffs bordering the lake.* I n the reports of the expedition we read with keen interest a b o u t the unusual difficulties of extracting the t r a n s p a r e n t white fluorite i m b e d d e d in dense limestones. I t took a lot of h a r d work to break small paths to the deposit o v e r h a n g i n g the lake. But it was still h a r d e r to bring separate valuable pieces of the minerals down to the village located on the shores of this lake. Passing large boulders of this r a r e stone f r o m h a n d to h a n d in a chain Tajik mountaineers brought them down, packed t h e m in soft grass,

A t L a k e I s k a n d e r - K u l , T a j i k S.S.R. L e f t " S t o n e M u s h r o o m s " - r e s u l t of r o c k w e a t h e r ln8

crated t h e m a n d delivered t h e m to S a m a r k a n d on pack animals.** T h e optic instrument industry obtained exceptionally p u r e fluorite a n d was able to m a n u f a c t u r e fine, p u r e lenses a n d to build some of the world's best optic instruments f r o m this mineral. SHEET 4 While taking a course of treatments a t a Czechoslovak health resort we were asked to visit a glass-works located in the environs of the city; the works was equipped according to the last word of engineering.
* Tajiks call fluorite "sang i-safet" ; —"white stone." T h e deposit, was found by a shepherd-boy, named Nazar-Ali, in 1928. ** Optic fluorite is an extraordinarily delicate mineral: it can be spoiled not only by shocks and blows but even by sharp changes in temperature. If the mineral is immersed in water with a temperature differing by a few degrees from that of the air a network of cracks result, destroying its high optic qualities.
196

We examined the shops where large-size plateglass was made. T h e glass was monstrously large. Immense sheets of window glass were smelted in a continuous band. Separate shops produced highest grades of cutglass variously stained by salts of rare earths and uranium. However, the shop of artistic drawings proved the most interesting. A vase of purest crystal was covered by a thin layer of paraffin, an experienced artistic engraver m a d e an intricate pattern on the paraffin, then with a scalpel he took some paraffin off in one place, cut thin lines in another and before us appeared a picture of a forest and a deer hunt. This pattern was later reproduced. By means of a special apparatus the contours of the pattern were traced and it was reproduced on dozens of other vases covered with paraffin. O n all of them we gradually saw the picture of a forest and a deer hunted down by dogs. T h e n the vases were placed in special lead-lined furnaces and the latter were filled with vapours of poisonous fluorine compounds. T h e hydrofluoric acid corroded the glass that was not covered by paraffin penetrating now deeper and now only a little so that the surface just turned frosted. Later the paraffin was melted in hot al-

D r a w i n g glass cylinders. W h e n t h e c y l i n d e r s reach a l e n g t h of a b o u t 10 m e t r e s they a r e s t r a i g h t e n e d o u t a n d cut i n t o s e p a r a t e p l a t e s . T h e p i c t u r e on t h e r i g h t s h o w s p r o d u c t i o n of p l a t e glass at a glass p l a n t

197

cohol, sometimes in water or beautiful and delicate etching had to be done now was to by means of rapidly revolving

by mere heating, and we beheld a m a d e by fluorine vapours. All that deepen the etching in some places cutters and the j o b was completed.

SHEET

5

K.Scheele

At last, among my notes a n d recollections of fluorine and its minerals I found the following notes from a university chemistry course. "Fluorine is a gaseous element with an unpleasant pungent odour; it is exceedingly active chemically. It combines with nearly all the elements, even with gold, exploding or heating brightly as it enters into combination. It is not without reason that it was so hard to obtain. It was obtained in pure form in 1886, though it had been discovered by Scheele in 1771." In nature it is known only in the form of salts of hydrofluoric acid, chiefly as calcium fluoride, i. e., the beautifully coloured mineral called fluorite. However, fluorine also abounds in nature in other compounds; for example, apatite contains u p to three per cent of it. In its geochemical history it is connected with volatile sublimates from molten granite magmas, but is also rather rarely encountered in the form of marine sediments which yield a certain accumulation of fluorides from organic substance. Pieces of fluorite are used for optic glasses which, unlike ordinary glass, also lets through ultra-violet rays; it is used as a decorative stone in beautifully coloured trinkets.

T e e t h : h e a l t h y a n d c o r r o d e d by f l u o r i n e

198

However, the chief use of fluorine is based on its capacity for facilitating the melting of metals. It is also used in the production of hydrofluoric acid, which is a very strong solvent and corrodes glass and even rock crystal. As a binary salt of sodium and aluminium hydrofluoric acid forms the mineral cryolite which is required for the electrolysis of metallic aluminium. Fluorine plays an enormous part in the life of plants and other living organisms, but an excess is h a r m f u l a n d causes a n u m b e r of diseases. It also plays an important part in the life of the sea where it accumulates partly by biological processes (shells, bones, teeth) and partly in the form of complex carbonates and especially, phosphates (phosphorites). Sea-water contains one milligram of fluorine per litre, while oyster shells contain twenty times as much. While analyzing the properties of fluorine on the basis of Mendeleyev's table scientists have recently discovered a new remarkable use for fluorine, namely, they have learned to produce a special sub-

C h e c k i n g u p on electric r e f r i g e r a t o r s at t h e L i k h a c h o v

Plant

USES Smelting of metals

OF

FLUORINE Smelting of aluminium Cryolite

CaF 2
(ore) / , Impregnation of fabrics and timber

NaF
Gases tvoxwus gases

F
CF„
Hydrofluoric acid
Efchjng

Suits.

Fighting agricultural pests

Sefrigeration

Chemistry (analysis of silicates)
M a i n uses of f l u o r i n e in i n d u s t r y

on glass

stance—carbon tetraflnoride—which is not poisonous, does not explode when mixed with air, is very stable and is capable of changing from the solid to the gaseous state with a great absorption of heat. This property has made it possible to use carbon fluoride in special refrigerators. It has been possible to develop tremendous refrigerators for preserving various foodstuffs only by the use of carbon tetrafluoride. CONCLUSION I told you in my own words the contents of the five sheets I had found in my paper-case. They seem to exhaust the chapter on this remarkable natural element, but its future is much greater. T h e most complex gaseous products of the future are connected with fluorine. There are no poisons more dangerous than the combinations of this
200

element and at the same time there is no better way for preserving foods inexpensively in small cabinets by maintaining temperatures as low as minus ioo° C. Very little is known about fluorine as yet. It has immense potentialities which arise from the peculiar properties of its complex compounds, and it is now h a r d to foresee its future uses in the national economy and its fate in future engineering.

ALUMINIUM—METAL OF THE 20TH CENTURY
Aluminium is one of the most interesting chemical elements. It is interesting not only because in a space of several decades it has rapidly won an important place in our life, our industry and the leading branches of our national economy and together with magnesium has created the winged power of the plane, but also because of its properties and, primarily, its geochemical role. T h e point is that aluminium, whose acquaintance civilized humanity has made only recently, is one of the most significant and most a b u n d a n t chemical elements. You and I know very well that under the cover of clays and sands, which were formed at different times as a result of weathering and destruction of massive rocks, there is a continuous stony shell of the earth or, as it is often referred to, the earth's crust that envelops the whole globe. This stony shell is at least 100 kilometres thick and maybe, as it is now supposed, even much thicker. In the interior this shell gradually changes to another—an ore shell which contains iron and other metals and, finally, in the centre of the earth there is, apparently, an iron core. T h e stony shell forms enormous projections—continents—on the earth's surface. Folds in the shape of long mountain ranges have, in turn, come to be formed on the continents. The stony shell of the earth which composes the base of the continents and their mountain ranges is made up of alumosilicatcs and silicates. T h e alumosilicatcs consist, as their name indicates, of silicon, aluminium and oxygen. This is why the stony shell is often
202

Af

C r y o l i t e m i n e r a l - a l u m i n i u m a n d s o d i u m fluoride. I t is b r o u g h t t o E u r o p e f r o m l a n d . C r y o l i t e is u s e d f o r t h e p r o d u c t i o n of m e t a l l i c a l u m i n i u m

Green-

called

SiAl, which is a c o m b i n a t i o n
Aluminium.

of the

first

syllables of

the

names— Silicon a n d

This shell, formed mainly of granite, consists of approximately 50 per cent oxygen, 25 p e r cent silicon a n d 10 per cent a l u m i n i u m by weight. T h u s , a l u m i n i u m is the third most a b u n d a n t chemical element a n d the most plentiful metal on earth. T h e r e is m o r e a l u m i n i u m on the e a r t h t h a n iron. A l u m i n i u m , silicon a n d oxygen are, together, the chief elements of which the earth's crust is m a d e ; in the stony shell of the earth they f o r m various minerals. These minerals a r e combinations of atoms whose centre is occupied either by a n a t o m of silicon or a n a l u m i n i u m a t o m , while a r o u n d t h e m the atoms of oxygen a r r a n g e themselves regularly in four corners forming a t e t r a h e d r o n .
203

We are the chief elements in the earth's crust

T h u s aluminium-oxygen tetrahedrons ai ise. in a d d i t i o n to those of silicon-oxygen. I n these cases a l u m i n i u m plays a d u a l role: it is either a r r a n g e d , like other metals, between the siliconoxygen tetrahedrons binding t h e m to each other, or it takes the place of silicon in some of the tetrahedrons. I t is just f r o m these silicon and aluminium tetrahedrons > Silicon O Oxyqen combined in various ways Si I i c o n - o x i d e t e t r a h e d r o n s t h a t m a n y of the most imp o r t a n t minerals of the earth's crust are formed u n d e r the general n a m e of alumosilicates. At first sight the intricate p a t t e r n in the a r r a n g e m e n t of the a l u m i n i u m ,

V a r i o u s c o m b i n a t i o n s of silicon-oxide t e t r a h e d r o n s - s i n g l e t e t r a h e d r o n s , d o u b l e ( s a n d glass), rings, chains, r i b b o n s a n d fiat n e t w o r k s of h e x a g o n a l rings. T h e b o t t o m r o w shows frai .c structures of f e l d s p a r a n d n a t r o l i t e (a m i n e r a l f r o m t h e z e o l i t e g r o u p ) in t w o p r o j e c t i o n s
204

silicon and oxygen atoms reminds us of fine lace or rug ornaments. This picture could be ascertained only by means of X-rays, which p h o t o g r a p h e d , as it were, the internal structure of the minerals. Let us recall how d r a b a n d monotonous the stones a p p e a r e d to us in our childhood a n d w h a t a n intricate a n d varied picture arises before us n o w as we penetrate into their structure. Some alumosilicates are very a b u n d a n t . Suffice it to say t h a t more t h a n half the earth's crust is composed of minerals called feldspars. T h e y form p a r t of granites, gneisses a n d other stony rocks which envelop the earth by a sort of continuous stony a r m o u r and j u t out as powerful m o u n t a i n ranges. Vast accumulations of clays, consisting of 15 to 20 per cent alum i n i u m , were deposited on the earth's surface as a result of weathering of the feldspars over a period of thousands of years. T h e a l u m i n i u m discovered in the composition of these widespread rocks was even called " a l u m e a r t h , " t h o u g h this n a m e has not persisted a n d is n o w used somewhat altered to designate its oxide— alumina. Fortunately, we find a l u m i n i u m in n a t u r e not only in this intricate composition whence it is r a t h e r hard to extract. W e find a considerable a m o u n t of a l u m i n i u m precisely in the form of alumina, its natural c o m p o u n d with oxygen. This c o m p o u n d is encountered in widely differing forms. W e find the anhydrous a l u m i n i u m oxyde (A1 3 0 3 ) in the form of the mineral c o r u n d u m noted for its rem a r k a b l e hardness and, sometimes, unusual beauty. T h e transparent varieties of alumina, which in addition to a l u m i n i u m a n d oxygen contain only diminutive a m o u n t s of elements—dyes—of c h r o m i u m , titan i u m and iron, belong to the firstclass precious stones. W h a t a variety a n d wealth of colour is imparted to a l u m i n a by a negligible a d m i x t u r e N e e d l e s of zeolite, so-called n a t r o l i t e , in i g n e o u s p h o n o l i t e . T h e s a m p l e is in of some substance or other! These are the brilliant red r u b y a n d blue t h e collection of t h e M i n e r a l o g i c a l M u s e u m of t h e U . S . S . R . A c a d e m y of sapphire which have fascinated m a n Sciences
205

from time immemorial. So m a n y fairy-tales are told about these stones! M a n has long been using the less pure, opaque, brown, grey, bluish and reddish crystals of c o r u n d u m which are inferior in hardness only to diamonds. With their aid we process various h a r d materials, including the shiny steel of tools, arms and machinery. W e are all familiar with the fine crystals of the same c o r u n d u m mixed with magnetite and other minerals,' the so-called emery: you ' ' '

Ynu never find me as a metal in nafure

have probably cleaned your pen-knife with emery m a n y a time. C o r u n d u m could naturally serve as an easy source for obtaining metallic aluminium, but it is very valuable in itself and there is not much of it in nature. Since time immemorial, since the very dawn of h u m a n culture, since the stone age, m a n has extensively utilized granites, basalts, porphyries, clays and other alumosilicate rocks, constructing cities, erecting buildings, creating works of art, manufacturing utensils and producing ceramics, faience and porcelain. But for thousands of years m a n never even suspected the noble properties of aluminium, the metal which these rocks concealed. Never and nowhere in nature is aluminium found in the metallic form, but always in various compounds absolutely different in their properties and appearance from the metal aluminium. It required the genius of m a n and his persistent labour to bring this wonderful metal to life. T h e first time it was possible to isolate a small a m o u n t of the shiny silvery metal was about 125 years ago. At that time nobody thought it would ever play any part in the life of man, especially since it was so very hard to produce. But then, in the beginning of last century, several scientists managed by means of electrolysis to isolate aluminium
p o c h k a " d e p o s i t s in t h e Urals

c a m p l e of b a u x i t e of s p h e r i c a l f o r m S aluminium ore f r o m the " K r a s n a y a Sha-

,

, ,

,

,

. , ,

2 of

on a cathode under a crust of slags from aluminium compounds smelted at high temperatures. This was a pure silvery metal— "silver from clay," as they said at that time. This method of aluminium production was employed in plants and the metal soon began to be widely used. It resembles silver in colour and its properties have really proved wonderful. Pure aluminium oxide is not extracted from clay. As a convenient ore nature gives us a hydrous aluminium oxide (hydrate of alumina) in the form of the minerals of diaspore and hydrargillite. Frequently mixed with iron oxides and with silica these minerals form deposits of clay-like stone-like rocks—bauxites—mainly amid littoral sedimentations.

or

Bauxite contains a very large amount of aluminium oxide (50 to 70 per cent) and is the principal industrial aluminium ore. Soviet chemists have developed and mastered a new process of changing the Khibiny mineral, called nephelite (Na 2 Al 2 Si 2 0 8 ), into aluminium oxide. Attempts have lately been made to utilize also disthene shales, which contain 50 to 60 per cent aluminium oxide, and other minerals: leucite and alunite. But neither of these minerals, except nepheline, can replace bauxite. T h e production of metallic aluminium is based on two independent processes. First of all a pure anhydrous aluminium oxide—alumina—is extracted from the bauxite by a rather complex process. T h e aluminium oxide is then electrolyzed in special baths lined with graphite. T h e alumina powder is loaded into these baths in mixture with cryolite powder. A high-intensity electric current develops a high temperature (about i,ooo° C.); the cryolite melts and dissolves the alumina
207

which is subsequently decomposed by the current into aluminium and oxygen. T h e floor of the bath serves as the cathode (negative pole) and the molten aluminium accumulates on it. T h r o u g h a spccial tap it is let out and poured into moulds where it hardens in the form of shiny silvery bars. O n e hundred years ago it was very hard to produce this light white metal and a pound of aluminium cost forty gold rubles. T o d a y the might of rivers, transformed into electric power, makes it possible to produce it in enormous quantities. Some of the properties of aluminium are well known to everybody. It is a very light metal, nearly one-third the weight of iron. It is very malleable and at the same time sufficiently strong; it can be drawn into wire and rolled into thinnest sheets. No less remarkable are its chemical properties. O n the one hand, it does not seem to fear oxidation ; we know this from the behaviour of aluminium wares, pots, pans and cans. But it also has a great affinity for oxygen. Mendeleyev was one of the first to notice this apparent contradiction. T h e point is that after smelting the aluminium, which shines like silver, becomes covered with a dull oxide film which protects it from further oxidation. Not every metal has this capacity for selfdefence. Iron oxide, for example, well-known rust, in no way prevents the further destruction of the metal; it is too friable and penetrable to air and water. T h e thin oxide film which covers aluminium is, on the contrary, very dense and elastic and serves as a reliable protection. When heated aluminium greedily combines with oxygen, changing to aluminium oxide and liberating an enormous quantity of heat. This property of aluminium to liberate heat during combustion has been used by industry for smelting other metals from their oxides by mixing them with powdered metallic aluminium. In this process of aluminothermy the metallic aluminium abstracts the oxygen from the oxides of the other metals and reduces them. If you mix, for example, iron oxide powder with pulverized aluminium and kindle the mixture with a magnesium ribbon a violent reaction will develop before your very eyes, an enormous amount of heat will be liberated, the temperature rising to 3,000° C. T h e iron displaced by the aluminium melts at this temperature, and the aluminium oxide which forms rises as a slag to the surface. M a n has
208

m a d e use of this activity of aluminium for producing certain refractory and technically valuable metals. Metallic titanium, vanadium, chromium, manganese a n d other metals are smelted this way. Since a high temperature is developed in aluminothermy, the mixture of iron oxide and aluminium, known as thermite, is used for welding steel. W e could hardly n a m e m a n y elements that have m a d e so fast and brilliant a career as aluminium. Aluminium has very rapidly m a d e its way into the automobile, machine-building a n d other branches of industry, in m a n y cases replacing steel and iron. In naval ship-building its use has wrought a revolution, Pouring aluminium making it possible, for example, to build "pocket battleships" (ships the size of light cruisers with the power of dreadnoughts). M a n has learned to produce this "silver" from natural minerals on a n enormous scale, and the "silver from clay" has enabled him fully to conquer the air. Aluminium and its light alloys offer the best material for the construction of rigid airships, fuselages, wings and all-metal planes. This new industry, which has so extensively utilized aluminium, has grown with wonderful speed before our very eyes. W h e n we see a plane flying over our heads let us recall that aluminium makes u p 69 per cent of its weight (without the motor) and that even in an aircraft engine the weight of aluminium and magnesium, the two lightest metals, constitutes close to 25 per cent. I n addition to the vast consumption of aluminium by the heavy
14 209

»

M o d e r n e x p r e s s t r a i n . B u i l t m a i n l y of light a l u m i n i u m

alloys

industry, the construction of all-aluminium railway carriages, and the utilization of this metal in machine-building (especially aircraftbuilding) hundreds of thousands of tons of it are used in the m a n u facture of aluminium wires and parts employed in tfrtr electrical industry. And still this does not exhaust the uses of the metal. Let us add the reflective mirrors in searchlights, the main parts of shells and machine-gun cartridge belts, the flares and the aluminium powder mixed with iron oxide in incendiary bombs. Let us recall the tremendous importance of artificial crystalline alumina (electrocorundum, alundum) now produced from the same bauxites and used for abrasives chiefly in machining metals. By crystallizing pure aluminium oxide with an addition of dyes we produce rubies and sapphires in no way inferior to the natural stones either in hardness or beauty. W e use them mainly as durable support stones in the principal parts of precision instruments: watches, scales, electric meters, galvanometers, etc. We coat iron with fine aluminium powder and produce a sort of rustproof aluminium white metal. T h e same powder serves for the
210

m a n u f a c t u r e of l i t h o g r a p h i c i n k . O f l a t e it h a s also e a r n e d t h e a p p r e c i a t i o n of a r t i s t s w h o p a i n t o n w o o d . W h y d o w e call a l u m i n i u m t h e m e t a l of t h e 2 0 t h c e n t u r y ? B e c a u s e o w i n g to its r e m a r k a b l e p r o p e r t i e s it is i n c r e a s i n g l y m a d e u s e of a n d its e n o r m o u s r e s e r v e s a r e i n e x h a u s t i b l e ; w e h a v e e v e r y r e a s o n t o b e l i e v e t h a t a l u m i n i u m is n o w b e c o m i n g p a r t of e v e r y d a y life like i r o n d i d i n its t i m e . I n a f e w c e n t u r i e s t h e y will p r o b a b l y call o u r t i m e t h e a l u m i n i u m age.

[ They call me the metal of ^ the 20th century

14

BERYLLIUM—METAL OF THE FUTURE
Historians tell us that Nero, the R o m a n emperor, liked to watch fighting gladiators in the circus through a large crystal of a green emerald. When Rome, set on fire by his order, was burning he took delight in the raging lire by watching it through a green emerald glass in which the red colours of the fire blending with the green of the glass appeared black and sinister. When the artists of ancient Greece and Rome, who did not knowany diamonds, wanted to engrave somebody's face in stone in order to immortalize him and show their admiration for him they used a pure emerald from the Nubian Desert in Africa. Like the emeralds, golden-yellow chrysoberyls found in the sands of Ccvlon, greenish-yellow snake-coloured beryls and bJuish-green aquamarines the colour of sea-water were also always highly valued in India. T h e euclase, one of the rarest minerals of delicate " b l u e water," as the jewellers put it, and the fiery-red phenacite, which fades in the sun in the course of a few minutes, came to be known later. All these stones have long attracted man's attention by the beauty of their play and the remarkable sparkle and purity of colour, and though many chemists tried to divine their chemical nature they found nothing new in them and erroneously believed them to be compounds of ordinary alumina. Beryls and emeralds were mined two thousand years ago in the intricate bends of Cleopatra's famous underground galleries in the arid Nubian Desert.
2 12

Be

4

9.02

Beryls. T h e b o a r d s h o w s a h e x a g o n a l section of a crystal

T h e green stones extracted from the interior of the earth were delivered by camel caravans to the R e d Sea coast and thence to the palaces of Indian rajahs, the shahs of Persia and the rulers of the O t t o m a n Empire. In the 16th century, after the discovery of America, remarkably beautiful and big dark-green emeralds were brought to Europe from South America. After a hard struggle against the Indians the Spaniards seized the fabulous wealth of emeralds mined in Peru a n d Colombia and brought to the altar of the goddess whose sacred image was an emerald crystal the size of an ostrich egg. T h e y looted the temples of the local population, but the precious stone deposits in the inaccessible mountains of Colombia had long remained a secret to the invaders and the Spaniards got to the mines and took possession of them only after a long struggle. By the end of the 18th century all these mines were exhausted. At the same time aquamarines of enchanting colours began to be found in the sands of sunny Brazil. It is not without reason that this stone was named aquamarine, i.e., " t h e colour of sea-water," since
'213

its colours are as changeable as those of the southern sea in all the magnificence and diversity of its shades familiar to every one who has ever been on the Black Sea coast or has seen Aivazovsky's remarkable paintings. While gathering brushwood in a forest in 1831 a Urals peasant, named Maxim Kozhevnikov, found the first Russian emerald under an uprooted tree. T h e emerald mines were worked for more than 100 years. Trainloads of light-coloured beryl were extracted from the earth but only the bright-green stones were faceted, while the rest were discarded. . . . Such is the past history of the green precious stones which were described under the name of "beryllos" several centuries B.C. Such is the picture of the beginning of the history of the metal of the future, called beryllium, as it comes to our mind. But until 1798 it never occurred to anybody that these beautiful bright stones contained a yet unknown valuable metal. At a solemn sitting of the French Academy on the 26th Pluviose of the sixth year of the Revolution (February 15, 1798) the French chemist Vauquelin made the astounding statement that what had formerly been considered alumina or alum earth in a n u m b e r of minerals was really an absolutely new substance for which he proposed the name of glucinum (from the Greek word meaning sweetness) because its salts tasted sweet to the chemist. This statement was soon confirmed by numerous analyses of other hemists, but it turned out that the minerals contained but little of this new metal, usually only from four to five per cent. W h e n chemists began studying the distribution of beryllium in detail they found that it was generally a very rare metal. T h e earth's crust contains no more than 0.0004 P e r cent of it, and still there is twice as much beryllium in the earth as lead or cobalt and 20,000 times as little as its brother-metal aluminium with which it had always been confused. Then our chemists and metallurgists went to work on this metal, and an entirely new picture has presented itself to us in the last fifteen years; it is not without reason that we can now call beryllium the greatest metal of the future. It really appears that this silvery metal is twice as light as the wellknown light aluminium. It is only 1.85 times the weight of \vater,
'214

G i a n t b r i g h t g r e e n o p a q u e b e r y l f r o m a f e l d s p a r q u a r r y . W e i g h t 18 tons

w h e r e a s i r o n is 8 t i m e s as h e a v y a n d p l a t i n u m is m o r e t h a n 20 t i m e s as h e a v y . I t y i e l d s fine a n d also v e r y l i g h t alloys w i t h c o p p e r a n d m a g n e s i u m . T r u e , t h e e x t e n s i v e u t i l i z a t i o n of b e r y l l i u m is still k e p t secret (it is a m i l i t a r y s e c r e t of a n u m b e r of c o u n t r i e s ) b u t w e a l r e a d y k n o w v e r y well t h a t t h e alloys of t h i s m e t a l find e v e r w i d e r a p p l i c a t i o n i n t h e a v i a t i o n of all c o u n t r i e s , t h a t t o p r o d u c e g o o d a u t o m o b i l e s p a r k p l u g s a b e r y l l i u m p o w d e r is a d d e d t o t h e p o r c e l a i n m a s s , t h a t t h i n m e t a l l i c p l a t e s m a d e of b e r y l l i u m easily t r a n s m i t X - r a y s a n d t h a t t h e alloys of b e r y l l i u m a r e a m a z i n g f o r t h e i r l i g h t n e s s a n d s t r e n g t h . P a r t i c u l a r l y r e m a r k a b l e a r e s p r i n g s m a d e of b e r y l l i u m b r o n z e . B e r y l l i u m is r e a l l y o n e of t h e m o s t r e m a r k a b l e e l e m e n t s of t r e m e n dous theoretical a n d practical importance. W e h a v e a l r e a d y l e a r n e d t o p r o s p e c t f o r i t ; w e k n o w it is f o u n d i n r e g i o n s of g r a n i t e massifs, w h e r e it c o n c e n t r a t e s i n t h e l a s t b r e a t h s of m o l t e n g r a n i t e s a n d a c c u m u l a t e s t o g e t h e r w i t h o t h e r v o l a t i l e gases a n d r a r e m e t a l s i n t h e final e x t r a c t s of t h e r e m n a n t s of g r a n i t e s h a r d e n i n g in the interior.
'215

I n these lodes, which we call granite pegmatites, we encounter beryllium in the form of fine sparkling precious stones. W e also find it with other ores; we know where to look for it because we know its behaviour, character a n d properties. It is prospected for on an ever growing scale. T h e paths travelled by beryllium in the earth's crust suggest to us its uses in industry. Technologists are studying the methods of its extraction from ores, while metallurgists are learning Crystals of b e r y l in f e l d s p a r to use it in super-light alloys for the construction of planes. Mastery of the air and daring flights of planes and balloons into the stratosphere are impossible without light metals, and we can already foresee that beryllium will come to the aid of the modern

L a r g e crystal of b e r y l

'216

aircraft metals—aluminium and magnesium. O u r planes will then fly at a rate of thousands of kilometres per hour. T h e future belongs to beryllium! Geochemists, you must search for new beryllium deposits. Chemists, learn to separate this light metal from its fellow-traveller—aluminium. Technologists, make the lightest possible alloys that do not sink, are hard as steel, elastic as rubber, strong as platinum and eternal as' precious stones. . . . T o d a y these words may sound fantastic. But think of the fantasies that have become reality and daily practice before our very eyes; we seem to forget that only some 20 years ago our radio and talking pictures sounded like the greatest fantasy.

VANADIUM—BASIS OF THE AUTOMOBILE

v

23

" 50.95

" H a d there been no v a n a d i u m there would be no automobile," said Henry Ford who had begun his career precisely with successfully utilizing v a n a d i u m steel for the axles of his car. " H a d there been no v a n a d i u m certain groups of animals could not exist," said Y. Samoilov, well-known Russian mineralogist, when it was discovered that the blood of some Holothurioidea contained close to 10 per cent of this metal. Some geochemists believe that had there been no v a n a d i u m there would be no oil in the earth; they ascribe to v a n a d i u m a special influence on the formation of oil. This remarkable metal was long unknown to m a n ; controversies and a struggle for obtaining it continued for many decades. "Long, long ago, in the extreme North there lived Vanadis, the beautiful and beloved goddess. O n e day somebody knocked on her door. T h e goddess was comfortably seated in an armchair. 'Let him knock again,' she thought. But the knocking ceased and somebody walked away from the door. T h e goddess wondered who the modest and diffident visitor was. She opened a window and looked out. She saw a m a n O n e o£ H o l o named Wohler who was hastily departing from her t h u r i o i d e a conpalace. taining vana"Several days later she heard someone knocking on dium in its the door again but this time the knocking continued blood
'218

until she went and opened ~the door. Before her stood a handsome young m a n by the n a m e of Nils Sefstrom. T h e y soon fell in love with one another and gave birth to a son whom they named V a n a dium. This is the n a m e of the new metal discovered in 1831 by the Swedish physicist and chemist Nils Sefstrom." T h u s begins the story of vanadium and its discovery in the letter of the Swedish chemist Berzelius. But in his story he forgets to mention that somebody else h a d knocked on the goddess' door before and that this remarkable person was the famous don Andres Manuel del A n d r e s M a n u e l d e l R i o , p r o f e s s o r of Rio, one of" the purest souls of M i n e r a l o g y a n d C h e m i s t r y in M e x i c o old Spain, an ardent champion of (1764-1849) Mexico's liberty and fighter for its future, fine chemist and mineralogist, mining engineer and minesurveyor who was able to imbibe the ideas of the foremost scientists of the time. As early as 1801, while studying the brown lead ores of Mexico Andres del Rio discovered in them what appeared to him a new metal. Since its compounds were of all possible colours he named it panchromium at first, but later substituted erythronium, i.e., red, for it. However, Andres del Rio was unable to prove his discovery. T h e chemists to whom he sent samples took the element contained in the brown lead ore for chromium; the same mistake had been made by the G e r m a n chemist Wohler who so diffidently and unsuccessfully knocked on the goddess Vanadis' door. After long doubts and many unsuccessful attempts to prove the independence of this metal the young Swedish chemist Sefstrom found a solution. Blast-furnaces for smelting iron were being built in different parts of Sweden at that time. It turned out that the iron ores of some mines yielded brittle iron, while high grades of flexible and ductile
'219

metal were obtained from other mines. I n checking up on the chemical composition of these ores the young chemist soon isolated a special black powder from the magnetite ores of the T a b e r M o u n t a i n in Sweden. Continuing his research under the supervision of Berzelius he proved that he was dealing with a new chemical element and that the same element was contained in the Mexican brown lead ore spoken of by Andres del Rio. W h a t was Wohler to do after this indubitable success of the young Swede? In a letter to his friend he wrote: " I was a real ass to have overlooked the new element in the brown lead ore, and Berzelius was right when he ridiculed me for so timidly a n d unsuccessfully knocking on the door of the goddess Vanadis." T h e remarkable metal v a n a d i u m has now become one of industry's most important metals. But it was very long before m a n finally laid his hands on it. At the outset a kilogram of v a n a d i u m cost 50,000 gold rubles, while now it costs only ten rubles. Only three tons of it were produced in 1907 because nobody wanted it, whereas today a

P a s s e n g e r cars a n d lorries just c o m e off t h e c o n v e y c r '220

Battleships which need v a n a d i u m

steel

keen struggle is being waged for v a n a d i u m deposits in all countries. Its properties are remarkable and the need for it is great in every country. I n 1910 150 tons of the metal were produced and deposits were discovered in South America; in 1926 its production reached 2,000 tons; now it exceeds 5,000 tons. V a n a d i u m is one of the most important metals for the automobile, for armour and armour-piercing shells which go through plates of the best steel 40 centimetres thick; v a n a d i u m is the metal of the steel plane and of fine chemical products; it is used in the production of sulphuric acid and various fine dyes. W h a t are its main merits? It influences steel by making it more resilient and less brittle; it prevents the steel from recrystallizing under the action of shocks and jolts, and this is precisely what automobile axles a n d motor shafts need because they are subject to a lot of shaking. No less remarkable are the salts of this metal—green, red, black as ink, yellow and golden as bronze. T h e y yield a whole scale of beautiful colours for porcelain, photo paper and special inks. T h e y are also used in treating the sick. . . . T h e r e is no need enumerating all the remarkable uses of this metal;
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we must only mention one more. V a n a d i u m helps in the production of sulphuric acid, this central nerve of the chemical industry. In this case it behaves very "cunningly"; it only helps the chemical reaction, it catalyzes it, as the chemists say, itself remaining unchanged and unspent. True, some substances poison and spoil it, but there are medicines for this, too. T h e presence of metallic vanadium and of some of its salts seem to have a mysterious effect on the production of the most complex organic compounds which cannot be produced without its participation. But if vanadium is so wonderful a metal why do we know so little about it? Why have some of you readers never even heard of it before? Besides, only about 5,000 tons of it is produced in the world annually; and this is 20,000 times as little as the annual output of iron and only five times as much as that of gold. Something is, evidently, wrong with its deposits and production, and to find out what it is we must ask our geologists and geochemists. Here is what they tell us about the behaviour of this metal in the earth's crust. It seems there is quite a bit of vanadium in our earth. In the accessible part of the earth's crust our geochemists estimate an average of 0.02 per cent, and this is not so little at all if we recall that the earth's crust contains 15 times as little lead and 2,000 times as little silver. There is essentially just as much v a n a d i u m in the earth as there is zinc and nickel, and the last two metals are produced in hundreds of thousands of tons. But not only the earth and the accessible earth's crust contain vanadium. 'I here are probably rather large quantities of vanadium where native iron is concentrated. This is betokened by the meteorites which fall on our earth. Their metallic iron contains from two to three times as much vanadium as the earth's crust. In the spectrum of the sun our astronomers see the sparkling lines of its atoms, but this is just what grieves the geochemists. There is a lot of vanadium everywhere; this odd metal abounds in the universe, but there are few places where it is concentrated and could easily be mined for industry. It is really found in most of the iron ores, and where its content reaches at least tenths of one per cent industry begins to produce it. T h e possibility of extracting this costly metal from thousands of tons of iron is becoming interesting and even profitable.
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T i t a n o - m a g n e t i t e m i n e in t h e U r a l s ; v a n a d i u m is e x t r a c t e d f r o m this ore

W h e n chemists discover an ore containing one per cent vanadium the newspapers report the discovery of a rich v a n a d i u m deposit. Some internal chemical forces, apparently, always strive to disperse the atoms of this metal. O u r science must find out what concentrates and accumulates these dispersed atoms and what is likely to break their passion for dispersion and migration. Such forces do exist in nature, and studying the deposits of this metal we are now reading remarkable pages concerning the processes which concentrate the atoms of v a n a d i u m and force them to accumulate. V a n a d i u m is primarily a metal of deserts; it is afraid of water which easily dissolves it and transports its atoms over the earth's surface; it is also afraid of acid soils. It finds " p e a c e " only in the southern latitudes where there is a lot of oxygen in the air and where veins of sulphide ores are eroded. I n the hot sands of Rhodesia and in its native land (sunny Mexico) amid Agaves and cacti, it creates yellow'223

brown iron hats, brown hills resembling soldiers' helmets which cover the outcrops of the sulphide ores. We see the same compounds in the old deserts of Colorado and encounter them in the ancient Permian desert in the region of the Urals bordering in the East on the expanding range of the great Uralides. T h e salts of vanadium are formed everywhere under the hot sun and in sands, and accumulate from dispersed atoms in deposits of industrial importance. And still its reserves are very small; its atoms strive to escape the hands of m a n ; but there are some powerful forces that retain vanadium and do not let it disperse; these are cells of living substance, organisms whose blood corpuscles are built of vanadium and copper rather than of iron. V a n a d i u m accumulates in the bodies of certain marine animals, especially sea-urchins, ascidia and Holothurioidea which cover thousands of square metres of bays and sea coasts. It is hard to say where they catch the atoms of vanadium since it has been impossible to find this metal in the water itself. These animals, apparently, possess some special chemical ability for extracting v a n a d i u m from particles of food, silt, remains of seaweeds, etc. Not a single chemical reagent works with the efficiency of a living organism which is able out of millionths of a gram to accumulate in its body and leave after its death such enormous quantities that m a n can extract metals from it for his industry. But as great as the forces of life are, there are still few real deposits of this metal, it occurs in negligible quantities and is hard to extract from black asphalts, bitumens and oils. T h e ways its atoms accumulate on the earth's surface are a mystery, and scientists will have to do a lot more work to solve the riddle of its extraction and to be able coherently to tell its history in order that the separate links in the life of vanadium merge into one continuous chain. We shall then know not only the past fates of this metal, but also where and how to look for it, and profound theoretical inferences will be transformed into major industrial victories. T h e automobiles will get their metal for axles and the battleships and tanks will receive a higher percentage of v a n a d i u m in their armour steel. Very fine chemical reactions with the aid of v a n a d i u m catalysts will produce hundreds and thousands of new and most
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complex organic compounds we need for nutrition, for the economy and for culture. This is what geochemists tell us about the deposits of vanadium. W e cannot be satisfied with this; we must ask them to work harder and more persistently in order that they master this metal for the needs of the country.

'15

GOLD—KING OF METALS
Gold came to the attention of m a n a long time ago, probably in the form of glittering yellow grains in river sands. We shall learn a lot that is remarkable and instructive if we trace the history of the use of gold in the intricate course of man's development. From the verv cradle of h u m a n culture down to the imperialist wars gold has been connected with military campaigns, conquests of continents, the struggle of several generations of peoples, crime and blood. Gold plays an enormous part in the ancient Scandinavian sagas, and the struggle of the Nibelungs is a struggle for freeing the world from the curse of gold and its power. T h e ring forged from the gold of the Rhein symbolizes the principle of evil. Sigfried must free the world from the power of. gold and overthrow the gods of Valhalla at the cost of his life. Ancient Greek mythology has a myth about the voyage of the Argonauts to Kolchis in quest of the golden fleece.

T h e A r g o n a u t s in K o l c h i s (ancient n a m e of G e o r g i a ) e x a m i n i n g the g o l d e n fleece. Old engraving
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T h e y were supposed 10 find the fleece, i.e., sheepskins covered with gold dust, on the Black Sea coast, in present-day Georgia, and take them away from the dragon who was guarding them. We can read about the struggle lor gold on the Mediterranean in the ancient Greek legends and in Egyptian papyri. For the construction of the famous temple in Jerusalem King Solomon required a great deal of gold; he undertook several campaigns to the ancient country O p h i r which historians are vainly trying to find at the source of the Nile and in Ethiopia. Some scientists believe the word " O p h i r " to mean merely " w e a l t h " and "gold." There is a legend about ants that extract gold. There are many versions of this legend in the interpretation of different investigators. T h e basis of this legend is the story about one of the Indian tribes that lived in a sandy desert where the ants were as large as foxes. Together with sand these ants dug out of the interior of the earth a lot of gold which was carried away by the inhabitants on camels. Herodotus confirms this story; something of this sort can also be found in Strabon who wrote in 25 B.C. Pliny cites a somewhat different version, but at any rate the European and Arab writers alike repeatedly turned to this story in the Middle Ages. There is no plausible explanation of this legend as yet; the most plausible is probably the one which tells us that in Sanscrit the words " a n t " and " g r a i n " (of alluvial gold) are expressed by the same sounds. T h e origin of the legend is probably based on this similarity between the words "particle of gold" and " a n t . " Wonderful found in the the Scythian of Russia.
15

gold articles were ancient treasures of epochs in the South These remarkable

Golden comb with picture of battle between Scythians and Greeks. Culture of tin. ;th and the end of the 4th ccnturies B.C. Solokha Burial Mound (Ukrainian S.S.R.). Collection of the State Hermitage
227

articles m a d e by unknown Scythian jewellers are chiefly representations of animals in rapid motion. T h e y are kept at the Hermitage together with similarly fine gold articles found in the famous Siberian treasures. T h e ancients always attached great importance to gold. Alchemists used the symbol of the sun for it. While the Slav, G e r m a n and Finnish peoples had the letters G, Z, O and K i d n e y - s h a p e d gold nuggets. K a c h k a r , L in the root of the word (zoloto South U r a l s [Russian] and gold), the IndoIranian peoples put the letters A, U and R in its root, hence, the Latin word " a u r u m " a n d the modern chemical symbol for gold—Au. Philologists have conducted special research in their attempts at finding the roots of the term "gold." These investigators have tried to locate the centres of gold in the ancient world. It is interesting to note in this connection that in Egypt the hieroglyph for gold was a kerchief, a bag or a trough, which, apparently, denotes the method of mining it. Gold was distinguished by its quality and colour. Sands whose location was described in detail in a n u m b e r of written monuments were the source of gold in Egypt. Gold was found in different parts of Northwestern Egypt, as well as along the R e d Sea coast, in the sands remaining from the ancient granites in the region of the Nile and, especially, in the region of Qoseir. Old texts indicate numerous points where gold was mined. There were also ancient gold-fields in the Arabian and the Nubian deserts. T h e r e are indications that gold-mines existed S a m p ( c s of w i r e . s h a p c d c r y s t a l H n e g o i d two to three thousand years B.C. ; n t h c f o r m of h o o k s a n d spirals
'228

In later written monuments goldmines are shown and very well described by a n u m b e r of authors. Several texts point out that gold is connected with shiny white rock, apparently, with quartz veins, which some ancient authors incorrectly called by the Greek word marmaros. We know the prices, methods of mining, exploitation, etc. T h e discovery of America in the 15th century wrote a new page in the history of gold. T h e Spaniards W a s h i n g g o l d in a n t i q u i t ,.. old c n p r a v brought tremendous quantities of ing the precious metal from America; they had obtained it by means of war looting and flooded Europe with it. Rich gold-fields were discovered in the sands of Brazil in the beginning of the 18th century (1719). A "gold rush" began everywhere, and other countries also started prospecting for gold. In Russia the first crystals of gold were found in quartz rock near the city of Yekaterinburg (now Sverdlovsk) in the middle of the same century. A remarkable discovery was made in America one hundred years later, in 1848; deposits of gold were found in the Far West, beyond the Rocky Mountains, almost on the Pacific coast in California, which was then still a mysterious region. T h e strike was made by J o h n Sutter who later died a pauper. Gold prospectors rushed there; caravans of ox-drawn waggons moved westward in quest of new luck. Before another 50 years had elapsed gold was discovered in Klondike, Alaska, which had been so recklessly and cheaply sold to the U.S.A. by the tsarist government of Russia. Jack London's stories tell us how the struggle for gold was waged in Klondike. There are photographs showing "black snakes" paving their way across snowy peaks of polar mountain ranges; these were endless streams of people carrying their meagre belongings on their backs or in small sledges and hoping to bring back piles of gold. T h e first gold-fields in Transvaal, South Africa, were discovered in 1887, but this wealth did not bring the Boers, who had found it,
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any good fortune. After a long a n d bloody struggle Britain managed to conquer the country a n d nearly exterminated the freedom-loving Boer people. More than 50 per cent of the world's gold is now mined in Transvaal. Gold is also found in Australia. T h e conquest of gold has had its own very peculiar history in the U.S.S.R. In 1745 peasant Yerofei Markov found a gold vein along the Beryozovka River near Yekaterinburg in the Urals. I n 1814 Brusnitsyn, a head-miner, also discovered the first gold-fields in the Urals and organized their industrial exploitation. T h e Urals is, thus, the cradle of the Russian gold industry. T h e discovery of gold-fields on the Lena River in Siberia in the second half of the 19th century caused a sensation at the time. T h e fields were fabulously rich and adventurers of all brands and from all countries rushed there. Some of them drove their stakes and sold the claims, others washed gold under the severe conditions of the taiga and returned rich men while still others mined

Initial e x p l o i t a t i o n of g o l d - b e a r i n g q u a r t z i t e s in T r a n s v a a l
'230

gold but spent it there and then; others, and they jority, who died exposure.

all on drink right there were still were in the m a from scurvy and

Even greater resources were discovered in the early twenties of this century on the Aldan River. I chanced to meet one of the prospectors who had worked in the B e l l - w o r k gold-raining using w h i m Aldan fields during the first years g i n ; the usual machinery in prc-rcvoafter their discovery. H e told me lutionary Russia about the past of the Aldan, about the rush of the adventurers who had deserted the white armies and abandoned everything in order to penetrate to the upper reaches of the Aldan and grow rich on gold. H e told me about a priest who had forsaken his parish, reached with enormous hardships the sources of this river, m a d e a raft and penetrated into an almost inaccessible region where he washed almost 900 pounds of this precious metal. H e told me, furthermore, how Soviet rule came to the Aldan and the gold-mines, which had been known as the land of gold and tears, became an organized industry. M a n y other rich gold deposits have been discovered since. T h e struggle for gold has, thus, gradually proceeded in the history of mankind. Over 50,000 tons of this metal has been produced; about half of this gold, more than 10,000 million gold rubles' worth, has accumulated in banks. T h e achievements of engineering have made it possible gradually to mine more and more gold, proceeding from rich to poor ores. At first these were simple, primitive methods of production; the gold was washed in bowls, pans and later in what was called "Amerikankas"* in Russian and was used throughout the world after the discovery of gold in California. Afterwards placer gold deposits were worked hydraulically, using powerful streams of water, while the gold dust was dissolved in cyanide
* L o n g n a r r o w t r o u g h s w i t h riffles to c a t c h t h e gold.
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Hydromonitor washing gold-bearing by a s t r o n g s t r e a m of w a t e r

sands

solutions; finally, m a n learned to extract gold from hard native rocks using the most perfect methods at large mills. M a n uses every possible means to safeguard his gold and keeps it locked u p in the strong vaults of state banks, while ships on which gold is transported are escorted by battleships. Gold has been taken out of circulation in the form of coins because it wears too fast.

During the thousands of years of his cultural and economic life m a n has extracted no more than one-millionth of the gold contained in the earth's crust. But why has m a n m a d e gold his idol and the basis of his wealth? Gold, no doubt, possesses a n u m b e r of remarkable properties. It is representative of the "noble metals," i.e., the metals

In t h e gold-fields. E l e c t r i c d r e d g e r e a c h i n g to a d e p t h of 25 m e t r e s

232

which do not change 011 the surface, retain their blight lustre and do not dissolve in the usual chemical reagents. As a matter of fact gold can be dissolved only by the free halogens, say, chlorine, or aqua regia which is a mixture of three parts hydrochloric acid and one part nitric acid, as well as by certain rare poisonous cyanic salts. Gold has a very high specific gravity. Along with the platinum metals it is one of the heaviest elements in the earth's crust; its specific gravity reaches 19.3.. It melts comparatively easily when heated to a little above 1,000' C., but it is transformed into volatile vapours only with great difficulty. To be brought to the boiling point it must be heated to 2,600° C. It is very soft and easy to forge; it is not harder than the softest minerals and in its pure state you can scratch it with a finger-nail. Chemists determine the presence of gold bv very fine methods. O n e atom of gold in a thousand million atoms of other metals is enough for chemists to detect it in the laboratory (i.e., they can estimate down to to"10 grams). Even with our modern tcchniqucs this amount ul substance cannot be weighed on any scales. There is not so little gold in the earth's crust, but it is dispersed; chemists have now estimated that the earth contains an average of about 0.00000005 per cent gold. Just think of it, there is only twice as much silver in the earth's crust though silver is considered a much cheaper metal! T h e most remarkable thing is that gold is spread all through nature. It has been discovered in the hot vapours of the solar atmosphere, it is found (in lesser quantities than on earth, to be sure; in the falling meteorites, and there is some of it in sea-water. Recent experiments have shown that sea-water contains 0.0000000005 part gold, i.e., there is five tons of gold per cubic kilometre of sea-water. Gold finds its way into granites, accumulates in the very latest molten granite magmas, penetrates into hot quartz veins and there, together with sulphides of other metals, especially, iron, arsenic, zinc, lead and silver, crystallizes at relatively low temperatures, about 150 to 200' C. Thus, large concentrations of gold are formed. When the granites and quartz veins arc eroded the gold passes into placer deposits where it accumulates in the lower layers of the sands because of its stability and specific gravity. It is hardlv affected by the chemical aqueous solutions which circulate through the Iavers of the earth's crust.

G e o l o g i s t s a n d g e o c h e m i s t s h a v e s p e n t a lot of e f f o r t t o l e a r n a b o u t t h e f a t e of g o l d o n t h e e a r t h ' s s u r f a c e . E x a c t r e s e a r c h h a s s h o w n t h a t it m i g r a t e s h e r e , too. I t is n o t o n l y g r o u n d u p m e c h a n i c a l l y t o s u b m i c r o s c o p i c size a n d i n this s t a t e c a r r i e d a w a y i n e n o r m o u s q u a n t i t i e s b y rivers, b u t is also p a r t l y dissolved, e s p e c i a l l y i n s o u t h e r n c l i m a t e s , w h e r e t h e r i v e r s c o n t a i n a g o o d d e a l of c h l o r i n e , is r e c r y s t a l l i z e d a n d f i n d s itself i n soils a n d i n p l a n t s . E x p e r i m e n t s h a v e s h o w n t h a t t h e r o o t s of t r e e s a b s o r b g o l d . S e v e r a l y e a r s a g o scientists d e m o n s t r a t e d t h a t g o l d a c c u m u l a t e d in t h e g r a i n s of m a i z e i n r a t h e r l a r g e a m o u n t s . B u t e v e n m o r e g o l d a c c u m u l a t e s i n t h e a s h e s of s o m e coals w h e r e its c o n t e n t r e a c h e s o n e g r a m p e r t o n of ashes. T h e foregoing shows t h a t gold travels most intricate p a t h s in t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t b e f o r e m a n e x t r a c t s it. A n d still, w h a t e v e r m a n h a s d o n e f o r m o r e t h a n 2 , 0 0 0 y e a r s i n t h e s t r u g g l e f o r g o l d a n d as g r e a t as i n d i v i d u a l g o l d e n t e r p r i s e s a r e , w e d o n o t k n o w t h e c o m p l e t e h i s t o r y of this m e t a l . O u r i n f o r m a t i o n o n t h e f a t e of d i s p e r s e d g o l d is so m e a g r e t h a t w e a r e u n a b l e t o j o i n t h e s e p a r a t e links of its m i g r a t i o n s i n t o

Excavators expose gold-bearing

sands

234

E n o r m o u s t a n k s in which g o l d is d i s s o l v e d by c y a n i d a t i o n

a single continuous chain. W h a t has happened to the gold that was carried out into the seas and oceans after the erosion of the great mountain ranges and granite cliffs? W h a t has become of the gold of the Permian Sea which has left some of the richest deposits of salts, limestones and bitumens near the Urals? Geochemists and geologists, you still have a lot of work ahead of you. T h e millions of square kilometres of our gold-bearing Siberian regions offer ample opportunity for daring scientific thought! T h e future of gold is not in the vaults of banks nor in the stockexchange deals of speculators and capitalists; it will be used for other purposes. This metal is now widely utilized in Soviet science and in the exact branches of industry, for example, in electrical and radioengineering; it is used wherever an unchangeable metal of high electroconductivity and resisting all chemical reagents is required. From the vaults and safes gold will come to plants and laboratories as an eternal metal.

RAKE DISPERSED ELEMENTS

•7TM

T h e earth's crust consists of scores of chemical elements. Only 15 of these arc relatively abundant and usual and we can find them in the composition of most rocks; the others are found more rarely. At the same time some of the rarer elements accumulate in large quantities as ore minerals in ore deposits; others, as for example gold or platinum, of which the earth's crust contains very little, form minutest, hardly visible granules of native metals and, only very rarely, larger nuggets. But rare as they are they are found in the form of their own independent minerals, be they even so small as to be invisible to the eye. There arc other elements, though, of which there is very little in the earth's crust and which do not form their own minerals. T h e chemical compounds of these elements arc dissolved in other, more usual minerals; as salt or sugar are dissolved in water and you cannot tell by the external appearance whether it is pure water or it has something in solution. It is similarly difficult and not always possible to judge by the external appearance of minerals what chemically dissolved admixtures they contain. While it suffices to taste water to tell whether it is tasteless, salty or sweet, the chemical analysis of minerals is a much more complex affair and it is especially hard to isolate the chemical elements which have hidden themselves in foreign minerals. Chemical elements have travelled a long and arduous course through melts and solutions before they have combined into solid minerals, i.e., the most stable chemical compounds, in rocks or mineral veins. In their long travels they have suffered many different transformations.
236

Multiple laboratory

crystallization

of

solutions

for

the

division

of

rare

earths

in

a

modern

Those that especially resemble each other have gone through everything together and inseparably. T h e greater the similarities of the chemical properties of any two elements the harder it is to find a chemical reaction to separate them. Instead of forming their own minerals some rare elements were dissolved and dispersed, sometimes through m a n y minerals or other chemical elements, a n d we, therefore, call them dispersed elements. W h a t are these elements, though? You will hardly hear of them in everyday life or even at school chemistry lessons, although with the development of engineering they come more and more into general use. These elements are gallium, indium, thallium, cadmium, germanium, selenium, tellurium, rhenium, rubidium, cesium, radium, scandium and hafnium. W e have enumerated only the most characteristic ones, though the list could be continued.
237

Let us see where and how these rare dispersed elements are found in nature, how m a n has learned to detect them in other minerals and where they are used. Here we have before us a yellowishbrown mineral which, when broken, forms perfectly smooth shiny surfaces. This mineral is rather heavy and hardly resembles an ore, though it is an ore. It is known as zinc-blende or sphalerite. Its composition is very simple: for each a t o m of zinc there is an atom of sulphur. But this is only the basic background; these G a s b u r n e r m a n t l e conare only the main constituents. T h e comtaining thorium dioxide position of zinc-blende only seems simple. Whereas our sample is yellowish-brown, other samples of the same mineral m a y be brown, dark-brown, blackbrown and even altogether black; in the last case they have a real metallic lustre. W h a t is the matter then? It appears that the dark colour of zinc-blende is due to a n admixture of iron sulphide which is dissolved in it; zinc-blendes which do not contain iron are nearly colourless or are yellowish-green or lightyellow. T h e more iron the darker the zinc-blende. This means that the colour of this mineral is a true index as regards iron. Studies of the internal structure of zinc-blende by X-rays have shown that the separate particles of zinc and sulphur are so arranged in it that each atom of zinc is surrounded by four of sulphur and each a t o m of sulphur by four of zinc. W h a t has happened is that iron has taken the place of some of the zinc atoms and has given the zinc-blende its colour; furthermore, the iron atoms have arranged themselves quite uniformly; one atom of iron has taken the place of either every 100th atom of zinc, or every 50th, or every 30th, 20th, 10th. . . . And this is where the good host—zinc—turned to iron and said: " A r e n ' t you taking too m u c h room in my house?" T h o u g h there is much more iron t h a n zinc in nature the former can replace the latter in zinc-blende only to a certain extent; this peculiarity scientists call limited mixing ability.
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This example can be used for another interesting comparison; just as a mouse or a bear would never look for shelter in a foxhole because it is too large for the former and too small for the latter, and can only be used by animals of about the size of a fox, so can zinc in sphalerite be replaced only by the elements whose atoms are close in size to those of zinc. Cadmium, gallium, indium, thallium and germanium are some of the rare elements we find in zinc-blende. . . . Not only zinc, however, but sulphur, too, is able to play host (though to a much lesser extent) to two other rare dispersed elements—selenium and tellurium. As you see, the composition of zinc-blende turns out much more complex than it appears- at first sight. Almost the same can be said of the so-called grey copper ores, of copper pyrite (chalcopyrite) and of many other minerals. But geochemists have discovered additional regularities: it appears that the iron-rich black zinc-blendes hardly ever contain any cadmium, but they are rich in indium and sometimes in germanium; they have also found that gallium accumulates mainly in light-brown zinc-blendes and cadmium in honey-yellow sphalerite. T h e dark-coloured varieties are usually richer in selenium and tellurium. This shows that chemical elements do not equally make

Don't you take up _ too much room in my house?

Selenic d e p a r t m e n t at a p l a n t 239

friends indifferently, and what "roomers" m a y be allowed to take the place intended for zinc depends on various conditions and different neighbours. Detection of rare dispersed elements is no easy matter and requires special methods. Their high value forces m a n to look for them even when their content is very low. Conventional chemical analysis with its most perfect methods and most sensitive chemical reactions is now supplemented by spectroscopic and roentgenochemical methods of analysis. Without requiring complex chemical separations they are capable of showing at once what other chemical elements and in what quantities the mineral contains. Zinc-blende that contains only o.i per cent indium is no longer a zinc, but an indium ore, because even with this meagre content the little indium is of greater value than all of the zinc contained in the mineral. But why have these rare dispersed elements attracted so much attention? Why this interest in them? W h a t makes them so valuable? T h e main reason is their specific uses. It is the peculiar, special prop-

T e s t i n g t u n g s t e n f i l a m e n t f o r electric b u l b s . T o p : S i l h o u e t t e of a 6 0 w a t t b u l b m e n t m a g n i f i e d 80 t i m e s . C e n t r e : S e c o n d spiral coil. B o t t o m : H u m a n h a i r comparison

filafor

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erties which either the metals themselves or their compounds possess. T h u s thorium oxide, when heated, sheds a brilliant light, and this property has found its application in Auer's incandescent mantles. R u b i d i u m and cesium are used in mirrors which easily emit electrons, and this makes them indispensable in photocells. Let us trace the uses of the rare metals or their compounds produced from the zinc-blende just described. C a d m i u m . . . . A light-grey, comparatively soft and fusible metal; melts at 321° C. But suffice it to alloy one part of metallic cadmium with one part of tin, two parts of lead and four parts of bismuth (each of which melts at a temperature above 200° C.) to produce an alloy which is known as Wood's metal and which melts at only 70° C. J u s t think of it! If you make a tea-spoon out of this alloy and begin to stir your hot tea with it the spoon m a y melt, and you may find a layer of liquid metal on the bottom of your cup. If you combine the same four metals in different proportions you will produce the Lipowitz alloy which melts at only 55 0 C. With this molten metal you could not even b u r n your hands. Fusible metals are used in m a n y branches of industry. There is a metal which can be melted by only being held in the hand, and it is a pure metal and not an alloy. It is gallium, one of the rare dispersed metals found in zinc-blende (gallium is found, besides, in micas, clays and in some other minerals). Gallium melts at only 30° C. and after mercury, which melts at — 39° C., it is one of the most fusible metals that successfully replaces mercury; mercury vapours, as is well known, are very poisonous, which cannot be said about gallium. Gallium, like mercury, can therefore, be used in the manufacture of thermometers ; but while we can measure temperatures over a range of from — 4 0 0 C. to 360° C. by mercury thermometres, because mercury begins to boil at this point, with gallium thermometres we can measure temperatures from 30° C. to the point of glass softenC o w ' s h o o v e s e a t e n o u t by s e l e n i u m ing, i.e., between 700 and 900° C., f o u n d in t h e grass g r o w n in p o l l u t e d and if we take quartz glass we can
soil
16 241

measure temperatures up to 1,500° C., since the boiling-point of gallium is 2,300° C. If we use special fireproof glass for such thermometers we can measure the temperatures ,of flames and of many metals in the molten state. Incidentally, gallium has one more interesting peculiarity. Like ice which is lighter than water and therefore floats on the surface of water, solid metallic gallium is also lighter than molten gallium and can therefore float on the surface of liquid gallium. This rare peculiarity is inherent also in bismuth, paraffin and pig iron. All other substances sink in their own melt. But let vis come back to cadmium. In addition to yielding valuable fusible alloys this metal is also used for the tramways. Have you ever seen an old trolley bow? W h a t a deep trough is formed in it as a result of constant friction against the wire! T h e tram wire against which the bow rubs wears similarly. And here we find that suffice it to add only one per cent cadmium considerably to reduce the wear of the wire. C a d m i u m is also used in the production of stained glass for signal lights. T h e addition of cadmium sulphide to glass colours the latter a beautiful yellow, while cadmium selenide colours it red. T h e use of indium is no less interesting than that of cadmium. It is well known that copper-containing alloys corrode rapidly in salt sea-water. And yet it is not always possible to replace these alloys by chemically stabler substances which are required for submarines and hydroplanes. It appears that an addition of a very small amount of indium to these alloys considerably increases their resistance to the chemical action of salt sea-water. T h e addition of metallic indium to silver greatly enchances its lustre, i.e., its reflective ability. This property is utilized in the production of mirrors for searchlights, since the indium contained in the mirrors appreciably increases their power. Selenium, a rare and dispersed element and sulphur's closest relative, usually found in small amounts in sulphide ores, possesses most unexpected properties. T h e electroconductivity of selenium varies with its illumination. This property of selenium is used in the techniques of transmitting images by telegraph and radio. It serves as the basis of many automatic collar

trollers which register light and dark objects moving on conveyers. Finally, accurate illumination measurements have become possible onlv because of selenium. Selenium finds another important application in the production of pure colourless glass. Glass is usually made from quartz sand, lime and alkali (soda or sodium sulphate). T h e sand used must be as pure as possible, and especially free of iron because iron imparts to glass the greenish shade we sec, for example, in bottle glass. It takes verv little iron to impart this colour to glass. Window-panes require clean colourless glass; even better glass is needed for spectacles, while optical instruments—microscopes, binoculars and telescopes— require absolutely flawless glass. If we add sodium selenite to molten glass the selenium will interact chemically with the iron, will extract the latter from the molten glass resulting in fine colourless glass. The glass used in the production of special optical instruments, highmagnifving binoculars and powerful cameras must possess a number of other special properties. These properties can be produced by the addition of small amounts of germanium dioxide. Germanium is one of the rare dispersed elements which, like selenium, is present in small amounts in certain varieties of zinc-blendes. It is also found in some grades of coal. Now we know how the rare dispersed elements behave in minerals and in ores. We have learned about some of the properties of these unusual metals and about their peculiar uses. T h e importance of these uses explains why geochemistry devotes so much attention to the rare dispersed elements.

16

P A R T

T H R E E

H I S T O R Y OF T H E A T O M IN N A T U R E

METEORITES—HERALDS OF THE UNIVERSE
It is a dark moonless night. T h e last gleams of evening twilight have faded. T h e stars shine brightly in the infinite depths of the firmament, sparkling and twinkling iridescently. T h e noise in the villages has gradually died down. Nothing stirs in the stillness of the night and only a light breeze is barely heard rustling in the trees. Suddenly everything is illumined by a bright and, as it were, flickering light. A fire-ball rushes across the sky scattering sparks and leaving a barely luminous, misty trace. T h e fire-ball is extinguished before reaching the horizon as suddenly as it appeared, and everything is enveloped in the darkness of the night again. But several minutes later sharp sounds like explosions or thunder of heavy artillery pieces are heard. This is followed by a roar, a crackle a n d a prolonged, gradually fading rumble. Some of our readers may have witnessed a similar phenomenon. But what is it? W h a t is this fire-ball and where has it come from? I n addition to the nine m a j o r planets—Mercury, Venus, the Earth, Mars, J u p i t e r , Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto*—a large n u m b e r

* T h e p l a n e t s a r e n a m e d a c c o r d i n g as their distances from the Sun increase.

Flight of bolide
247

of small planets or asteroids move around the sun in interplanetary space. More than 1,500 asteroids are known today; of these Ceres is the largest with a diameter of 770 kilometres while the smallest— Adonis—has a diameter of only one kilometre. There are undoubtedly innumerable other smaller asteroids. Their diameters are measured by metres and even centimetres. These are essentially no longer planets but rather fragments of boulders or Metcoric stream and the earth's orbit stones and small granules which can be put on the palm of the hand. T h e y are, certainly, not planets. We could not see them from the earth even through the most powerful telescopes. W e call them meteoric bodies; none of them have a regular spherical form. Most of the large asteriods move around the sun, each in its own definite orbit in the space between the orbits of Mars and J u p i t e r . H e r e they form the so-called "asteroid zone." T h e orbits of an enormous n u m b e r of small asteroids or meteoric bodies are outside this zone. They cross the orbits of the large planets including that of our earth. While moving around the sun the earth and a meteoric body m a y find themselves simultaneously at the intersection of their orbits. It is at this moment that the meteoric body comes flying into the atmosphere of the earth causing the appearance in the sky of a fire-ball called a bolide. In approaching the atmosphere of the earth the meteoric body may be moving in interplanetary space in a direction opposite to that of the earth. In this case it may develop the extraordinary speed of up to 70 kilometres per second or even more. If the meteoric body is moving in the same direction as the earth, i.e., it is either "catching u p " with the earth or "being caught u p " by it, its initial speed is approximately 11 kilometres per second. But even this slowest rate is very high; it is many times the speed of a shell or a bullet as they leave the gun. Owing to this high speed (or as it is called cosmic speed) the meteoric body that has come into the atmosphere meets with a strong resistance of the air. FA'en at an altitude of 100 to 120 kilometres where, as we
248

know, the atmosphere is extremely rare the meteoric body encounters such great resistance due to its enormous speed that its surface is heated to several thousand degrees and becomes luminescent. T h e air surrounding the meteoric body is also heated. It is at this moment that the speeding fire-ball—bolide—appears in the sky. This fire-ball is the hot gaseous shell enveloping the meteoric body. Contrary streams of air precipitately break the continuously melting substance off the surface of the meteoric body and spray it in minutest drops. Hardening in the shape of globules these drops form, as it were, a smoky trace, which the bolide leaves behind. At an altitude of about 50 to 60 kilometres, where the atmosphere becomes already sufficiently dense for the propagation of sound waves, a so-called ballistic wave is formed around the meteoric body. This is a dense layer of air which precedes the meteoric body. U p o n reaching the earth's surface the ballistic wave produces the roar and rumble which are heard several minutes after the disappearance of the bolide. As the meteoric body precipitately penetrates into the ever denser lower layers of the atmosphere it meets with the rapidly increasing resistance of the air. Its motion is retarded and at an altitude of about 10 or 20 kilometres it loses its cosmic speed. T h e meteoric body gets "stuck," as it were, in the air. This part of its path is called the "region of delay." Here the heating and disintegration of the meteoric body ceases. If it has not fully disintegrated the molten layer on its surface quickly cools, hardens and forms a crust. T h e hot gaseous shell around the meteoric body disappears. T h e bolide, which flew across the sky, disappears together with it. T h e remnant of the meteoric body covered by the formerly molten crust drops nearly vertically aft' r the region of delay, subject to the attraction of the earth. This piece of meteoric body which has fallen on the earth is called a meteorite. T h e brightest bolides can be discerned even in the day-time in the full light of the sun. Particularly

Photograph

of

a

3-shaped

trace

of

a

b o l i d e o b s e r v e d on S e p t e m b e r 24, 1948

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well seen are the smoke traces which the bolide leaves behind. These traces can be observed for periods lasting many minutes and even more than an hour. Under the influence of strong air currents in the upper layers of the atmosphere the trace of the bolide, rectilinear in the beginning, gradually curves. Like a legendary giant serpent it stretches across the sky and disappears by breaking up into small fragments. It is precisely the bolides and the traces thev leave behind that have given rise to popular legends about flights of fiery serpents and the lairy-talc about the flying dragon. Bright bolides appear rather rarely. But many of our readers have probably seen meteors or, as they are also called, "shooting stars." Meteors are formed from very small meteoric bodies weighing fractions of a gram which come Hying into the atmosphere from interplanetary space. Such minute meteoric bodies completely disintegrate in the atmosphere and do not reach the earth's surface. We shall now make a closer acquaintance of meteorites, these heralds of the universe, these strangers from interplanetary space. The Mineralogical Museum of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences in Moscow has the country's largest and the world's best collection of meteorites. T h e collection includes many rare or singular meteorites. In the numerous show-cases of the large light hall of the museum the visitor can see wonderful samples of stones many of which are described in this book. They surprise the visitor by their diverse and at times very brilliant colours. But in addition to these attractive stones special show-cases display monotonous gra\ r , brown and black stones and pieces of partly rusted iron. W h a t are these unattractive exhibits? Why, these are the meteorites. For a long time, for thousands of millions of years they had travelled in space and at last, when they met the earth, their wandering ceased. T h e meteorites represent the only unearthly substance which we can study in our laboratories directly by using up-to-date integrated methods of research and complex apparatus. We can hold the meteorites in our hands, determine their chemical and mineralogical composition, and study their intricate structure and physical properties. They open before us remarkable pages from the history of the universe and the evolution of celestial bodies. They can tell us about many most interesting and wonderful phenomena occurring outside our earth. There is a great
2 yi

deal that is as yet unknown about meteorites and some of their interesting features have not yet been fully explained. However, the studies of meteorites become more profound with each passing year and our knowledge of them is growing ever more complete. T h e main task facing the scientists, who are studying the meteorites, is to ascertain the conditions under which they are formed and their subsequent history.

T h e K u z n e t s o v o stone m e t e o r i t e w e i g h i n g m o r e t h a n 2.5 kg. I t f e l l in N o v o s i b i r s k R e g i o n 011 M a y 26, 1932

M e t e o r i t e s a r e d i v i d e d i n t o irons, stones a n d stony-irons.

Iron meteorites

consist of a n iron-nickel alloy. T h e y fall much more rarely than stone meteorites. T h u s an average of only one iron meteorite falls for every sixteen stone meteorites. Stony-iron meteorites fall still more rarely. Here we have a black irregularly shaped fragment. This is the Kuznetsovo stone meteorite* which fell in western Siberia on M a y 26, 1932 ; it weighs a little over 2 % k g . and is covered all-around by a black fused crust. A small split on the meteorite shows its internal ash-gray substance. It hardly differs from terrestrial rocks externally. But if you examine the fracture carefully you can see numerous minute sparklets dispersed in the meteorite's substance. These are inclusions of ferro-nickel (iron and nickel alloy). In these inclusions you can see bronze-yellow sparklets; these are a mineral, known as troilite, a chemical compound of iron and sulphur. I n addition to troilite we encounter inclusions of another, lighter mineral, which is a compound of iron and phosphorus and is called schreibersite. T h e fracture shows that the fused crust which covers the meteorite

* E a c h meteorite is n a m e d after t h e p o p u l a t e d point closest to the location of its fall.
251

Fall

of a m e t e o r i t e in S w i t z e r l a n d drawing)

(after

a

15th-century

is very thin; it is only about a tenth of a millimetre thick. T h e attention of the visitor is attracted by peculiar now round and now somewhat oblong dents on the surface of the meteorite resembling traces of fingers. These dents are called regmaglypts. T h e y are formed on meteorites as a result of the action of separate heated gaseous streams during the movement of the meteoric body through the atmosphere

at cosmic speed. T h e fused crust and the regmaglypts are the principal signs of meteorites. And here we have another stone meteorite. It is half-split; the point of fracture shows its internal substance which is as black as its fused crust. This is the so-called Staroye Boriskino carbonaceous chondrite which fell in O r e n b u r g Region on April 20, 1930. This meteorite also has other features of which we shall learn later. Next to this meteorite we see a stone meteorite nearly all white both inside (at the point of fracture) and outside (colour of the fused crust). This meteorite known as the Staroye Pesyanove fell in K u r g a n Region on October 2. 1933. More than a dozen separate stones weighing a total of about 3.5 kg, were found after the fall of this meteorite. This meteorite is very brittle. It crumbles easily even when lightly touched. It is surprising that so brittle a meteorite could have overcome the enormous resistance of the terrestrial atmosphere without crumbling into sand as it rushed through the atmosphere at cosmic speed. T h e point is, however, that its region of delay was high above the earth in a layer of very rare atmosphere. W e have m a d e the acquaintance of samples of meteorites which show their typical signs and the differences in the colour of their internal substance. Let us continue examining the meteorite collection. I n the adjacent show-case we seefgroups of stones of different sizes and irregular shapes. T h e show-case bears the inscription: "Meteorite Rains."
252

H u m b o l d t a n d B o n p l a n d o b s e r v e a m e t e o r i c r a i n in S o u t h A m e r i c a in 1799

M e t c o r i t i c crater in t h e S t a t e of A r i z o n a ( U . S . A . ) . D i a m e t e r of c r a t c r - i , 2 c o m e t r e s , d c p t h - a b o u t 180 m e t r e s

It appears that in moving through the terrestrial atmosphere at cosmic speed meteoric bodies nearly always break up into separate parts which are dispersed over the earth's surface covering an area of dozens of square kilometres. T h e meteoric bodies usually break u p before reaching the region of delay where the resistance of the air increases especially sharply. Owing to the irregular shape of the meteoric. bodies the pressure of the air which reaches enormous values is distributed unequally along their front surface and the latter breaks up. There had been cases of real stone rains after which m a n y thousands of separate small meteorites were collected. T h e most a b u n d a n t meteorite rain fell near Holbrook, the U.S.A., on J u l y 19, 1912. Fourteen thousand stones weighing a total of 218 kg. were collected here 011 an area of about 4 sq. km. In the show-case we sec the stones from the Pervomaisky Posyolok meteorite rain. This was one of the most a b u n d a n t meteorite rains in the U.S.S.R. It fell in Ivanovo Region 011 December 26, 1933; 97 stones weighing a total of about 50 kg. were found on a n area of nearly 20 sq. km.
254

School children took a n active p a r t in collecting this meteorite rain which fell in winter. Separate meteorites went t h r o u g h the snow a n d were retained on the surface of the congealed g r o u n d . This m a d e it possible to collect the meteorites in the fields without a n y difficulty the following spring, as soon as the snow h a d melted. Next to the stones of the PervoT h e K a r a k o l stone m e t e o r i t e w e i g h maisky Posyolok meteorite rain we see ing a b o u t 2.8 kg. It fell in Semithe stones of another, so-called Z h o v p a l a t i n s k R e g i o n in M a y 9, 1840. tnevy K h u t o r , meteorite rain which fell T h e m e t e o r i t e is c o n i c a l l y - s h a p e d a n d l o o k s like a w a r - h e a d in Stalino Region on O c t o b e r 9, 1938. T h e s e stones are noted for their large size, the largest of t h e m weighing 32, 21 a n d 19 kg., the total weight of the 13 collected stones being 107 kg. T h e stones of a n o t h e r meteorite rain, known as the Pultusk meteorite rain, which fell in Poland on J a n u a r y 30, 1868, are also interesting. 3,000 stones were collected after this rain. I n the next show-case we see side by side two interesting meteorites: a giant a n d a dwarf. O n e of t h e m weighs 102.5 kg-, the other, the size of a nut, weighs only 7 grams. These meteorites fell simultaneously in the T a t a r A.S.S.R. on S e p t e m b e r 13, 1937, a b o u t 27 km. a p a r t . Fifteen m o r e stones weighing a total of a b o u t 200 kg. were collected here in addition to these two meteorites. Let us proceed to the next show-case. H e r e we see samples of meteorites which have typical form. T h e most usual form is the f r a g m e n t a r y . But here is a meteorite t h a t looks like a w a r - h e a d . I t is the K a r a k o l stone meteorite which fell in Semipalatinsk Region on M a y 9, 1840. It weighs a b o u t 3 kg. T h i s meteorite acquired its conical shape as a result of the grinding action of the terrestrial a t m o s p h e r e d u r i n g its m o v e m e n t t h r o u g h the latter a t cosmic speed. It fell on the earth without breaking u p in the atmosphere. Next to this meteorite we see a n o t h e r o n e ; it is also a conically-shaped iron meteorite called Repeyev K h u t o r . It fell in A s t r a k h a n Region on August 8, 1932, and weighs m o r e t h a n 12 kg. O u r attention is a t t r a c t e d by the next meteorite. Its shape resembles 2.r>5

T h e m e t e o r i t e which fell on S e p t e m b e r 29, 1938. It w e n t t h r o u g h t h e roof of a g a r a g e a n d t h e t o p of an a u t o m o b i l e a n d d r o p p e d on a seat. W e i g h s 1,814 g r a m s

an enormous crystal. This is the Timokhina stone meteorite which weighs about 49 kg.; it fell on the territory of Smolensk Region on M a r c h 25, 1807. T h e meteorite has acquired its form as a result of the initial break-up of one meteoric body into several parts during its movement through the atmosphere at cosmic speed. Studies have shown that stone meteorites can split along their smooth surfaces like lumps of sugar. This is explained by the properties of their internal structure and mineralogical composition. W e see that in many other meteorites of the stone class, including some of the stones of meteorite rains, separate surfaces are also flat and smooth. T h e largest meteorites are displayed on special stands. T h e largest of these, a sample of the Sikhota-alin iron meteorite rain weighs nearly two tons (1,745 kg.). T h e meteorite attracts our attention by the very
256

interesting structure of its surface. It has sharply p r o n o u n c e d oblong regmaglypts directed radially towards the central p a r t of its wide surface. T h e regmaglypts show h o w separate h e a t e d gaseous streams flowed past the meteorite d u r i n g its m o v e m e n t t h r o u g h the a t m o s p h e r e at cosmic speed. T h r e e m o r e large samples of the same Sikhota-alin r a i n weighing 500, 450 a n d 350 kg. respectively lie next to this meteorite. T h e Boguslavka iron meteorite, which fell in the F a r East on O c t o b e r 18, 1916, is also r e m a r k a b l e . I t consists of two pieces weighing 199 a n d 57 kg. respectively. T h i s meteorite broke u p in its motion t h r o u g h the air.
T h e T i m o k h i n a stone m e t e o r i t e w e i g h ing close to 49 kg. I t f e l l in S m o lensk R e g i o n on M a r c h 2;, 1807. T h e meteorite has a multi-sided form w h i c h r e s e m b l e s a crystal

A n d here is a n o t h e r very large stone meteorite n a m e d K a s h i n ; it fell on the territory of former T v e r Region on F e b r u a r y 27, 1918, a n d weighs 127 kg. T h e next show-case brings us to the end of our meteorite excursion. I n this case we see a large meteorite cut in halves; originally it weighed m o r e t h a n 600 kg. Both cut surfaces have been polished a n d now show its r e m a r k a b l e internal structure. I t looks like a n iron sponge the cavities in which are filled with a t r a n s p a r e n t glassy greenish-yellowish substance—a m i n e r a l k n o w n as olivine. It is the first of the preserved meteorites in our country given the n a m e of pallas iron. This meteorite belongs to the class of stony-irons (parasites). T h e meteorite was found in Siberia in 1749 by a blacksmith n a m e d Medvedev. I n 1772 the meteorite was b r o u g h t to the A c a d e m y o f S c i e n c e s i n Petersburg by A c a d e m i c i a n P. Pallas. T h e r e it was studied by E. K h l a d n y , wellk n o w n scientist a n d corresponding m e m b e r of the A c a d e m y . T h e results of his studies were published in a special book in Riga in 1794. I n this book he was the first to prove the u n e a r t h l y origin of this l u m p of iron, i.e., its a p p u r t e n a n c e to meteorites, a n d the possibility of mete.orites' falling on the e a r t h .
17

E. K h l a d n y

257

T h e l a r g e s t m e t e o r i t e f r o m t h e S i k h o t a - a l i n iron m e t e o r i t e r a i n w h i c h f e l l in t h e F a r E a s t on F e b r u a r y 12, 1947. T h e m e t e o r i t e w e i g h s 1,745 kg.

T h e B o g u s l a v k a iron meteo r i t e ; f e l l in t h e F a r E a s t on O c t o b e r 18, 1916. It consists of t w o p a r t s w e i g h i n g 199 a n d 57 kg. 258

At that time Khladny's inferen'ces were criticized and ridiculed by WestEuropean scientists. T h e y did not believe the fall of meteorites possible and thought the reports of eyewitnesses to have been inventions. But about ten years after the publication of Khladny's book an a b u n d a n t meteorite rain fell near the town of L'Aigle, France, on April 26, 1803; close to 3,000 stones were gathered in after that rain. Numerous inhabitants saw this meteorite rain. Following this the scientists of Paris, as well as other scientists of Western Europe, could not help acknowledging the existence of meteorites. T h e foregoing shows that Russia was the birth-place of thq science of meteorites— meteoritics.

T h e aforesaid large meteorites in the collection of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences are not the very largest. T h e largest meteorite in the world is the Goba iron meteorite found in West Africa in 1920. It weighs close to 60 tons and has the shape of a rectangular slab 3 X 3 X 1 metres in size. T h e meteorite is still located where it was found and is exposed to the disintegrating action of the atmosphere. T h e r e are also other iron meteorites weighing 33.5, 27 a n d 15 tons. T h e The Pallasovo Zhelezo meteorite largest stony meteorite weighs about found south of Krasnoyarsk in one ton. It fell in the U.S.A. in 1948. 1749. T h e p i c t u r e s h o w s grains of Now let us examine the internal o l i v i n e in m e t a l l i c iron structure of meteorites. I n a separate show-case we see specially arranged samples. Here is an iron piece with a polished surface and a mirror-like lustre. Next to it lies another sample whose polished surface has been treated with a weak acid solution. O n this surface we see a wonderful pattern of interweaving lines and fine shiny borders. This pattern is a result of the unequal pickling action of the acid. T h e point is that the iron meteorites are not uniform in their mass. T h e y are composed of separate plates from a fraction of a millimetre to two a n d more millimetres wide. These plates consist of iron with a small admixture of no more than seven per cent nickel. Because of this the polished surfaces of the plates are acted upon by the acid and after pickling become rough and lustreless. Contrariwise, the shiny narrow lines bordering these plates consist of iron with a large admixture of about 24 to 25 per cent nickel.
17*

Widmanstatten figures on the e t c h e d s u r f a c c of a p l a t e cut o u t of t h e C h e b a n k o l iron m e t e o r i t e

259

Owing to this they resist the action of the acid solution and after pickling remain as shiny as ever. T h e pattern obtained on the pickled plates of iron meteorites is known as Widmanstatten figures, named after the scientist who .had first discovered them. T h e iron meteorites which show Widmanstatten figures are called octahedrites because the plates which form Neumann lines on the etched surthe figures are arranged along the sides face of a plate cut out of the Boguof a geometric figure that has eight slavka iron meteorite (see picture sides and is called a n octahedron. on page 258) Not all iron meteorites show Widmanstatten figures after pickling. Some pickled surfaces of iron meteorites show fine parallel lines called Neumann lines after the scientist who discovered them. T h e meteorites showing N e u m a n n lines contain the least nickel (about five to six per cent). T h e y are monocrvstals in their entire mass, i.e., single crystals of the cubic system with six sides, and are called hexahedrons. T h e iron meteorites which show N e u m a n n lines are, therefore, called
hexahedrites.

We encounter one more type of iron meteorites, known as ataxites, which means "devoid of order." These meteorites contain the most nickel (more than 13 per cent) and when pickled their polished surfaces show no definite pattern. Stony meteorites also have a very interesting structure. Here is a fragment of a meteorite in a fracture of which we can see perfectly regular globules, resembling shot, even with a naked eye. U n d e r a microscope the entire surface of the
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Chondrules in the fracture of a stone meteorite (chondrite). Saratov

fracture in some meteorites seems covered with these globules whose size is a fraction of a millimetre a n d even smaller. T h e globules are called chondrules, while the meteorites containing t h e m are known as chondrites. T h e chondrites are the most widespread meteorites a n d constitute approximately 90 per cent of all stony meteorites. T h e chondrules are structures typical only of meteorites. T h e y are never found in terrestrial rock a n d their presence in an u n k n o w n sample may, therefore, serveas a reliable indication that this sample is a stony meteorite. Scientists have come to the conclusion t h a t the chondrules are rapidly cooled drops of molten substance of the meteorite a n d t h a t they were formed at the same m o m e n t as the meteorites. I n addition to the chondrites there are also stony meteorites which do not contain any chondrules a n d which are called achondrites; true, these achondrites are m u c h fewer. T h e fractures of these meteorites showa n g u l a r fragments of separate minerals cemented by the fine-grained principal mass of the meteorite. T h e structure of these meteorites very m u c h resembles that of terrestrial rock. T h e r e are still other, rarer types of stony meteorites with their own peculiarities, but we shall not dwell on these. N o w let us examine the composition of the meteorites. T h e following table shows the chemical composition of meteorites of different classes. Average Chemical Composition of Meteorites of Different Classes
Average chemical c o m p o s i t i o n Chemical elemenis Irons Stonyirons Stones

Iron Nickel Cobalt Copper Phosphorus Sulphur Carbon Oxygen Magnesium Calcium Silicon Sodium Potassium Aluminium Manganese Chromium

90.85 8-5

49-50 5 .00

15.6
I . IO

0.60 0.02

O.25

0.08
0.01 O.IO

O.I7

O.O4 O .I3

1.82
0 .16

2!.30

41.0
14 .30

14.20

1.80

9-75
— — — — — — —

2 1.00 0.80 0.07 ..56
O. 1 6

O.4O
26

Ue are actually all veryctose relatives

I n t h e t a b l e w e see all f a m i l i a r c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s a n d n o t a single n e w o n e . Is it possible t h a t t h e m e t e o r i t e s , t h e s e s t r a n g e r s t h a t h a v e c o m e t o us f r o m d i s t a n t s p a c e s of t h e u n i v e r s e , d o n o t really h a v e a n y new chemical elements, any m o r e wonderful chemical elements t h a n the ones w e k n o w o n e a r t h ? Is it possible t h a t in t h e d i s t a n t p a r t s of i n t e r p l a n e t a r y s p a c e t h e r e is n o t h i n g n e w , n o t h i n g u n l i k e t h e t h i n g s w e h a v e on our earth? As a m a t t e r of f a c t t h e m o s t a c c u r a t e a n d m o s t p a i n s t a k i n g a n a l y s e s of t h e m o s t diverse m e t e o r i t e s c o n d u c t e d o v e r a p e r i o d of m o r e t h a n 100 y e a r s b y a l a r g e n u m b e r of scientists h a v e s h o w n t h a t t h e y do not contain a single chemical element unknown on the earth. A t t h e s a m e t i m e w e find i n t h e m e t e o r i t e s p r a c t i c a l l y all of t h e c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s w e k n o w o n t h e e a r t h t h o u g h m o s t of t h e m c o n s t i t u t e a v e r y negligible p a r t d e t e c t e d o n l y b y fine s p e c t r a l analysis. I n r e c e n t y e a r s scientists h a v e o b t a i n e d o n e m o r e i m p o r t a n t c o n firmation of t h e c o m m o n o r i g i n of these celestial b o d i e s . Scientists h a v e s t u d i e d t h e isotopic c o m p o s i t i o n of a n u m b e r of c h e m ical e l e m e n t s of b o t h t e r r e s t r i a l a n d m e t e o r i t i c o r i g i n . T h e y h a v e f o u n d also i n this case a complete identity of the isotopic composition of the elements. T h e f o r e g o i n g t a b l e shows t h a t t h e s t o n e m e t e o r i t e s c o n t a i n m o s t l y t h e following c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s : o x y g e n (41.0 p e r c e n t ) , i r o n (15.6 p e r c e n t ) , silicon (21.0 p e r c e n t ) , m a g n e s i u m (14.3 p e r c e n t ) , s u l p h u r (1.82 p e r c e n t ) , c a l c i u m (1.8 p e r c e n t ) , nickel (1.1 p e r c e n t ) a n d a l u m i n i u m (1.56 p e r c e n t ) . O x y g e n is p r e s e n t i n t h e m e t e o r i t e s i n c o m b i n a t i o n w i t h o t h e r elem e n t s f o r m i n g v a r i o u s m i n e r a l s (silicates a n d oxides). I r o n is also c o n t a i n e d p a r t l y in c o m b i n a t i o n w i t h o t h e r e l e m e n t s a n d p a r t l y in t h e m e t a l l i c p h a s e i n t h e f o r m of these m i n u t e s t s p a r k l e t s w h i c h w e see in t h e f r a c t u r e s of meteorites a n d which are spread t h r o u g h o u t their mass. However, the content of chemical elements in separate meteorites may considerably differ f r o m their average composition.

Marshy terrain in the region of the fall of the Tunguska meteorite
262

Precious metals are found in meteorites in negligible quantities. For example, an average of five grams of silver and gold and 20 grams of platinum are found per ton of meteoritic substance. Meteorites fall on the earth incessantly. Scientists have estimated that at least 1,000 meteorites fall on our earth annually. However, only an insignificant part of them, about four to five meteorites, are discovered during the year. T h e rest of the meteorites which fall into seas and oceans, in polar countries and deserts, in mountainous or wooded regions, away from inhabited areas in general, are never found. T h e y disintegrate under the action of the atmosphere and become part of the soil. Meteoritic atoms mix with those of the earth. From the soil they get into plants and through the plants, which are used for food, as well as through the animals, which eat the plants and serve as food for man, the meteoritic atoms find their way into man's organism. W e see that not only our earth, but also the organic life on it is closely interlinked with the part of the universe surrounding it. Scientists have tried to estimate the annual increase in the mass of the earth due to the fall of meteorites. It appears that from five to six tons of meteoritic substance fall on the earth every day. Thus, the mass of the earth annually increases by about 2,000 tons. This is, of course, a negligible a m o u n t even if it is somewhat increased by the settling of atmospheric meteoric dust formed on the earth by the movement and destruction of the meteoric bodies. Academician V. Vernadsky did not believe that the mass of the earth increased. H e wrote that while the earth received substance in the form of meteorites and meteoric dust it gave off into the solar system other material particles, atoms, mainly gaseous, and very fine dust. This resulted in a mobile material equilibrium. Academician Vernadsky thus came to the conclusion that we were dealing
"not with accidental falling of separate meteorites, bolides and cosmic dust on the earth, but with a great plane-

F e l l e d t r e e s in t h e r e g i o n the T u n g u s k a meteorite

of

t h e f a l l of

263

The largest crater, 28 metres in diameter and 6 metres deep at the site of the fall of the Sikhota-alin iron meteorite rain

tary process, with a material exchange between our planet and cosmic space." It is in this process t h a t the inevitable interaction between o u r planet a n d the environment, i.e., with i n t e r p l a n e t a r y space, consists. While the chemical analysis of meteorites has not yielded a n y t h i n g new, t h o u g h very i m p o r t a n t inferences a b o u t the material unity of the celestial bodies a n d the earth have been m a d e as a result of this analysis, the study of the mineralogical composition of meteorites has shown their peculiarities. Meteorites are essentially composed of the minerals which are also a b u n d a n t in terrestrial rocks. These are olivine a n d a n h y d r o u s silicates: enstatite, bronzite, hypersthene, diopside a n d augite; minerals of the feldspar g r o u p are also encountered. But m a n y minerals, which are products of weathering, have not been found in the meteorites. N o r have a n y organic substances been discovered in them. Characteristic of meteorites is also the absence of minerals of the hydrous silicate group, i.e., minerals containing chemically-combined water. Scientists have m a d e m a n y persistent a t t e m p t s to find such m i n 264

erals in meteorites but they h a v e all been of no avail. Only very recently did Soviet scientists discover a mineral of the chlorite group, i.e., a hydrous silicate. It is contained, however, only in the meteorites which belong to the rare type of stony meteorites, the so-called carbon chondrites. Investigations have shown that the chemically-combined water which forms part of the chlorites constitutes 8.7 per cent of the total weight of the meteorite. This discovery is of great importance to the solution of our main problem, i.e., the finding out of the conditions under which meteorites arise. F r a g m e n t ot a large meteorite from the Sikhota-alin iron T h e discovery of minerals unknown on meteorite rain the earth in meteorites is also of great importance. True, the meteorites contain very small amounts of these minerals. Nevertheless, they show that the meteorites are formed under conditions which differ from those under which the earth's crust was formed. T h e ascertainment of these conditions represents one of the most important problems of meteoritics. T h e discovery of phenomena of metamorphism in meteorites under which not only the structure of meteorites but also the minerals themselves have changed is of particularly great interest. This metamorphism was due to the heating of the meteorites by the rays of the sun during their numerous apI n d i v i d u a l m e t e o r i t e ot t h e Sikhota-alin iron proaches to it as they moved in m e t e o r i t e rain covered by a f u s e d crust a n d interplanetary space throughshowing sharply p r o n o u n c e d r e g m a g l y p t s
265

out their existence. T h e detailed studies of the metamorphism of meteorites, especially extensive in recent years, reveal the history of the meteorites, the history of their wanderings in space. Meteorites also contain radioactive chemical elements. O n e of these elements is potassium present in stony S t r u c t u r e of t h e f u s e d crust of an i n d i v i d u a l meteorites in appreciable m e t e o r i t e f r o m t h e S i k h o t a - a l i n iron m e t e o r i t e quantities. Radioactive disrain; magnified 7 times integration of potassium produces argon. W e can therefore judge the age of the meteorites by the proportions of argon and potassium contained in them, i.e., we can estimate the time that has elapsed since the formation (hardening) of the meteorites. Soviet scientists have recently estimated the age of meteorites by argon and potassium. These estimates have shown that the meteorites are from 600 million to 4,000 million years old. T o d a y we know whence the meteorites come to earth. But when and how the meteorites were formed is still one of the most important problems on which scientists studying the meteorites are now working. Most Soviet scientists believe that the meteorites and the asteroids are fragments of one or several large celestial bodies (planets) which broke u p in the distant past. But this is only a conjecture, a working hypothesis, which requires further thorough studies of meteorites to be confirmed and fully demonstrated. T h e r e can be no doubt that the problem of the origin of meteorites, of their role in the formation of the planetary system and of the subsequent development of the latter will find its final solution.

ATOMS IN THE EARTH S INTERIOR
Several entertaining novels by Jules Verne, George Sand a n d Academician V . O b r u c h e v describe trips to the centre of the earth, to the inaccessible interior of the world. I n other books the fantasy of the writer flies to unknown heights. These books from the fantastic novels of the 17th century all the way to K . Tsiolkovsky's carefully calculated "flights to the m o o n " lead us to distant, seemingly inaccessible worlds. These fascinating novels show the inquisitive mind of m a n who cannot reconcile himself to the fact that he lives on a thin film of earth a n d that his eye can only see into some 20 or 25 km. of the earth's interior. In the struggle for expanding and mastering the world m a n has undoubtedly m a d e great headway in the last 50 years. T h e ascents to the highest snow peaks frequently m a d e by m a n out of pure sport were replaced byscientific expeditions of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences aimed at mastering the Pamirs. T h e ideas t h a t the higher layers of the atmosphere, which are not reached by the hustle a n d bustle of the earth or the chemical struggle of the terrestrial M o u n t Stalin in t h e P a m i r s , molecules, are inaccessible have also 7,495 m e t r e s a b o v e sea l e v e l
267

receded into the past: Fedoseyenko, Vasenko and Usyskin, Soviet stratonauts, have made the first successful attempts at mastering the altitudes at the peril of their lives. T h e flights on stratostats and those of rockets have greatly advanced the knowledge of the spheres where the amount of substance sharply decreases, where one cubic metre of air contains millions of times as few particles as that on the earth's surface. M a n is primarily attracted by altitudes and here his achievements are very real; engineering has made enormous progress, and the scientists know this distant and still inaccessible world much better than that which spreads under our feet, i.e., the world of the earth's interior. We do not know very much about the interior of the earth. M a n is attracted to the interior mainly by his struggle for oil and gold. He drills pits and sinks mines which penetrate into the entrails of the earth, but the deepest oil-wells are no deeper than 5 km., while the deepest gold-mine is less than 3,000 metres deep. And this is considered a great accomplishment. In his pursuit of gold and oil m a n will, naturally, be able to penetrate still deeper. It is quite probable that the accomplishments of modern engineering will make it possible to break these records by a few more kilometres. But what are these kilometres compared with the earth's radius of 6,^77 km.? It is only some 0.001 of it. It is quite natural therefore that m a n cannot reconcile himself to this and that all men of science, from the philosophers of early antiquity to the astronomers of our time, have always been interested in the problem of the internal structure of the earth and in the ways and means of mastering the interior of our planet. Let us at least form a cursory picture of what we know of the earth's interior by taking an imaginary trip from the earth's surface into the interior and let us see what we can find.
* * *

We find the first attempt to describe a trip into the earth's interior in Lomonosov's writings. True, his ideas are scattered through a n u m b e r of his works, but A. Radishchev in his Word about Lomonosov (1790) collected them into a single volume. Ending his famous Journey from Petersburg to Moscow Radishchev curiously enough devotes just the last pages of his story about the hard journey over the filthy and b u m p y
272

post road to the peculiar trip made by Lomonosov to the centre of the earth and tells us what the scientist might have seen had he descended successively from the earth's surface to ever deeper layers of the earth. W e quote this remarkable description: " . . . he (Lomonosov) steps with trepidation into the opening and soon loses the sight of the life-giving sun. I should very much like to follow him in his underground trip, to collect his thoughts and state them in the order and in the connection in which they come to his mind. T h e picture of his thoughts would certainly be amusing and instructive to us. " I n going through the first layer of the earth, the source of all life, the underground traveller finds it unlike the next layers since it differs from the others in its great fertile power. H e may conclude from this fact that the earth's surface consists of nothing but animal decomposition and germination, that its fertility, a nutritive and restorative force, takes its source in the indestructible and primary parts of al! existence which without changing its essence only changes its appearance, the latter being a matter of accident. In going further the underground traveller sees that the earth is always arranged in layers. " I n these layers he sometimes finds remains of marine animals and of plants and may conclude that the stratification of the earth is a result of the fluidity of waters and that by moving from one part of the earth to another these waters impart to the earth the appearance which it has in its interior. "Losing sight of this uniform stratification he sometimes imagines it as a mixture of many various layers. H e concludes this from the fact that the fierce element of fire by penetrating into the earth's entrails met the resistance of moisture and in its rage stirred, shook, overturned and scattered all that offered it any resistance. "By stirring u p and mixing the heterogeneous, the hot breath of fire gave rise to the attractive force of metals and joined them. There Lomonosov beholds these dead treasures in their natural state, remembers the cupidity and suffering of m a n and with a heavy heart leaves this dark abode of h u m a n greed." Examining this text we can now say that it fully corresponds to our modern ideas; not a single word of it can be refuted. But if we try to compare this fantastic picture d r a w n by a scientist of the 18th century with the picture of our own ideas (which are much
269

closer to reality) about the earth's entrails studied by means of boring tools we shall see the following. A small derrick invisible from the street was built near Krestvanskaya Zastava in Moscow a few years ago. T h e r e was a boring machine in the derrick; this machine was supposed to bore deep into the earth to find out the structure of the ground underneath Moscow. Working hard and persistently the borers tried to reach a depth of several kilometres. At first they bored through the clays and sands which had been deposited on the Moscow plain by the southern streams of the great glacier that had come from Scandinavia. These were the last paroxysms of the glacial epoch when all of the north European part of the Soviet Union was covered by a continuous coat of snow and ice. U n d e r these clays came different limestones, then layers of marls and clays again; in some places there were lime skeletons and shells among the limestones, the limestones were replaced by sands with separate coal layers which indicate the coal-field that supplies the central industrial region with its fuel and gas. T h e geologists examined in detail the ancient Carboniferous seas and found that they had been shallow in the beginning, that their shores had been covered by luxuriant vegetation which had grown stormily under the conditions of a humid and hot climate. Later these seas became deeper, waters rushed in from the east and north and broke up the forests and destroyed the vegetation; the luxuriant world of living submarine creatures laid the basis for the coral reefs and banks of shells. It was at that time that the limestones, used in the construction of Moscow houses owing to which Moscow was given the name of "White-stoned," were deposited. T h e same limestones are also widely used today. T h e bore-hole went through the entire complex series of layers deposited during the long Carboniferous epoch, which had lasted many scores of millions of years, and ran into new layers of enormous amounts of gypsum. It went through hundreds of metres of gypsum sediments, through argillaceous layers and through large quantities of water. These waters were at first saturated with sulphates and later, as the bore-hole reached deeper, they contained ever more salts of chlorine. T h e bore-hole penetrated into brines containing ten times as much salt as sea-water. These were mainly sodium and calcium chlorides, but there were also many salts of bromine and iodine.
270

M u l t i - s t o r i e d b u i l d i n g n e a r K r a s n i y e V o r o t a in M o s c o w . F a c e d w i t h w h i t e limestone

Moscow

I t w a s n o l o n g e r a p i c t u r e of t h e C a r b o n i f e r o u s e p o c h , b u t of a n o l d e r , s o - c a l l e d D e v o n i a n e p o c h . T h e s e w e r e d i s a p p e a r i n g seas w i t h salt-lakes, firths a n d d e s e r t s w h i c h h a d s u r r o u n d e d t h e s e a s ; t h e salts d e p o s i t e d o n t h e i r floors i n h e a v y l a y e r s w e r e i n t e r s p e r s e d w i t h t h i n l a y e r s of silts a n d d u s t b r o u g h t b y h u r r i c a n e s a n d t o r n a d o s of t h e Devonian desert. T h e b o r e - h o l e w a s n o w 1.5 k m . d e e p . W h a t c o u l d w e e x p e c t n o w ? W h a t c o u l d w e f i n d u n d e r t h e s e d i m e n t s of t h e old D e v o n i a n seas a n d w h a t n e w p i c t u r e s w o u l d t h e geologist see as h e b o r e d a n o t h e r fewh u n d r e d m e t r e s ? I n t r i c a t e c o n j e c t u r e s a g i t a t e d t h e m i n d s of scientists a n d daring t h o u g h t searched for various hypotheses. A n d then, at a d e p t h of 1,645 m e t r e s , t h e y s u d d e n l y r a n i n t o s a n d s . T h e s e w e r e , a p p a r e n t l y , t h e s h o r e s of t h e D e v o n i a n s e a ; t h e s a n d s signified t h a t l a n d w a s n e a r . T h e y i n c l u d e d s e p a r a t e p e b b l e s of i g n e o u s r o c k s a n d p o l i s h e d f r a g m e n t s of t h e s e a s h o r e . T h e s e w e r e a l r e a d y shores, r e a l shores, a n d after another ten metres the bore-hole reached h a r d granite. T h u s t h e b o r i n g tool i n M o s c o w f o r t h e first t i m e c u t i n t o t h e g r a n i t e b a s e , t h e f o u n d a t i o n of all R u s s i a n l a n d f r o m L e n i n g r a d i n t h e n o r t h t o t h e U k r a i n e in t h e s o u t h . S o o n n e w b o r e - h o l e s i n S y z r a n a n d f u r t h e r east r e a c h e d t h e g r a n i t e b e d a t a p p r o x i m a t e l y t h e s a m e d e p t h a n d confirmed the forecasts m a d e by A c a d e m i c i a n A. K a r p i n s k y t h a t a n c i e n t g r a n i t e masses u n d e r l i e t h e e n t i r e s u r f a c e of o u r E u r o p e a n p l a i n , i. e., t h e old p l a t f o r m o r shield as w e k n o w it f r o m t h e b e a u t i f u l g r a n i t e a n d gneiss cliffs of K a r e l i a i n t h e n o r t h a n d a l o n g t h e b a n k s of t h e D n i e p e r a n d the Bug in the south. T h e bore-hole w e n t t h r o u g h a n o t h e r t w e n t y m e t r e s i n h a r d g r a n i t e . A c c o r d i n g t o t h e e s t i m a t e s of geologists t h e s e w e r e r e a l g r a n i t e rocks, t h e a n c i e n t d e p o s i t s w h i c h m a y b e a t least 1,000 m i l l i o n y e a r s o l d . T h e bore-hole had thus reached the deep granite bed u n d e r n e a t h Moscow. But what was further d o w n ? W h a t could be expected u n d e r these granites? Could a n o t h e r 2,000 metres b e bored in order t h a t t h e d e p t h s w h e r e t h e g r a n i t e masses float m a y b e r e a c h e d ? T h i s question g a v e rise t o s t o r m y c o n t r o v e r s i e s . S o m e b e l i e v e d t h a t f u r t h e r b o r i n g w a s useless, t h a t m a n y h u n d r e d s a n d e v e n t h o u s a n d s of m e t r e s w o u l d h a v e t o b e b o r e d b e f o r e t h e h a r d l a y e r s of t h e g r a n i t e gneiss p l a t f o r m e n d e d . O t h e r s insisted t h a t t h e b o r i n g b e c o n t i n u e d in o r d e r t h a t t h e r i d d l e of still g r e a t e r d e p t h s m i g h t b e s o l v e d . T h e b o r e r s e n c o u n t e r e d e n o r m o u s
272

S m o k i n g c r a t e r on a s l o p e of a v o l c a n o

difficulties, their work growing ever more complicated with each metre; from a depth of nearly two kilometres they brought to the surface beautiful pink hard rocks of granite and gneisses. It is as yet impossible to reach the deepest layers of the earth because h u m a n engineering is still too weak. I n order to master deeper zones of the earth other ways and means must be used. This was first suggested by Eduard Suess, young Austrian geologist, in 1875. H e proposed to take a bird's-eye view of the earth from the positions of geology and the already existing geochemistry. Suess tried to outline the essential and more uniform layers of which the earth consists. For this purpose he followed, primarily, in the footsteps of the old philosophers and divided the earth into three simple shells: the air or atmosphere which completely surrounds the earth; the hydrosphere, i.e., the waters and the ocean which cover solid earth and saturate it and, finally, the lithosphere, i.e., the sphere of stone the interiors of which contain the eternally raging fire exhaled by the volcanoes.
18

273

He continued this division on the basis of the analysis of the chemical composition of hard rocks. In 1910 the English naturalist M u r r a y subdivided the layers of the earth into separate shells and named them geospheres. It was at that time that chemists and physicists, geochemists and geophysicists began their hard and persistent work in order to get a further and deeper insight into the structure of these separate shells or geospheres. T h e Russian scientist V. Vernad^ky and his school posed this problem in its entirety. Instead of drawing an external picture of the "face of the e a r t h " the geologists and geochemists were confronted with the problem of recreating all the processes occurring in each geosphere and of painting a complete picture of the internal structure of our planet. We shall now endeavour briefly to characterize the shells of which our planet consists as they are pictured by geophysics on the basis of studying the behaviour of the resilient oscillations of waves which reach enormous depths and mark the borders of separate geospheres by their reflection. Scientists now count 13 shells from the inaccessible interstellar space filled with meteors and molecules of hydrogen and helium and separate atoms of sodium, calcium and nitrogen. T h e lower border of this layer is at an altitude of about 200 km. Below this begins the stratosphere, and the amounts of nitrogen and oxygen increase. A layer of ozone separates individual parts of the stratosphere. T h e northern lights go on at altitudes of several hundred kilometres and luminous clouds rise to an altitude of 100 kilometres. T h e second layer, which we call the troposphere, begins at an altitude of 10 to 15 kilometres. This is our atmosphere, the air we are accustomed to with its nitrogen, oxygen, helium and other noble gases, saturated with water vapours and carbon dioxide. This is followed by a zone of about five kilometres which is called the biosphere, i.e., the sphere of living substance. It also includes the upper portions of the earth's crust and its aqueous shell. T h e n comes the aqueous zone known as the hydrosphere. This sphere is composed of hydrogen, oxygen, chlorine, sodium, magnesium, calcium and sulphur.
2 74

Mud bed several kilometres long formed by mud streaming out of cracks during the earthquake in Yangi-Kurgan District of Namangan Region (Uzbekistan) on the night of November 3, 1946

T h e hard shell comes after this; in the beginning it is the well-studied crust of weathering with its acid salts and soil layer; this is followed by the layer of sedimentary rocks—sediments of the old seas, i.e., clays, sandstones, limestones and coal layers. Already at a depth of 20 to 40 km. we encounter a new layer called metamorphic. Still deeper down are the granites rich in oxygen, silicon, aluminium, potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium. Somewhere in the interior, at a depth of about 50 to 70 km., they are replaced by basalts with magnesium, iron, titanium and phosphorus which substitute for aluminium and potassium. A sharp change occurs at a depth of 1,200 km. Here the hard layers are replaced by peculiar melts and the new peridotitic or olivine shell consists of oxygen, silicon, iron and magnesium with heavy metals— chromium, nickel and vanadium. T h e studies of earthquake waves registered by sensitive instruments, called seismographs, clearly show that there are shells of different composition in the interior of the earth. T h e very sensitive instruments invented by B. Golitsyn, Soviet academician, has m a d e it possible
18

275

to detect not only the waves that travel the shortest route b u t also those which r u n around the entire globe and those that are reflected from the borders of layers of the earth of different densities, for example, from the core of the earth. These data serve as weighty arguments in favour of the existence of lithospheric layers. Some scientists believe that an ore shell with accumulations of titanium, manganese and iron runs to a depth of 2,450 km. A still greater leap in densities is observed at a depth of 2,900 km. where, as it is believed, the central core begins; this core whose properties we do not know as yet in all probability consists of iron and nickel with an admixture of cobalt, phosphorus, carbon, chromium and sulphur. T h a t is the way geophysicists and geochemists picture the structure of our earth, and each of these layers is characterized by the elements which prevail in its composition. Each of them also has its typical temperatures a n d pressures. I n this complex and in m a n y respects, perhaps, inexact picture there is still one sphere which invariably attracts our attention. It is the sphere in which we live a n d which differs from all the other geospheres by its special properties. It is a zone of 100 km., a zone of chemical life, a sphere of terrestrial chemical processes, a sphere of stormy paroxysms, variations in temperatures and pressures, a sphere of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, a sphere of disintegration in some places and restoration in others, a sphere of cooling of Plutonic melts, hot springs a n d lodes and, finally, the sphere of life of m a n with his stormy aspirations, constant struggle against nature and for nature, the sphere inhabited by millions of species of living creatures, the sphere of new peculiar

K a m c h a t k a . A v a c h a B a y n e a r t h e city of P e t r o p a v l o v s k . A v a c h a V o l c a n o in the distance 276

L a k e in t h e crater of t h e S a n t o r i n V o l c a n o Archipelago

( f o r m e d a b o u t 3,500 y e a r s a g o ) ,

Greek

and intricate combinations of chemical molecules, the sphere of life and struggle and quests, the sphere of new processes and new transformations. This sphere of life is, not without reason, called by geologists the troposphere, i.e., the zone of movement. This zone lives its own complex chemical life, and the processes of construction and combinations of chemical elem'ents in it determine all the fates of our earth in its various geological epochs. It is a zone of purely terrestrial reactions and it is remarkable that though thousands and thousands of celestial stones, meteorites fall on earth and thousands of fragments of cosmic bodies find themselves in the hands of scientists not a single one of them has ever given us at least a piece that might remind us of this stormy zone of life and death on our planet. It is thus the chemical processes in the interior of our earth appear to man, whose physical existence is limited to a film only several kilometres thick. But in the slow and stubborn struggle of his genius man constantly expands his knowledge of the world.
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We are firmly convinced that both the interior of the earth and the spheres above the clouds will be conquered not only by the scientist's abstract thinking but also by engineering. We see how the waves of large geophysical instruments penetrate into the interior of the earth by the will of m a n and reflected there bring us the answer as to the structure of the earth's shells. T h e enormous explosions made in the Urals and in the south of the country bring us entirely new ideas about this structure. A series of precision machines, fireproof pipes and rods with cutters of super-hard alloys and diamond crowns will easily and with the fabulous speed of hundreds of metres per shift cut into the hard granite, and we are sure it will not be many years before the Moscow bore-holes, which seemed the height of technical accomplishment, will recede into the distant past. M a n will conquer the interior of the earth scores of kilometres deep not only in novels, but in actual life by winning another technical victory over the earth. There are no limits to cognition of the world! There are no limits to conquests by the h u m a n m i n d !

HISTORY OF THE ATOMS IN THE HISTORY OF THE EARTH
More than 100 years ago upon his return from a trip to the then unknown American countries Alexander Humboldt (1769-1859) delivered a series of lectures at Berlin University; in this lecture he attempted to paint before his listeners unusual pictures of the universe. Subsequently he set these ideas forth in his book entitled Cosmos. T h e word cosmos comes from the Greek and expresses the idea not only of world but also of order and beauty, because in the Greek language this word equally signifies the universe and the beauty of man.* In Humboldt's exposition the cosmos represented a totality of various facts. Basing himself on the accomplishments of 19th century science, he endeavoured to explain order by the unity of natural laws and in the picture of the present he wanted to see something more than merely one of the moments in the complex process of the development of the world. He failed, however, because the world in his ideas was still broken up into separate natural kingdoms. Each of these kingdoms had its own representatives with no common bonds between them. The old classification divided the world into individual cells and separated the minerals, plants and animals from each other by impassable barriers. The old ideas of the 17th and 18th centuries were still adhered to, the world still appeared immutable and made by the will of God from an enormous number of independent "kingdoms" and, though

V*

A. Humboldt

* W e k n o w this very well a n d cosmetics.

f r o m life b e c a u s e w e s p e a k

of c o s m i c

18 283

worlds

Alexander H u m b o l d t wanted to show that all natural phenomena were interlinked, he was unable to do so because he had no facts, no proofs, no units which he could take as a basis for the relationships existing in the nature that surrounds us. It is atoms that have proved to be these units, and in our time the picture of the cosmos is painted against an entirely different background. Inexhorable laws of physics and chemistry govern the complicated a n d long history of the migrations of individual atoms. W e have already seen that separate atoms are deprived of their electrons P o r t i o n of solar s u r f a c e p h o t o g r a p h e d in h y d r o g e n rays in the centre of cosmic bodies; we have seen a gradual creation of a complex particle of element with the electron-planets rotating around the centre. W e have seen molecules, i.e., chemical combinations, born in a desert world of cooling stars, by interlacing with and being engirded by the rings of these planets. T h e n ever more complicated structures come into being; ions, atoms and molecules form crystals, these new remarkable elements of the world, elements of a higher order, mathematically perfect and physically beautiful. W e can take as an example of this the transparent pure crystal of quartz which even the ancient Greeks had named crystallos, i.e., "petrified ice." We have seen the growth and destruction of beautiful structures of the crystal on the very surface of the earth; we have seen a new mechanical system arise from these fragments—a world of colloids, minutest groups of atoms and molecules. And in this environment it is a new type of complex and large carbon-containing molecules, the type we call a living cell, that proves to be stable. New laws of development of living substance increasingly complicate the fates of atoms in the course of their history, creating complex
28o

clots of myceliums, minutest semi-animals, semi-plants, semi-colloids which we call viruses, hardly visible in ultra microscopes and, finally, the first unicellular organisms which we now well distinguish in our microscope, i. e., bacteria and infusoria. It is through these historical stages that the atoms of different elements of our world travel, and a history of life can be constructed for each one of them from the moment the first terrestrial particle had cooled all the way up to their migrations in the living cell. Once upon a time, almost the way wc read about it in fairy-tales, a cluster of atoms arose in world chaos and began to emanate electromagnetic waves; the heat movement gradually decreased, as the astronomers say, and the system cooled. It does not make any difference to us who was the first of the numerous astronomers and philosophers to try and divine the mechanics of this proccss, nor when it was done. T h e only thing that matters is that the cluster is formed where the atoms of individual elements come in contact with each other. We know the composition of this cluster: modern geochemists tell us that it is cotnposcd of about 40 per cent iron, 30 per cent oxygen, 15 per cent silicon atoms, 10 per cent magnesium, and 2 to 3 per cent, nickel, calcium, sulphur and aluminium. Then come the elements which constitute lesser amounts—sodium, cobalt, chromium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, carbon, etc. This list shows that the chief chemical elements of which the universe is composed are all stable atoms built according to the laws the evenness of which wc have already mentioned. This intricate cluster consists of nearly 100 types of atoms, with some of them encountered in enormous quantities and others only in billionths of one per cent. In subsequent cooling the free atom-gases little by little form liquids and coming together as separate molten fiery-liquid drops, go through all the processes to which molten ores are subjected in the blast-furnace. T h e structure of our planet was unexpectedly divined not by theoreticians, not by geophysicists, but by metallurgists, the people who have learned to smelt metal, to get rid of the slags and to guide the fate of the individual atoms in the heat of the blast-furnace. According to the laws of physics and chemistry the atoms repel each other and the initial melt divides into separate parts. At this time all the chemical
281

H o t lava e r u p t e d on S e p t e m b e r 6, 1934, f o r m i n g a l a v a l a k e . S a n d w i c h

Islands

elements arrange themselves in a definite order. T h e light, mobile parts rise to the top, and the heavy ones go to the centre. A metallic nucleus is thus accumulated. A layer of metal sulphides is not infrequently formed above the nucleus with a crust of silicious compounds deposited still higher as a scale or slag. Geophysicists say that all the separate shells or geospheres, of which our earth is composed, correspond precisely to the separate zones, the separate products of smelting in a large blast-furnace. In the very interior of the earth at a depth of about 2,900 kilometres there is the iron core. Here we have an accumulation of the metals which go along with iron in the blast-furnace; these are, primarily, iron itself and its closest friends and analogues—nickel and cobalt. Here, too, are the elements which chemists call siderophiles or "iron-loving," thereby repeating almost exactly the words of the alchemists who were ridiculed by the scholastics of the 18th century. T h e siderophiles include platinum, molybdenum, tantalum, phosphorus and sulphur which are undoubtedly akin to iron. T h u s do we picture the composition of the deepest part of our earth.
282

Above the core, at a depth of probably 1,200 to 1,300 kilometres, there is another zone; controversies as to its chemical composition raged for a long time, but there is no doubt that it is the zone which we know very well from smelting copper or nickel. These are metal sulphides. And it is not without reason that enormous zone of the earth's crust 1,500 kilometres thick is frequently called the ore shell. This is the place where sulphides of copper, zinc, lead, tin, antimony, arsenic and bismuth must accumulate. T h e majority of them, however, are constituents of the sulphide minerals, which we also find in the more superficial zones of the earth's crust. T h e n comes the very "scale," or oxide zone. It is also divided into separate zones. I n the interior we have vast accumulations of rocks rich in silicon, magnesium and iron. This is a zone of which we began to get a notion only after we h a d studied the enormous diamond pipes in South Africa filled with the densest and heaviest materials—products of crystallization of the interior melts brought out from the deeper layers. Above this, beginning approximately with a depth of 1,000 kilometres, is the silicate envelope 011 which we live. W e picture it as a rather complicated system of various rocks and minerals though we actually know it to a depth of only 20 kilometres. Its composition sharply differs from the average composition of the earth and m a y be expressed in the following figures: one half of it is oxygen; silicon constitutes about 25 per cent, aluminium—7 per cent, iron—4 per cent, calcium—3 C o l o n n a d e b u i l t of M o s c o w s a n d s t o n e in per cent, sodium, potassium Lefortovo (Moscow)
283

Metallic core

. Ore shell
. Oxide zone

. Silicate envelope

and magnesium—2 per cent each; then come hydrogen, titanium, chlorine, fluorine, manganese, sulphur and all the other elements. We have seen that these figures are the result of thousands of individual calculations and analyses. We get the firm conviction at every step that our earth's h a r d crust is not uniform, that the distribution of atoms is unusually complicated, and that it is very difficult to form a picture of the structure of the earth's crust composed now of pink, sparkling granite, now of heavy dark basalts, now of altogether white limestones and sandstones or of coloured slates. W e know that sulphurous metals, salts, and minerals are dispersed on this variegated and intricate basis in a similarly chaotic disorder. Is it at all possible to find any laws governing the distribution of atoms in this complex picture ? Recent studies of geochemists have shown that this apparent world of accidents has its own unusually clear-cut and inexhorable laws. Geochemists have not only isolated the earth's crust, the silicious scale, from this fiery, live cluster, but have also divided it into separate atoms and are now studying the behaviour of each of them in strict order. T h e molten mass and scale resemble the slag which has been drained from the blast-furnace and which has gradually begun to cool. O n e after another various minerals started crystallizing from it. T h e first to separate were the heavy substances which began settling to the bottom; the lighter constituents, i.e., gases and volatile substances, rose to the top. Minerals rich in iron a n d magnesium thus dropped from the molten basalts to the bottom; in them we encounter compounds of chromium and nickel and find the sources of precious diamonds and costly platinum ores; on the other hand, other substances rose to the surface, to the upper field and gave rise to the rocks which we call granites. These proved successive extracts, as it were, of the A h o t spring. T h e w a t e r is t o o h o t t o cooling massif; it is precisely touch
284

these granites that formed the basis of our continents which float, as it were, on the heavy basalt layer that lines the greater part of the ocean floor. Strict laws of physical chemistry governed this new distribution of atoms in space, and new ideas were born in science at the time geochemists began making use of the laws of physical chemistry. T h e process of granite cooling is complex; the granite centres give off superheated steam and volatile gases which permeate through the nearby rocks and form hot water solutions that we know well by our mineral springs. This hot breath surrounds the granite centre with a sort of halo; the gases and vapours with various contents of volatile substances break through the cracks and fractures of the cooling granite rocks; hot underground rivers flow, gradually getting cool and forming on their walls crystalline crusts of minerals; later they change to cold springs on the surface. In this halo of cooling granite we see primarily the residual melts; these are the famous pegmatite lodes which are, as it were, bearers of the heavy atoms of radioactive ores. T h e y carry with them precious stones, sparkling crystals of beryl and topaz; in them we find traces of tin, tungsten, zirconium and rare metal compounds. Lodes of quartz with tin and wolframite run in the complex process of gradual stratification; still further are branching quartz lodes with gold and then deposits of zinc, lead and silver which form the polvmetallic veins, while far from the hot centre, several kilometres away from the boiling layers of the molten granites, we find compounds of antimony, red crystals of mercury sulphide and fiery yellow or red arsenic compounds. These ore masses are distributed according to the laws of the same physical chemistry. W h e n they harden in the long fractures of the earth the accumulations of atoms stretch out in long rings or bands regularly following each other around the heated massifs. Grand pictures of these ore zones open up before us on the surface of the earth; some of them run through both American continents beginning in the north somewhere in the region of California. T h e y carry lead, zinc and silver. Others cut across Africa along the meridian. Still others engird in the form of garlands the stable petrified shields of Asia, creating a zone rich in ores and semi-precious stones, traced for many hundreds of kilometres.
285

T h e i n c o m p r e h e n s i b l e p i c t u r e of o r e d e p o s i t s s e e m i n g l y s c a t t e r e d in d i s o r d e r is t h u s t r a n s f o r m e d f o r t h e g e o c h e m i s t i n t o a c l e a r - c u t r e g u l a r p i c t u r e of d i s t r i b u t i o n of a t o m s . T h e g r e a t e s t p r a c t i c a l p r o b l e m s a n d a c c o m p l i s h m e n t s a r e d e c i d e d o n t h e basis of this n e w i d e a of t h e n a t u r a l l a w s of d i s t r i b u t i o n of a t o m s in t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t a c c o r d i n g to t h e i r p r o p e r t i e s a n d b e h a v i o u r . T h e old o b s e r v a t i o n s of m e d i e v a l m i n e r s a n d t h e old e x p e r i e n c e of m i n i n g a r e n o w r e p l a c e d b y r e a l l a w s of w h i c h A g r i c o l a d r e a m t so m u c h as e a r l y as t h e 16th c e n t u r y w h e n h e s p o k e of t h e m y s t e r i o u s love of v a r i o u s e l e m e n t s f o r e a c h o t h e r . M . L o m o n o s o v , t h e R u s s i a n scientist, h a d t h e s a m e t h i n g i n his m i n d w h e n h e called on the chemists to u n i t e w i t h metallurgists two h u n d r e d y e a r s a g o in o r d e r t o find t h e e q u i l i b r i u m a n d t h e r e a s o n s for t h e j o i n t d i s c o v e r y of o r e s a n d t o a n s w e r t h e q u e s t i o n s : w h y z i n c a n d l e a d w e r e a l w a y s e n c o u n t e r e d t o g e t h e r , w h y c o b a l t so f r e q u e n t l y f o l l o w e d silver, w h y t h e m e t a l s of nickel a n d c o b a l t , t h e s e t w o g n o m e s so hostile t o m i n i n g , w e r e a l w a y s f o u n d w i t h t h e s t r a n g e e l e m e n t uranium. W h a t is it t h e n t h a t forces t h e v a r i o u s a t o m s t o b e d i s t r i b u t e d so r e g u l a r l y in g r a n i t e r o c k s ? H e r e w e h a v e n e w forces of n a t u r a l p r o c esses; a n d w h e r e a s in t h e i n t e r i o r of t h e e a r t h , w h e n t h e m o l t e n c l u s t e r w a s d i v i d e d i n t o a n u c l e u s , scale a n d slag, t h e m a i n laws of division w e r e d e t e r m i n e d b y t h e n a t u r e of t h e a t o m s t h e m s e l v e s , h e r e n e w l a w s h a v e c o m e to t a k e t h e i r p l a c e . T h e atoms a n d their parts b e g a n to c o m b i n e f o r m i n g not cnly a system of p i l e d - u p f r e e a t o m s a n d m o l e c u l e s , w h i c h w e call l i q u i d o r glass, b u t also s t r u c t u r e s w h i c h a r e n o t f o u n d in t h e i n t e r i o r of t h e e a r t h a n d w h i c h d r i f t i n s p a c e o n l y w h e r e t h e c o l d of i n t e r p l a n e t a r y s p a c e cools t h e s t o r m i l y m o v i n g a t o m s to b e l o w 2 , 0 0 0 ° C . This remarkably harmonious structure, which determines the harm o n y of o u r w o r l d , h a s b e e n g i v e n t h e n a m e of c r y s t a l . W e h a v e a l r e a d y m e n t i o n e d t h a t 1 c u b i c c e n t i m e t r e of c r y s t a l is b u i l t u p of 4 0 , 0 0 0 trillion a t o m s w h i c h a r e l o c a t e d a t d e f i n i t e p o i n t s i n s p a c e a n d a t d e f i n i t e d i s t a n c e s f r o m e a c h o t h e r f o r m i n g sorts of l a t t i c e s a n d n e t w o r k s . T h e e n t i r e u p p e r l a y e r of t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t , as well as t h e o v e r w h e l m i n g p a r t of t h e w o r l d t h a t s u r r o u n d s us, is b u i l t of crystals. T h e c r y s t a l a n d its l a w s d e t e r m i n e t h e d i s t r i b u t i o n of e l e m e n t s w h i c h m a y f r e q u e n t l y r e p l a c e e a c h o t h e r in t h e s e s t r u c t u r e s ; t h i s
286

gives rise to the possibility for some elements to migrate within the crystal, others to form bonds by electric forces of fabulous power, thus creating the strength of the crystal, its mechanical endurance, and its ability to resist all the hostile forces in the universe. There, in the interior of the cosmic bodies, we find a disorderly chaos of atoms; here, on earth, there is no more chaos, there is an endless series of points and meshes distributed as regularly as the boards of parquet on a floor, or as lamps in a large hall. We have now come to the earth's surface. T h e earth's entrails cease to affect the life of the atoms and cede their influence to the sun and the emanations of the cosmos; and under the influence of new types of energy the atom resumes its migrations on the surface of the earth in accordance with the laws of physical chemistry and crystallochemistry. Half a century ago V. Dokuchayev, Russian naturalist, developed his ideas on the laws of soil formation on the earth's surface in his lectures at Petersburg University. H e said that the climate, plants and animals led to the formation of separate soil zones and at the same time the different distribution of atoms of substance in the soil. T h e soil was revived in his generalizations as a new peculiar world of atoms. Dokuchayev was fond of saying: " T h e soils are the fourth kingdom of nature." H e subordinated to the laws of this world not only the fertility of the soil but the life of m a n as well. But it is precisely here on this thin film of the earth's surface that the atoms have grown unusually complex. T h e simple and clear schemes of the quiet growth of crystals in the interior have proved insufficient here. T h e complex geographical landscape has subordinated the atoms themselves, while the frequent changes of climate, seasons, day and night and the life's processes began to leave their imprints and to demand new forms of equilibrium and new conditions of stability. I n the interior of the earth it is quiet; there is a quiet process of spatial distribution of crystals, while on the surface there is a stormy kingdom of variable, contradictory influences, a struggle of forces, a change of temperatures and a domination of processes of destruction. Here, instead of our precise crystalline structures, their fragments,
287

G c o c h e m i c a l d i a g r a m of t h e d i s t r i b u t i o n of e l e m e n t s a n d s o m e m i n e r a l s in connection w i t h t h e d i s t r i b u t i o n of rocks from the primary m a g m a

E x t i n c t t w o - p e a k e d v o l c a n o in C a l i f o r n i a . H c i g h t - 4 , 3 0 0 m e t r e s

as a new dynamic system, acquire the greatest importance. These fragments we call colloids. There arises a contradiction between the world of order in the interior of the earth and the chaotic world of jelly-like colloids on the surface. U n d e r the rapidly changing conditions of surrounding nature the chemical reactions cannot proceed so quietly and regularly as in the interior. T h e construction of the crystal just begun breaks u p and is replaced by a new one. T h e fragments of crystals sometimes merge, and these large particles, sometimes built of hundreds and thousands of atoms, give rise to a new form of substance, to an unstable system of colloid, i.e., the jelly a n d glue which we know so well in the organic world. But it is not only this force of destruction which characterizes the system of minerals of the earth's surface; it conceals tremendous active forces; it contains more energy than the dead, stable system of crystals. In the clays, and in various types of brown-iron and manganese films that surround us, in the multiformity of the different atomic combinations of iron, aluminium and manganese, in the balls and
19

a8<)

concretions of phosphoric c o m p o u n d s n e w forces come into play caused by the contact of various m e d i a with each o t h e r ; these n e w forces of chaos manifest themselves wherever there is construction side by side with destruction, w h e r e new regularities arise a n d d e t e r m i n e the n a t u r e of the soils, facilitating migrations of individual metals a n d causing their m u t u a l exchange in the soil. W e thus gradually a p p r o a c h the last stage in the history of the a t o m — t h e processes of life. T h e colloid has already paved the way for the. creation of the new system; this complex concatenation of purposive molecules, which conceal tremendous surface forces, gives rise to embryos of a new substance which is the living cell. It is here, in this peculiar a n d flexible structure, w h e r e the a t o m s are now b o u n d a n d now free, t h a t life was b o r n as a n a t u r a l development, as a logical consummation of the system of atoms that was becoming ever more complicated. Following the complex paths of evolution this life only reproduced the pictures we have painted above. Subject to a new form of g r o u p i n g it b e g a n to complicate the a t o m i c structure a n d has become the d o m i n a t i n g p h e n o m e n o n on the earth's surface f r o m the minutest unicellular organism all the way u p to man. W e c a n n o t erase a n y t h i n g f r o m our surroundings. Life together with inorganic n a t u r e , air a n d water has merged into a single whole a n d has created the n u m e r o u s geographic landscapes t h a t surround us. T h i s is the highest form of the system of atoms which has come a b o u t as a result of the laws of evolution a n d development of the organism. T h e H o m o sapiens has come into being with a n intellect capable of cognizing the mighty laws of energy which govern this new, still m o r e unstable a n d at the same, time still m o r e powerful active system.

Clitf of volcanic tuff. Karadag, the Crimea
290

T h e Crimea. Gurzuf. General view against M o u n t a i n of laccolith or " w o u l d - b e volcano"'

the

background

of

the

Medvcd

T h e history of migrations of the atom shows us how its fate has gradually grown more complicated. It began as a n electrically charged free proton; subsequently nuclei were formed. It grew more a n d more complicated, and with the transition to the colder system of the c o s m o s the electron shell came back to the atom. These atoms have gradually merged in a regular a n d rigid geometric form, in what we have named a chemical compound. T h e crystal was the form of expression of these laws, the form of the greatest order, the greatest harmony, the least reserves of energy and, therefore, the most inert form of substance devoid of any free force. But right there and then complication began and a new colloidal system of atoms and molecules came into being. T h e living cell was created; complex molecules began to be built of hundreds and thousands of separate atoms; and as the highest form of the still undeciphercd chemical system protein bodies came into being a n d created the multiformity, complexity a n d mysteriousness of the organic world that surrounds us. But in the history of nature the atom has always rushed about in quest of new forms. W e cannot say as yet whether there are any new

295

291

S t u d y i n g t h e e r u p t i o n of a K a m c h a t k a v o l c a n o

forms of equilibrium more stable t h a n crystals a n d more actively charged with energy than living substance. All our ideas about nature run u p against the insufficiency of our knowledge of the new paths travelled by the atom, and nobody would dare say that we have already learned about the entire course of its migrations and that man has already mastered the powerful forces which he could unleash in the atomic cluster.

ATOMS IN THE AIR

What we are

is a i r ?

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know We like

about

it a n d we

what begin

little to

interest that there some at at an they an

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in this q u e s t i o n . and. w e lose it, w h e n air.

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appreciate

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rise in t h e i r p l a n e s to a n a l t i t u d e of m o r e a l t i t u d e of f r o m e i g h t air a n d We in of kilometres t h e s u p p l y of o x y g e n o n know how hard

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for science, was actually

also for the c h e m i c a l time number

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before m a n of c e n t u r i e s it

in p r i m i t i v e c h e m i s t r y t h a t a i r w a s c o m p o s e d o f a s p e c i a l g a s ton - a n d filled t h e that world when anything burned liberated as a special fine substance. m a d e it c l e a r t h a t life-giving

LAVOisier
the air was. The substance,

T h e n , t h e brilliant discovery of Lavoisier was essentially therefore, given which was n a m e d oxygen, and name

c o m p o s e d of t w o s u b s t a n c e s : o n e the of " a z o t e " (the Greek

a n o t h e r , i n d i f f e r e n t t o life, w h i c h for "lifeless"'. English.

l a t t e r is n o w m o r e c o m m o n l y k n o w n a s " n i t r o g e n " i n

I n 1894 it was quite unexpectedly discovered that the composition of the air was m u c h m o r e complex a n d that in addition to nitrogen, the air contained a n u m b e r of other, heavier chemical elements, which play a n i m p o r t a n t p a r t in it. M o d e r n physicists set the composition of the air as follows:
By w e i g h t Nitrogen Oxygen Argon C a r b o n dioxide Hydrogen 75-7°/o 2 3 . 0 1 °/ 0 1.28% 0.03 % 0.03 % By w e i g h t

Neon Helium
Krypton

0.00125 °/0 0.00007 %
0.0003 °/o

Xenon
Water vapours—variable

0.00004 °/o
amounts

T o d a y we know the composition of the air ocean so well t h a t not a single d r o p dispersed a n y w h e r e in it escapes the attention of our chemists. Now it turns out that the gaseous ocean t h a t surrounds us is not only the basis of all of our life, b u t also t h a t of a new great industry. T h e British have recently estimated t h a t the entire population of England a n d Scotland daily consumes u p to 20 million cubic metres of oxygen f r o m the air, while special installations extract u p to one million cubic metres of this gas for the needs of industry d u r i n g the same period of time. At the same time industry b u r n s coal a n d oil, thus consuming oxygen a n d giving off large a m o u n t s of c a r b o n dioxide to the atmosphere. T h e same process goes on in living systems. For example, m a n gives off a b o u t three litres of c a r b o n dioxide per day. T o give the reader a good idea of w h a t this figure m e a n s suffice it to point out that it takes a eucalyptus, a large tree, one day to decompose a p p r o x i m a t e l y one-third of the c a r b o n dioxide exhaled by

Eucalyptus alley- on a state farm in the central part of the Kolchis Lowland (Georgian S.S.R.)

o n e t h a i

p r i s o n t h r e e a s is

a n d l a r g e g i v e n

i r i n n i

free

u x v g r n d e c s p e r s o n will

u>

I lie

atmosphere.
a s

ll

ioilow-. c a r b o n b a l a n c e

e u c a l y p t u s oil ol b v t h e o n e

d e c o m p o s e will t h u s

m u c h t h e

d i o x i d e i n t h e T h i s us life a n d ol

a n d

r e s t o r e

c o m p o s i t i o n s h o w s t h a t p l a n t s t h e w e is s o t h e

a t m o s p h e r e . ol t h e a n d v e g e t a t i o n p l a n t t h e e v e r m t h a i o u r s u r r o u n d s cities, T h e b\

g r e a t

i m p o r t a n c e

r a r e t u i l v o n l v o x y g e n

s a l e g u a r d o f

s o u r c e is

r e s t o r i n g u s e d in

o x v g c n l a r g e r

c o n s u m e d a m o u n t s . l a i d t h e o f t h e air. t h e I n t o

m a n . I n l o r t h e ical t h e

M e a n w h i l e , if'H") s m a l l

b e i n g

f a c t o r i e s u t i l i z a t i o n a i r s e r v e s

p r o d u c i n g o f t h e

b a r i u m

p e r o x i d e in

b a s i s T o d a \ c h e m b l a s t ol

i n d u s t r i a l ol t h e

o x v g c n o! o f

c o n t a i n e d

o x y g e n

a s

t h e

b a s i s

s e v e r a l a i r is

b r a n c h e s n o w

i n d u s t r y .

P u r r is

o x y g e n a n

i n s t e a d

b l o w n 111 a

l u r n a e e s . b r a n c h e s T h e p h e r e I n u s e ol l.'ntil o n e t r a c t t h e p e r

( ) x v g e n of t h e ol

i n d i s p e n s a b l e i n d u s t r y . w h i c h w i t h h a s

o x i d i z i n g

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n u m b e r

< h e m i e a l

n u m b e r t h r o u g h a d d i t i o n o t h e r \'er\' c e n t

i n s t a l l a t i o n s a i r

e x t r a c t e a c h b e e n

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f r o m y e a r .

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a t m o s -

li(]iiid t o g a s e s .

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o w g e n .

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( o t i s t i t u i e s e x h o m

N o w c u b i c

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i n s t a l l a t i o n s t h i s r a r e s t ol

a n n u a l h g a s e s

a l m o s t a i r .

m i l l i o n

N o t a r c

m a n y

ol

us

k n o w w i t h

t h a t t h i s

m o r e g a s . o f

t h a n

i . 0 0 0

m i l l i o n

electric

b u l b s

a n n u a l l y f i l e

tilled

h u n n i o u s u s e little A n d ol ol

a d v e r t i s e m e n t s a n o t h e r t h e a i r

l a r g e g a s o n e h a s

c i t i e s

a n n u a l h in

-

m a k e a i r . ",",.000

e \ e i T h e r e p a r t s to

g r e a t e r is ol v e r y a i r .

n e o n , it 111 t h e

n o b i e

c o n t a i n e d p a r i o f n e o n

t h e p e r

o c e a n i n d u s t r v

still

n e o n

b e e n

g r o w i n g

f r o m

\ e a r

y e a r . H e l i u m still less is a l s o b e g i n n i n g n e o n , t o b e e x t r a c t e d t h e JO f r o m t h e a b o v e m o s t m a i n l v in a i r . T h e r e is

h e l i u m ol

t h a n

t h o u g h a b o u t

a t m o s p h e r e t o n s o f a i r t h i s a n d

e a c h

s q u a i e GAS

k i l o m e t r e ol t h e s u n .

l a n d H e l i u m

c o n t a i n s is

\ a l u a b l e I r o i n

e x t r a c t e d it is

I r o n ; l o r

t h e

u n d e i i o n

g r o u n d

g a s e o u s 11 is

s t r e a m s :

u s e d

filling

d i r i g i b l e s : w o r l d ' s

r c l r i g c r a t

e n g i n e e r i n g t u r e s . l'A'en m o u r t h e

e m p l o y e d

l o r

p r o d u c i n g

t h e

l o w e s t

t e m p e r a -

r a r e s t \ .

g a s e s .

k r \ p t o n

a n d

x e n o n ,

a r e

b e g i n n i n g

t o

b e

u s e d

m d u s t i

T h e air contains less t h a n o.ooi per cent krypton. And yet how helpful it would be if we could get it in greater amounts because we could then increase the brightness of electric bulbs by 10 per ceht, and with the use of xenon by 20 per cent. This means our lighting installations would consume 20 per cent electric power. But the most important raw material- for industry extracted from the air is of course nitrogen. T h e first attempts to utilize nitrogen compounds for fertilizer B e a c o n of n e o n t u b e s at an airfield were made in 1830. No one thought of the nitrogen contained in the air at that time and even the saltpetre brought by ships from Chile did not always find application in the poor fields of Western Europe. However, the gradual introduction of chemistry into agriculture required ever greater amounts of the life-giving substances on which the chemical life of plants is built, i.e., nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. T h e need for nitrogen began to increase to such an extent that in i8q8 Crookes, physicist a n d chemist, predicted a nitrogen famine and suggested that new methods for the extraction of nitrogen from the air be found. T i m e wore on. Chemists have learnt to transform the nitrogen of the air into ammonia, nitric acid and cyanamide by means of electric discharges. During the First World W a r nitrogen, which was necessarv for the production of explosives, became the object of numerous investigations. More than 150 nitrogen works are now operating throughout the world; they extract four million tons of nitrogen from the air annually. But even this figure is negligible compared with the vast reserves of this gas which constitutes approximately 81 per cent of the total volume of the air.
296

Suffice it to say that all of the nitrogen installations in the world annually extract as much nitrogen as is contained in a column of the atmosphere over 0.5 square kilometre of the earth's surface. We picture to ourselves the new industrial ways of utilizing the air as follows. Industry is making increasing use of the constituents of the aerial ocean.

71

T h e atmosphere is transformed into an immense source of I n s t r u m e n t s w i t h w h i c h P r i c s t i c y studicd the mineral raw materials, the composition of the air in 1774-90 reserves of which are practically inexhaustible. However, m a n has not yet found the means of mastering these reserves. T h e processes by means of which m a n divides the air into its constituents are quite imperfect. T h e extraction of nitrogen requires high pressures and tremendous quantities of energy. T o separate the noble gases and obtain oxygen requires complex and expensive machinery; the air must first be transformed into the liquid state in order that the various gases m a y then be extracted. Great headway has been m a d e in this direction in the Soviet Union in recent years. New remarkable machines, which make it possible very thoroughly to divide enormous quantities of air into its constituents, have been built at the Institute of Physical Problems of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences. But we can already imagine little machines installed in every room. W e open a tap marked "oxygen," and instead of air a bluish liquid cooled to minus 200°'C. comes flowing out of it. We open another t a p and a liquid noble gas, krypton or xenon, flows out of it drop by drop, a n d somewhere on the bottom, like ash in a stove, solid carbon dioxide accumulates; this compound is fed to a special press and gives us hard dry ice which you have all seen when buying ice-cream; this dry ice cools our apartments on hot davs
297

In the picture 1 have just painted I may have run a bit too far ahead. There arc no such portable little machines which can be plugged in in our rooms as yet, but I a m sure it will not be long before we are able to utilize the riches contained in the air for our needs and the chemical industry is built on the immeasurable reserves of nitrogen and oxygen, the two elements of outstanding importance to the life of the earth. I could finish my story right here, but I do not believe it would be corrilpete. I have not said anything about utilizing the carbon dioxide of the air or about the possibilities of making use of all the gases formed during the combustion of coal and wood and the kilning of limestones. Industry is already calculating the enormous amounts of carbon dioxide which are thrown out into the air as waste-products. It proposes that the carbon dioxide be used for manufacturing dry ice and it wants to extract from our atmosphere the o.< >j per cent carbon dioxide it contains. T h e physicists go even farther; they say that our air consists not only of the ten gases mentioned above, but that it contains tremendous quantities of even rarer gases which are dispersed in millionths of one per cent, i.e., radioactive gases. They mean the emanations of radium and of different volatile gases, the products of disintegration of light metals. These gases do not live long in our atmosphere: some of them live for days, others for seconds, and still others for millionths of a second. T h e air is saturated \vith these products of disintegration of world atomic nuclei. T h e cosmic rays destroy atoms and give rise to unstable gases at each step; these gases must disappear again and change to stabler forms of solid substance. P h o t o g r a p h of a l i g h t n i n g
298

Chemical oeean. cated aerial ing Most shifts ocean

reactions intricate and

are

continuouslv occur

taking

place

in

the

aerial compliin tins

processes the

between discharges

t h e d i s p e r s e d a t o m s ol which occur

substance and

w e still k n o w about us. around

vcrv little a b o u t the c o n s t a n t a n d electric

T o s o l v e t h i s p r o b l e m is t o m a k e o n e m o r e s t e p t o w a r d s nature to our needs.

subordinat-

ATOMS IN WATER
T h e s p r i n g s , rivers, 1 " seas, o c e a n s a n d u n d e r g r o u n d w a t e r s t o g e t h e r f o r m t h e c o n t i n u o u s w a t e r shell of t h e e a r t h , t h e s o - c a l l e d h y d r o s p h e r e . The s u n c o n s t a n t l y e v a p o r a t e s w a t e r f r o m t h e v a s t s u r f a c e s of t h e oceans. I n t h e a t m o s p h e r e t h e w a t e r c o n d e n s e s a n d falls o n t h e e a r t h in t h e f o r m of r a i n , s n o w a n d h a i l . I t e r o d e s t h e soils, lixiviates t h e m , b r e a k s u]) rocks, dissolves a m a s s of v a r i o u s s u b s t a n c e s a n d c a r r i e s t h e m all b a c k i n t o t h e seas a n d o c e a n s . W a t e r , t h u s , r u n s its cycle m a n y m i l l i o n s of t i m e s : o c e a n ^ a t m o s p h e r e > e a r t h > o c e a n . A n d e a c h t i m e it e x t r a c t s n e w a m o u n t s of w a t e r - s o l u b l e s u b s t a n c e s f r o m t h e solid r o c k s of t h e e a r t h . It h a s b e e n e s t i m a t e d t h a t all t h e r i v e r s of t h e w o r l d a n n u a l l y c a r r y f r o m t h e s u r f a c e of t h e e a r t h a b o u t 3 , 0 0 0 m i l l i o n t o n s of s u b s t a n c e s dissolved b y t h e m i n t o t h e o c e a n . I n o t h e r w o r d s , e v e r y 25 t h o u s a n d y e a r s t h e w a t e r s d e s t r o y a n d c a r r y a w a y f r o m t h e e a r t h a l a y e r of rock nearly o n e m e t r e thick. T h e w a t e r r e a l l y d o e s a lot of w o r k o n t h e e a r t h . W a t e r , w h o s e f o r m u l a is H 2 0 , is o n e of t h e m o s t a b u n d a n t s u b s t a n c e s 011 e a r t h . T h e v o l u m e of w a t e r c o n t a i n e d in t h e w o r l d o c e a n c o n s t i t u t e s 1,370 m i l l i o n c u b i c k i l o m e t r e s ! W a t e r has played a n enormously i m p o r t a n t p a r t in the history of t h e e a r t h a n d , c o n s e q u e n t l y , in g e o c h e m i s t r y . T h i s is w h y t h e g e o l o g i c a l sciences o n c e h a d a h y p o t h e s i s t h a t all rocks o n e a r t h h a d originated in a n a q u e o u s m e d i u m .
300

T h e a d h e r e n t s of this h y p o t h e s i s , t h e X e p u i n i s t s , n a m e d a l t e r tiie turn which mythological maintained had god that of w a t e r , all contested the Plutonists, Irom who

Neptune, in their masses

r o c k s 011 t h e e a r t h

arose

molten

poured

to the surlace Irom Pluto. that both ol these the in

t h e i n t e r i o r ol t h e

underground

kingdom Today involved There

of the we in

god

know the

forces, earth's

water rocks. does

and

volcanoes,

wen-

formation any

is h a r d l y or

water

nature in

that it. In

not

contain

certain has

admixtures no of distilled nitric It

substances Even

dissolved rain

other

words,

nature

water.

water and

contains other

carbon

dioxide,

traces

acid,

iodine, not

chlorine to sav

compounds. to obtain chemically containing For punthe

is v e r y The

hard,

impossible,

water.

gases of the air a n d

t h e w a l l s of t h e vessel

w a t e r d i s s o l v e i n it, e v e n t h o u g h i n v e r y s m a l l q u a n t i t i e s .

example

S h a p o of MI<t\v flakes

F a n t a s t i c s h a p e s of e r o d e d s e d i m e n t a r y rocks. N e w

Zealand

thousand millionths of a fraction of silver are dissolved in the water contained in the silver vessel. T h e silver of a tea-spoon dissolves in water in negligible amounts. A chemist can hardly notice these traces. But certain lower organisms, for example seaweeds, are so sensitive to traces of silver and to some other atoms in the water that they arc killed by them. Natural water, while running through extraordinary diverse terrestrial rocks—sands, clays, limestones, granites, etc., certainly, extracts various compounds from them. Some scientists say that if we knew the bed of the river we could tell the composition of its water. But despite the fact that alumosilicates, as we already know, arc a b u n d a n t in nature, the waters do not, as a rule, contain large amounts of aluminium or silicon. If these metals arc present, they are there mainjy in the form of lees or in mechanical suspension. O n the other hand, all the waters of rivers and seas always contain alkalis sodium, potassium, as well as magnesium, calcium and other elements. But what does all this m e a n ?
302

It appears that the chemical c o m p o s i t i o n of t h e s a l t s d i s s o l v e d i n waters d e p e n d s to a great extent o n t h e d e g r e e of t h e i r s o l u b i l i t y i n water. T h e most soluble c o m p o u n d s are the most usual constituents of n a t u r a l w a t e r s . As b e f o r e stated, t h e m a i n mass of t h e salt r e s i d u e of n a t u r a l w a t e r a l w a y s c o n s i s t s o f a t o m s of s o d i u m , p o t a s s i u m , calcium, magnesium, chlorine, b r o m i n e a n d some other elements. The salt-saturated waters, i.e., these

brines, also c o n t a i n precisely from rocks. have

s o l u b l e c o m p o u n d s of a t o m s e r o d e d T h e o c e a n is t h u s a s t o r e h o u s e o f soluble salts w h i c h lated in it since accumuof between
N i a g a r a F a l l s in A m e r i c a

the the

existence ocean.

t h e e a r t h as a result of t h e c o n t i n u o u s c i r c u l a t i o n of w a t e r the continent and

S c i e n t i s t s a t t e m p t e d t o e s t i m a t e t h e a m o u n t of s a l t s a n n u a l l y c a r r i e d b y r i v e r s i n t o t h e o c e a n s b y t h e a m o u n t s o f t h e salts d i s s o l v e d i n t h e o c e a n . O n this basis they estimated t h e a g e of t h e o c e a n o r t h e n u m b e r of years r e q u i r e d the ocean ever, the exact. Thus atoms the soluble c o m p o u n d s form the basis of t h e of salt The for the water the of to a c q u i r e figures concenare not

t r a t i o n o f salts n o w o b s e r v e d . H o w obtained

c o n s t i t u e n t of n a t u r a l waters.

w a t e r of t h e o c e a n c o n t a i n s 3.5 p e r c e n t salts, of w h i c h m o r e t h a n 80 p e r c e n t is s o d i u m known
O n t h e coast of t h e A z o v Sea

chloride, salt.

the

well-

common

Everybody

k n o w s t h a t it d i s s o l v e s v e r y e a s i l y . 3<>3

T h e other soluble c o m p o u n d s a r c found in the water in only very small q u a n t i ties. All chemical elements can be found in a n y n a t u r a l water, i.e., seas a n d u n d e r g r o u n d springs. It depends on how good o u r methods of research are. If we r e m e m b e r there arc altogether a b o u t 100 chemical elements, we shall easily u n d e r s t a n d how the waters e n c o u n t e r e d in n a t u r e differ in their composition. As a m a t t e r of fact, scientists have established the existence of n u m e r o u s classes of water. T h e waters of the ocean a n y w h e r e — on the surface a n d in the d e e p Geyser in Yellowstone Park (U.S.A.) (but a w a y from the coast)—arc very constant in composition a n d contain the same quantities of all chemical elements. River-waters are very similar in composition b u t less constant. T h e fact that the rivers flow in different rocks a n d u n d e r different climatic conditions leaves a n i m p r i n t on their composition. T h u s the rivers of the n o r t h e r n latitudes contain more iron a n d h u m u s a n d are often even coloured by them. T h e rivers of the middle latitudes contain mainly sodium, potassium, sulphates a n d chlorine. I n the w a r m e r latitudes, especially in regions w h e r e the water does not d r a i n into seas or oceans, riverwater, a n d m o r e frequently, lake-water, is salty. A similar variation in the composition of water according to zones is observed also vertically for the g r o u n d waters. T h e deeper these waters run, the m o r e they resemble brines. T h e waters whose composition differs most arc precisely the mineral u n d e r g r o u n d waters which not infrequently f o r m mineral springs, often medicinal, as they come to the surface. Here we can find waters containing calcium, iodine, bromine, radium, lithium, iron, sulphur, magnesium, boron, etc. T h e origin of these mineral waters is connected with the solution of the mineral deposits by u n d e r g r o u n d waters, with the process of lixiviating rocks of different composition.
3°4

T o divine the entire process by which these waters are formed by their chemical composition is a n entertaining a n d , at the same time, a very i m p o r t a n t scientific problem. T h e following table shows the composition of sea-water (in percentages) :
Oxygen Hydrogen Chlorine Sodium Magnesium Sulphur Calcium Potassium Bromine Carbon Strontium Boron Fluorine Silicon Rubidium Lithium Nitrogen Iodine Phosphorus Zinc Barium Iron Copper Arsenic 86.82 10.72 1.89 1.056 0.14 0.088 0.04 0.04 0.006 0.002 0.001 .">.0004 n.oooi 0.00005 0.00002 0.000015 0.00001 0.000005 0.000005 0.000005 0.000005 0.000005 0.000002 0.0000015 Aluminium . . . Lead Manganese . . . . Selenium Nickel Tin Cesium Uranium. . . . . . Cobalt Molybdenum . Titanium Cermanium . . . Vanadium . . . . Gallium Thorium Cerium Yttrium . Lanthanum . . . Bismuth Scandium . . . . Mercury Silver Gold Radium 0.0000011 0.0000005 0.0000004 0.0000004 0.0000003 0.0000003 0.0000002 0.0000002 0.0000001 0.0000001 0.0000001 0.0000001 0.00000005 0.00000005 o.0000000*4 0.00000003 0.00000003 0.00000003 0.00000002 0.000000004 0.000000003 0.000000004 0.0000000004 0.00000000000001

It will be seen from the table t h a t sea-water contains 99.99 per cent by weight of the first fifteen chemical elements while the remaining 74 elements constitute about 0.01 per cent. I n absolute figures, however, this is not so little, because there are, for instance, millions of tons of gold in sea-water. Scientists have m a d e m a n v attempts to build a physico-chemical factory which would make the extraction of gold from sea-water profitable. So far all their a t t e m p t s have failed. A concentration of bromine, iodine and, of course, chlorine, i.e., the chemical elements which are very i m p o r t a n t to m a n , is characteristic of sea-water. T h e iodine contained in sea-water is consumed by the seaweeds a n d the m a r i n e animals. It is from seaweeds that m a n extracts the main mass of industrial iodine.

309

:s°r>

O n thc beach in S u k h u m i ( A b k h a z i a n

A.b.b.K.;

When the seaweeds die, the iodine they contain goes over to the silt on the bottom of the sea. Rocks are gradually formed from the sea-silt. T h e waters are squeezed out of them and ground waters are formed. These ground waters take the iodine with them. Ground waters are often discovered in drilling for oil. T h e y are rich in iodine and bromine. M a n has now learned to extract these elements from them. Sea-water is an unlimited reservoir of bromine which is now extracted in a n u m b e r ,of places directly from sea-water (like magnesium). T h e history of calcium atoms in natural waters is of particular interest because they are frequently supersaturated with ions of calcium and in these cases the latter precipitates as calcium carbonate and forms limestones or chalk. Carbon dioxide plays a big part in the history of calcium. A surplus of carbon dioxide makes calcium dissolve while its insufficiency makes calcium carbonate precipitate from solutions. And if we recall that green plants consume carbon dioxide, we shall get a clear, picture of their role in the precipitation of calcium from water. As a matter of fact, enormous islands in the warm sea—atolls—are fully formed
306

U h e S p r u d e l M i n e r a l Spring in K a r l o v y V a r y ( C a r l s b a d ) C z e c h o s l o v a k i a . T h e t e m p e r a t u r e of t h e w a t e r is close to 75° C . ; t h e s p r i n g spurts t o a h e i g h t of 9 metres

of calcium carbonate deposited as a result of the vital activity of marine plants as well as from the lime skeletons of marine animals. W e wanted to show by this example that the composition of natural waters is considerably influenced by the living population of the reservoir. Without the knowledge of how "living substance" influences the composition of water, it is impossible fully to understand how the waters of the rivers, lakes, seas and oceans have come to have their present-day composition.

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ATOMS ON THE SURFACE OF THE EARTH. FROM THE ARCTIC TO THE SUBTROPICS
I r e m e m b e r t a k i n g a trip f r o m M o s c o w to the S o u t h of (Jreece I w a s still a b o v : m y ward. It w a s a c l e a r d a v i n M o s c o w b u t I s a w t h e g r e y m o n o t o n o u s grev-red, more how the illumined brown bv motlev p i c t u r e ol c h e r n o z e m the bright changed as w e Greece c o l o u r s i n t h e e n v i r o n s ol sun. I entered before the me Bosphorus: the earth, a Odessa, blue ol clavs of t h e R u s s i a n s c r o z c i n . T h i s w a s f o l l o w e d b v rav.s o f t h e s p r i n g s o u t h e r n childish mind has lor e v e r r e t a i n e d the of c h a n g i n g c o l o u r s w h i c h u n f o l d e d itself b e f o r e m e as I m o v e d when picture south-

remember

these colours landscape

the water and

t h e c h e s t n u t - b r o w n soils of t h e v i n e y a r d s . of s o u t h e r n

1 c a n still s e e cypress snow-white

the dark-green

t r e e s , t h e r e d s o i l s a n d t h e r e d f i l m s of i r o n o x i d e s a m i d t h e limestones. I had stood remember made on the deep impression I insisted this that picture mv

of c h a n g i n g

colours why the

me and witnessed

how

father explain

colours c h a n g e d as thev did. It was only m a n y years later that 1 u n d e r 1 had o n e of t h e g r e a t e s t earth. to travel a g r e a t deal t h r o u g h forests of the Pamirs. Arctic larger And taiga, through to the s n o w - c a p p e d the atoms on the the Soviet plains, of various surface before l a w s of t h e e a r t h ' s snrlace. the t h e law of t h e o x i d a t i v e c h e m i c a l different latitudes Since then Union, from tundras and chemical me each of t h e p r o c e s s e s w h i c h v a r y so m u c h a t

1 have chanced the continuous world" the

p o l a r o c e a n s all t h c w a y

summits the

t h e " r o o f of t h e of t h e e a r t h

t h i s p i c t u r e of t h e

reactions and time but on

the different fates/of an ever scale.

from the deepest

to t h e h o t s u b t r o p i c s rose

31 >8

i . d g e of glacier in A l a s k a

Let us take a look at this small m a p and then travel along the arrow drawn on it from Spitsbergen in the North to Ceylon in the Indian Ocean. Around old Svaldbard we find continuous ice; it is a dead ice desert. T h e r e are no chemical reactions; rocks do not break u p into clays or sands; the action of frosts spreads inward and tremendous boulderstones are formed. Only now and then, at the seashore colonies of birds, do remains of organic life accumulate and films of phosphates are nearly the only minerals amid the continuous ice. T h e chemical reactions occur just as slowly on Kola Peninsula or in the Urals transpolar region. H o w fresh all the rocks on Kola Peninsula are! O n a cold morning you can observe the rocks through binoculars dozens of kilometres away as if you were viewing them in a museum. T h i n films of brown iron oxides can be seen over vast spaces. Only in lowlands do peat bogs accumulate, the organic substance of plants burns slowly and is transformed into brown humic acids; the spring waters carry them away together with other soluble salts colouring the layers of jelly-like masses of the peat bogs and sapropels in lakes and marshes.
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W e can observe other chemical reactions farther south, in the vicinity of Moscow. Here, too, the combustion of organic matter is slow, the same stormy spring waters dissolve iron and aluminium, white and grey sands surround the environs of Moscow and bright spots of blue layers of phosphates gleam here and there in the vast peat bogs. Further south the colours gradually change, the course of chemical reactions alters, and the atoms find themselves in new conditions. T h e

chernozems of the Middle Volga regions replace the grey argillaceous soils of Moscow. W e see how the bright sun gradually modifies the surface of the earth, provoking ever stormier, ever more vigorous chemical processes. As soon as we cross the Volga we encounter new natural reactions: we find ourselves in a vast salt zone which stretches from the borders of Rumania through Moldavia, along the slopes of the Northern Caucasus, runs through all of Central Asia, and ends on the Pacific Coast. Various salts of chlorine, bromine and iodine accumulate. Calcium, sodium and potassium are the metals of these salts in the firths and dying lakes, scores of thousands of which are scattered over the territory of this zone. Here we observe a complex process of sediment formation.
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Still further south we find ourselves in the region of deserts. A new picture rises before ous eyes: enormous salines with their white fields gleam amid the green spots of the steppe vegetation across which the AmuDarya carries its chocolate-red waters. Bright colours denote newchemical reactions, the atoms An A r c t i c l a n d s c a p e . A g e o l o g i s t with a d o g t e a m on S e v e r n a y a Z c n i l y a shift, and in the sands acquire a new chemical equilibrium. Some of them accumulate as sands which form deserts, others are dissolved, are transported by winds and stormy tropical rains, and precipitate in the salines and sors amid the deserts. In the foothills of Tien Shan we see still brighter colours. Here stormy chemical reactions are encountered at every step, and the migration paths of the atom on the surface of the earth are very complex. I am still impressed by those bright and variegated colours which struck my eye when I visited one of the remarkable deposits for the first time. I n my book on the colours of stones I described this picture as follows: "Bright blue and green films of copper compounds covered fragments of rocks now deepening into olive-green, velvety crusts of vanadium minerals and now interlacing in azure a n d blue tones of hydrous silicates of copper. "Numerous compounds of i r o n its oxide hydrates—lay before us in a motley scale of shades. There were yellow, golden ochres, brightred hydrates with low water content, brown-black combinations o(
311

G l a c i e r in Arctic r e g i o n s

D e s e r t l a n d s c a p e . S a n d d u n e s in t h e K a r a K u m s ( T u r k m e n S.S.R.)

iron and manganese; even rock crystal acquires bright-red colours, transparent barite becomes yellow, brown and red 'ore barite'; red needles of alaite-^free vanadic acid—are crystallized on the pink clayey sediments of caves, while bright green-red sheets of the newlyformed mineral grow on the white bones of the h u m a n skeleton." T h e picture of the variegated bright colours is unforgettable, and the geochemist scrutinizes it in order to guess its cause. H e sees, first of all, that all the compounds are highly oxidized and that these minerals are characterized by the highest degree of oxidation of manganese, iron, vanadium and copper. He knows that they owe this to the southern sun, the ionized air with its oxygen and ozone, the discharges of electricity during tropical thunderstorms, when nitrogen is transformed into nitric acid. But the arrow leads us farther beyond the border of the sands. Climbing to an altitude of 4,000 metres we find ourselves in a desert again, 1 but this time, in a desert of ice; here we see neither the bright colours nor the migration of atoms we have just observed in the lowlands of Central Asia. Before us is nearly the same picture we saw on Novaya Zemlya and Spitsbergen. All around there are immense boulderstones of mechanical sediments; the fresh rocks hardly know any chemical
312

reactions, and only here and there amid the snows and ice we see afflorescences of solitary salts and accumulations of saltpetre. This picture resembles the arctic wastes, and only rare thunderstorms remind us of life; they form electrical discharges in the air a n d create particles of nitric acid which precipitates in the form of saltpetre in the alpine deserts of the Pamirs and, in still greater cjuantitics, in Atacama Desert in Chile. But let our arrow lead us further across the heights of the Himalayas, and we shall again sec the bright colours of the southern subtropics. Continuous w a r m rains are folIn C e n t r a l T i e n S h a n ( K i r g h i z S.iS.R.) lowed by a dry tropical summer, and most complex chemical reactions occur on the surface of the earth, transporting soluble salts and accumulating enormous layers of red sediments, ores of aluminium, manganese arid iron. Further on, we r u n into the blood-red laterite soils of Bengal. Wild wind-spouts sometimes drive these soils skyward. W e now come to the chocolate-red colours of the soils of tropical I n d i a ; we see gleaming fragments of rocks heated by the sun and covered by a sort of semi-metallic lacquer; only here and there do we observe deposits of " b a t h s " of white and pink salt interspersing this picture of the red soils of the I n d i a n subtropics. I n the south of India, where the emerald-green waters of the Indian Ocean wash the red shores a n d the depths of the sea bring the breath of the volcanic eruptions of basalt, we observe an even livelier and wider picture of migrations of the atoms. Complex chemical formations vary the picture of the sea-bottom at each step, beginning with the shallow waters near the coast with their shells, sea-mosses and corals, and ending with the deep waters with their coral reefs and immense accumulations of coral limestones.
3i3

S u b t r o p i c a l l a n d s c a p e . P a l m alley in t h e city of G a g r a on t h e C a u c a s i a n

coast

In the deep waters, in silt, where the remains of skeletons of organisms accumulate, phosphoric salts are formed in the shape of phosphorite nodules. Radiolarians with their armour of silica brought by rivers construct their open-work shells, while Foraminifera consume barium and calcium in building their skeletons. Su.ch is the speed with which the atoms replace each other from the Arctic to the subtropics, and so great are the processes of migrations of the individual elements on the surface of the earth. What causes this difference in the landscapes between the extreme north and the tropical south? Today we know it is the action of the solar rays, fading, an abundance of moisture, and the high temperatures of the earth. It is also caused by stormily developing organic life, which
3'4

W e a t h e r i n g of clay l a y e r s

requires tremendous amounts of various atoms. Large accumulations of the remains of living cells decompose in the hot southern sun into carbon dioxide, and the carbon dioxide saturates the water with its acid solutions. T h e chemical reactions are m a n y times as fast in the south; we geochemists very well know one of the principal rules of chemistry that in most cases the rate of the usual chemical reactions increases two-fold for every ten degrees rise in temperature. And we begin to understand the immobility and rest of the atoms in the arctic wastes and the intricate paths of their migrations in the subtropics and the deserts of the south. We see that we can now talk about chemical geography, that nature with its diversity of'continents and countries is linked by strong ties to the chemical processes which take place all around. Among the factors determining the course of geochemical processes, m a n himself acquires ever greater importance. In the last hundred years his vigorous activity has been connected with the middle latitudes and he is only gradually beginning to master the wastes of the Arctic and the sand deserts of the south. He brings along his own complex
3'5

chemical reactions and disturbs the natural processes, provoking new movements and migrations of the atoms he needs. T h e new chemical geography was outlined a long time ago when the principles of the soil science were laid down; this science was born in Russia and its f u t u r e is bound u p w i t h the fate of the fertility of the fields. And we recall how in the eighties of last century in a small lecture hall at Petersburg University V. Dokuchayev, the famous "father of soil studies," painted in his lectures fascinating pictures of a new science by pointing out the soil M y s t e r i o u s s t a t u e s h e w n f r o m volcanic zones which cover the earth from r o c k ; E a s t e r I s l a n d in t h e Pacific the polar tundras to the southern desert. At that time his wonderful construction could not yet be translated into the language of chemistry. But now, when chemistry has powerfully invaded the field of geological science, when agrochemists have begun to control the life of plants and the reactions which occur in the soil, when the investigations of geochemists embrace all spheres of atomic migrations, we begin to understand the intricate path travelled by each atom in the different latitudes of our earth. At the same time, the past teaches us that these latitudes changed. T h e life of our earth's crust has varied over a period of nearly 2,000 million years, the location of the poles altered, mountain ranges at first raised their snow-capped summits only in the polar countries, but folding gradually shifted southward, forming such ranges as the Alps and the Himalayas. Large seas engirding the earth also shifted from north to south ; zones changed and with them changed the landscapes. In each place the seas were repeatedly replaced by mountains, the mountains by deserts and by seas again. T h e course of the chemical reactions and migrations of individual atoms, thus, changed in the long geological history of the earth, a n d the
316

soils a n d superficial layers at each given point of the earth are only a reflection of the chemical fates suffered by the atoms in the long periods of the diverse history of the earth. T o d a y we know that everything lives, that everything is fluid, that everything changes in time and space, and that the most mobile thing in nature in constant quest of new paths is the atom, the primordial brick of which the remarkable structures of the world are made, the atom which eternally seeks rest and equilibrium and obeys the principal laws of the natural processes.

F i g u r e of B u d d h a J2 m e t r e s h i g h h e w n f r o m sandstone. Afghanistan

It seeks rest, but does not and never will find it, because in nature there is no rest, there is only eternal matter in eternal motion. . . .

ATOMS IN THE LIVING CELL
We can see with the naked eye that coal is formed from remains of plants. T h e shells of the fossils of marine molluscs not infrequently form layers of limestones. But if we examine limestones, chalk, diatomite and many other socalled sedimentary rocks under the microscope, we shall see that they consist completely of the remains of skeletons of microscopic organisms. In a word, geology has long since recognized the enormous part played by the organisms inhabiting the earth in all the processes which occur in the earth's surface. Living substance takes a more or less active part in such geochemical processes as the formation of rocks, concentration and dispersion of separate chemical elements, precipitation of substances from water, and formation of limestones from lime skeletons of organisms. But by far not all marine organisms have lime skeletons. Some of them, for example sponges, have silicious skeletons. Even more essential, however, is the fact that in the process of life all organisms of the earth, plants and animals, extract, consume or devour and again liberate enormous masses of various substances and pass these substances, as it were, through themselves. This process is especially rapid in the minutest organisms: bacteria, simplest seaweeds, and other lower organisms. It is connected with the enormous rate of their reproduction. T h e y divide every five to ten minutes but do not live long. Estimates show that this process of cell division involves m a n y thousands of times the amounts of substance that is contained at each given
318

moment in all the organisms of the earth, plants and animals, or, as we say, in all the living substance of the planet. It will be remembered that in the light, green plants liberate oxygen from their leaves and absorb carbon dioxide. T h e oxygen of the air, thus formed, oxidizes the plant remains and some rocks, and is consumed by animals during respiration. In plants, carbon dioxide is transformed into carbohydrates, proteins, and other compounds. Imagine for a moment what would happen if all organisms disappeared from the surface of the earth, from the seas and oceans, from the plains and mountains. T h e oxygen would be combined with organic substance and would vanish from the atmosphere. T h e composition of the latter would change. There would be no more microscopic marine organisms with lime skeletons and, consequently, no more layers of limestone and chalk would be formed, and chalk mountains would no longer rise. T h e face of the earth would change completely. T h e geochemical activity of organisms varies extraordinary. Different organisms may take part in the most diverse processes. I n order to ascertain what geochemical part organisms play, we must first of all know their chemical composition. Organisms build their bodies entirely from the substances they, in some way or other, extract from their environment—from water, soil and air. It has long since been established that water —H z O—is the chief constituent of all organisms, that the latter contain an average of about 80 per cent of it and that the plants have a little more water than the animals. Consequently, oxygen constitutes the greater part of the organisms by mass. Carbon plays an uncommonly important part in the structure of the bodies of organisms. It forms many thousands of various

The organisms hkemefrom carbon dioxide

G e n e r a l view o t oolitic m a n g a n e s e ore

3'9

M i c r o s c o p i c p i c t u r e of t h e s t r u c t u r e of oolitic m a n g a n e s e ores. P h o t o g r a p h e d in reflected light

compounds with hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur and phosphorus which in their turn build the proteins, fats, carbohydrates and the bodies of organisms. Carbon dioxide is the main source of these carbon compounds in living substance. T h e organisms, furthermore, contain considerable amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur in the form of complex organic compounds. Finally, the organisms always* contain calcium, especially in their skeletons, potassium, iron and other chemical elements. At first it was believed that the ten or twelve elements found in the organisms in greater quantities were of exceptional importance to all organisms.

It turned out later that there were organisms which in addition to the most frequently encountered ten or twelve chemical elements concentrated now iron, now manganese, now barium, now strontium and now vanadium, as well as m a n y other rare chemical elements. It has thus been found, for example, that silicon plays an important part in the life of flint sponges, microscopic radiolarians and diatomite seaweeds whose skeletons are loaned from silicon oxide. Iron bacteria concentrate iron in their bodies. Bacteria, which similarly concentrate manganese and sulphur, have also been discovered. Barium and strontium have been found instead of calcium in the skeletons of some marine organisms. Certain organisms, for example marine invertebrate tunicates, extract and accumulate atoms of vanadium from sea-water and sea-silt which contain only negligible traces of this element. After the death of these organisms, vanadium concentrates in marine sediments.
320

Other organisms as, for example, seaweeds, extract from sea-water the iodine which the latter contains in only millionths of one percent. T h e iodine is then deposited with the remains of the seaweeds on the sea bottom. Iodine-containing mineral waters are later formed in the rock composed of these deposits. We extract iodine from ground waters by drillingdeep into the rock where there was once the sea.

A m m o n i t e shell t h a t has c h a n g c d

into

mar-

casitc (FeS 2 ) m i n e r a l . E n v i r o n s of t h e city of T h e geochemical role of U l y a n o v s k on t h e V o l g a these concentrator-orga nisms is enormous. T h e more perfect the techniques of investigating the composition of organisms, the greater the n u m b e r of chemical elements we find in them, even if in very small quantities, to be sure. At first it was even assumed that the silver, rubidium, cadmium and other chemical elements found in organisms were only accidental impurities, but it has now been firmly established that the organisms contain practically all the chemical elements. T h e only question is, how much of these elements the different organisms contain. It is precisely this question that occupies the scientists' minds today.

We can say beforehand that the composition of the organisms does not in any way reiterate the composition of their environment—the rocks, waters and gases put together. For example, the soils and rocks contain considerable amounts of titanium, thorium, barium and other chemical elements, but we find many thousands of times as little titanium in the organisms as we do in the soils, etc. O n the other hand, the soils and waters contain little carbon, phosphorus, potassium and other chemical elements which accumulate in organisms in much greater quantities. From the geochemical point of view it has now become clear that the main mass of the body of organisms is built of the chemical elements,
21
321

MICROELEMENTS

which under the conditions of the earth's surlace, i.e., the biosphere (the region where the organisms live on our planet) form mobile compounds or gases. In point of fact, C 0 2 , N 2 , O., and H , 0 are all mobile gases or liquids accessible to the organisms in the process of their life. Iodine, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, sulphur, silicon and many others easily form water-soluble compounds. But then titanium, barium, zirconium and thorium do not form water-soluble and, consequently, easily shifting compounds in the biosphere though they are found in the soils and rocks in sufficient quantities. They are less accessible or entirely inaccessible to organisms which do not accumulate them but contain them in unproportionallv small amounts. T h e organisms also contain very little of the chemical elements of which there is not enough in the biosphere, for example, radium and lithium. T h e chemical elements found in organisms in very small quantities, about hundredths of one per cent and less, are often called microelements. It has now been recognized that the microelements play a very important physiological role. Many microelements form part of physiologically important substances of organisms: for instance, iron is a constituent of the haemoglobin of the blood, iodine forms part of the hormone of the thyroid gland of animals, and copper and zinc are components of animal and plant ferments. We could draw u p a m a p of the anatomical structure of organisms indicating the organs and tissues in which the chemical elements are concentrated. But we arc now concerned only with the geochemical role of the organisms. We must agree that various organisms discharge different geochemical functions depending on their ability to concentrate particular chemical elements or, in other words, depending on their chemical-element composition. " C a l c i u m " organisms from whose skeletons limestones are formed also participate in the geochemical history of calcium in the biosphere; the organisms that concentrate silicon, vanadium and iodine play an important part in the history of these atoms. We are facing the problem of studying the influence of organisms on the geochemical history ol various atoms in the biosphere, of estimating this influence and of utilizing it.
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It is already possible to find deposits of metals by observing the nature of the vegetation in a given place and by finding the plants known as the concentrators of these metals. An ore lying under a soil cannot help polluting the soil. T h e content of nickel, cobalt, copper and zinc increases in such soil and, consequently, also increases in plants. We now, therefore, analyze the content of these elements in plants. If the content is high, we dig ditches and bore holes. It is in this manner that some zinc, nickel, molybdenum and other deposits were discovered. Organisms-—plants and aniM a n is m a d e of the s a m e chemical ele mals - have grown "accustomed" m e n t s as inorganic n a t u r e to certain concentrations of particular chemical elements in the environment, i.e., in the waters, soils and rocks. Wherever there happens to be lessor, on the contrary, more of them, the organisms respond by a change in form and growth. Iodine deficiency in the soils, waters and foods in some mountainous regions is responsible for endemic goitre in m a n and animals, while calcium deficiency causes the bones to be brittle, etc. All this shows the close interdependence between the so-called dead nature and living substance. T h e y are connected by the common history of the atoms of the'chemical elements. T h e better and more extensively we know the history of the migration of chemical elements atoms—on earth, the clearer and more precisely will we know the geochemical activity of living organisms and for this we must know, first of all, their quantitative chemical-element composition.
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ATOMS IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND
I n t r a c i n g t h e h i s t o r y of t h e d i s c o v e r y of t h e c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s , w e r u n i n t o s t r a n g e a n d s u r p r i s i n g t h i n g s . M a n l e a r n e d a b o u t t h e first e l e m e n t s in p a s s i n g , w i t h o u t t h i n k i n g of t h e m , w i t h o u t e v e n s u s p e c t i n g t h a t h e h a d mastered something which to a keen m i n d would reveal the most i m p o r t a n t secrets of n a t u r e . T h e i d e a a c q u i r e d i n p r a c t i c e t h a t s i m p l e s u b s t a n c e s lie a t t h e basis of t h e s t r u c t u r e of all m a t t e r p e n e t r a t e d i n t o m a n ' s c o n s c i o u s n e s s slowly a n d w i t h g r e a t d i f f i c u l t y . Alchemists did not k n o w a n y m e t h o d s for distinguishing a simple body from a complex body, b u t they knew metals a n d certain substances, f o r e x a m p l e , a r s e n i c a n d a n t i m o n y . T h e h e i g h t s of a l c h e m i c a l w i s d o m a r e set f o r t h in t h e f o l l o w i n g n o t e of a n a l c h e m i s t :
L i k e t h e p l a n e t s u p in M e t a l s also C o p p e r , i r o n , silver, heaven,

number'seven; gold, mould

T i n a n d lead, to smelt a n d

C o s m o s g a v e us; listen f u r t h e r : Fiery s u l p h u r was their father. A n d their mother—mcrcury; me! T h a t , m y s o n , is k n o w n t o

F o r s o m e t i m e t h e a l c h e m i s t s , a n d l a t e r also c h e m i s t s , c a l l e d t h e m e t a l s b y t h e n a m e s of p l a n e t s : g o l d — S u n , s i l v e r — M o o n , q u i c k s i l v e r — M e r cury, c o p p e r — V e n u s , i r o n - Mars, tin—Jupiter, l e a d — S a t u r n . Arsenic a n d a n t i m o n y were not considered metals, t h o u g h their properties to o x i d a t e a n d s u b l i m a t e w h e n h e a t e d w e r e v e r y well k n o w n . Regrettably the alchemists often camouflaged their recipes by c o n g r u o u s a n d s o m e t i m e s h a r d l y u n d e r s t a n d a b l e allegories.
324

in-

C h e m i c a l l a b o r a t o r y in t h e 18th c e n t u r y . T h e t a b l e b e l o w shows t h e c o n v e n t i o n a l s y m b o l s u s e d by scientists of t h a t t i m e t o d e s i g n a t e v a r i o u s chemical e l e m e n t s . T h e t o p s y m b o l in t h e first column s t a n d s f o r a c i d ; t h e symbol a t t h e b o t t o m ef the s e t o n d c o l u m n signifies g o l d , ctc.

Here, for example, we have the "philosophical hancl of alchemists." I n the palm of the hand you see a fish—symbol of mercury, and fire— symbol of sulphur. A fish in fire — mercury in sulphur—was, according to the alchemists, the primary source of all types of substance. T h e five main salts sprang from the combination of these elements like the fingers grew out of the h a n d ; the symbols of these elements are at the fingertips: the crown and moon were the symbols of saltpetre; the six-pointed star represented iron vitriol ; the sun signified a m m o n i u m chloride; the lantern indicated a l u m ; the key stood for common salt. It is now clear that when the alchemist wrote: " W h e n you take the king you must boil h i m . . . " he meant saltpetre, and when he put a " p o u n d of the long finger" into his retort, he was thinking of a m m o n i u m chloride.
325

1775

T h e alchemists also knew each metal had its respective " e a r t h " or "lime" and were able to extract these "limes" (or as we now say "oxides") from all metals by means of acids. But they thought these "limes" were the simpler bodies, while the metals were compounds of "limes" with "phlogiston," a special volatile fire-princ.iple. It required the genius and industry of Lomonosov and Lavoisier to prove that it was, contrariwise, "mercurial lime" that was a complex body consisting of mercury and oxygen, the gas just discovered by Priestley, and that the weight of this gas exactly equalled the addition in weight of the "mercurial e a r t h . " T h e time of this discovery (176375) is rightfully considered the beginning of modern chemistry and of the collapse of the alchemical fantasies which had long impeded the scientific study of nature. Several dozen elements were already known by this time: Brandt discovered phosphorus as early as 1669, while cobalt and nickel were discovered in the middle of the 18th century, and m a n learned to produce zinc from the "zinc earth." Finally, in America in 1748, Antonio Ulloa described a new metal, which looked like .silver and which turned out to be platinum. But a real revision of all "simple" bodies began only in the last quarter of the 18th century and in the beginning of the 19th century. Oxygen and chlorine were discovered in 1774, while in hydrolyzing water by the current of galvanic cells ten years later Cavendish discovered hydrogen and ascertained the composition of water. T h e subsequent discoveries of elements proceeded regularly: new natural bodies were broken u p into their constituents. New elements were found in a n u m b e r of cases. Manganese, molybdenum, tungsten, uranium, zirconium and other elements were discovered in this manner. In 1808, Davy perfected electrolysis which showed its potentialities in the hands of the Russian scicruist Yakoby who boosted the current and learnt to protect the electrolysis products from oxidation by means of kerosene and mineral oils. It was thus that the alkali metals were obtained in the pure state; potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, barium and strontium were thus C h e m i c a l utensils n u d e of t a n t a l u m . It discovered. Fourteen elements were is as d u r a b l e as p l a t i n u m a n d c h e a p e r
326

discovered in the fourteen years, between 1804 and 1818 (iodine, cadmium, selenium and lithium were discovered in addition to those we have already mentioned). These were followed by bromine, aluminium, thorium. vanadium and Furnacc ruthenium. T h e n came a break; the old methods had already exhausted their potentialities required.

for smelting tungsten

ores

and

new

methods

were

Only when spectral analysis was discovered in 1859, did the scientists find new elements; these were elements closely related in properties to those formerly studied and could not be distinguished from them by the old scientific methods. T h e elements discovered were: rubidium, cesium, thallium, indium, erbium, terbium and some others. When D. Mendeleyev discovered his famous law in 1868 he already knew 60 elements. From then on science knew of the existence of particular elements. It turned out that each element had its own place in the Periodic T a b l e and that the total n u m b e r of all elements was limited, while the vacant boxes represented the as yet undiscovered elements. Mendeleyev predicted the principal chemical and physical properties of three of them—eka-aluminium (box No. 31), ekasilic.on i b o x N o . 32) and ekaboron (boxNo. 21). His prediction was brilliantly confirmed when these elements were discovered. Ekaboron was named scandium, eka-aluminium was given the n a m e of gallium and ekasilicon was called germanium. You must not think, however, that m a n learned about the elements frequently encountered in the earth's crust first and about the rare ones later. Nothing of the sort. For example, there is very little gold, copper and tin in the earth's crust, but at the same time these were the first metals m a n had learned about and used for various purposes. Moreover, the earth's crust contains an average of several millionths of one per cent tin, a few ten-thousandths of one per cent copper and only one or two ten-millionths of one per cent gold.
32 7

/he first metals man has ever

T h e m o s t a b u n d a n t e l e m e n t s i n t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t as, f o r e x a m p l e , a l u m i n i u m w h i c h c o n s t i t u t e s 7.5 p e r c e n t of it w e r e d i s c o v e r e d v e r y l a t e . A l u m i n i u m w a s still c o n s i d e r e d a r a r e m e t a l as r e c e n t l y as t h e b e g i n n i n g of t h e 2 0 t h c e n t u r y . T h e r e a s o n is t h a t it all d e p e n d s u p o n h o w easily t h e m e t a l is f o r m e d in its n a t i v e s t a t e a n d h o w f r e q u e n t l y a c c u m u l a t i o n s in w h i c h this m e t a l d o m i n a t e s , i.e., s o - c a l l e d " d e p o s i t s , " a r e e n c o u n t e r e d . I t w a s t h e t e n d e n c y of t h e m e t a l s t o a c c u m u l a t e i n o n e p l a c e , t h a t f a c i l i t a t e d t h e i r d i s c o v e r y a n d u t i l i z a t i o n f o r t h e n e e d s of m a n . As e a c h n e w e l e m e n t is d i s c o v e r e d c h e m i s t s a r e t h e first t o b e g i n s t u d y i n g its p r o p e r t i e s in t h e l a b o r a t o r y . T h i s is, so t o s p e a k , t h e first a c q u a i n t a n c e . A t this t i m e c h e m i s t s look f o r t h e p e c u l i a r i t i e s of t h e e l e m e n t s , f o r its d i s t i n g u i s h i n g , o r i g i n a l f e a t u r e s . I s n ' t it c u r i o u s , f o r e x a m p l e , t h a t t h e specific g r a v i t y of l i t h i u m is 0.53, so t h a t this m e t a l floats e v e n in b e n z i n e ? O s m i u m , o n t h e o t h e r h a n d , h a s a specific g r a v i t y of 22.5, so t h a t it is 4 0 t i m e s as h e a v y as l i t h i u m . Is it n o t s t r a n g e t h a t g a l l i u m m e l t s a t o n l y 30° C . , b u t t h a t it c a n h a r d l y b e b r o u g h t t o b o i l i n g , b e c a u s e it boils a t 2,300° C . a n d this is well b e y o n d t h e h i g h t e m p e r a t u r e s o r d i n a r i l y u s e d in e n g i n e e r i n g ? " W h a t is so c u r i o u s o r s t r a n g e a b o u t i t ? " y o u will ask. L e t m e t r y a n d tell y o u . I shall tell y o u a b o u t g a l l i u m first. W h e n e n g i n e e r s a n d c h e m i s t s use h i g h t e m p e r a t u r e s i n l a b o r a t o r i e s a n d a t f a c t o r i e s , t h e y a l w a y s w a n t to k n o w t h e t e m p e r a t u r e t o w h i c h t h e m a t e r i a l o r t h e a r t i c l e a r e h e a t e d . O f c o u r s e , t h e y m u s t m e a s u r e t h e t e m p e r a t u r e , first of all. But t h e t r o u b l e is t h a t t e m p e r a t u r e is easily m e a s u r e d o n l y u p t o 360° C . ; it is m u c h h a r d e r t o m e a s u r e h i g h e r t e m p e r a t u r e s b e c a u s e m e r c u r y boils a t 360° C . a n d m e r c u r y t h e r m o m e t e r s j u s t w o n ' t d o . B u t h e r e w e h a v e g a l l i u m , w h i c h will d o . I f w e t a k e r e f r a c t o r y q u a r t z - g l a s s a n d fill the thermometer with molten gallium, we can measure a temperature of n e a r l y 1,700° C . , a n d g a l l i u m d o e s n ' t e v e n feel like b o i l i n g . If w e find m o r e r e f r a c t o r y glass, w e shall b e a b l e to m e a s u r e t e m p e r a t u r e s of u p t o 2,000° C . N o w a b o u t w e i g h t . W e i g h t is t h e f o r c e w i t h w h i c h a b o d y is a t t r a c t e d to t h e e a r t h . W e i g h t resists m o t i o n , s p e e d a n d a s c e n t to u n k n o w n h e i g h t s . But m a n w a n t s t o m o v e fast a l o n g t h e e a r t h a n d t o fly in t h e a i r like a b i r d . F o r this w e m u s t c o n q u e r g r a v i t y , a n d m a n s e a r c h e s f o r light a n d strong structures, for light a n d strong materials. T w o metals h a v e
328

1500°

proved especially suitable: aluminium with a specific gravity of 2.7 and magnesium, whose specific gravity is only 1.74. Most of the parts of a modern plane are made of aluminium or, to be exact, from its alloys with copper, zinc, magnesium and other metals. However, aluminium has not won its dominating position all at once, but in a stubborn struggle for the improvement of its qualities: strength, hardness, resilience, and resistance to fire and oxidizers. When the difficulties of obtaining metallic aluminium were overcome, it conquered the kitchen first. Light and clean unoxidizable pots and pans, spoons and cups used u p its first reserves. I n the beginning engineering had made no use of it; it seemed this soft, not particularly strong, nonsoldering and fusible metal could not be good for anything else. Aluminium conquered the world only when duraluminium, a hard alloy was produced by "kitchen methods." Various metals were added to aluminium in the crucible one after another, and each new alloy was tested for strength and other qualities.

M o s c o w . K r y m s k y B r i d g e b u i l t of

duralumin 329

Nobody could understand at that time why four per cent copper, 0.5 per cent magnesium and insignificant admixtures of other metals changed the soft and pliable aluminium into duraluminium, a strone metal capable of being tempered like steel. T h e remarkable properties of duraluminium do not manifest themselves at once, and this considerably facilitates and simplifies its machining. After tempering duraluminium remains soft for a few more days. During this time it "gathers strength" while the copper particles, which form the skeleton of duraluminium, shift within the alloy. But there are other alloys which are in some respects even better than duraluminium. Such, for example, is the Russian kolchugaluminium which is stronger than duraluminium. T h e production of duraluminium and other light alloys is of tremendous importance to all types of transport. Cars of the underground railway or tramcars built of aluminium weigh one-third less than those made of steel. In the steel trarncar there are 400 kilograms of dead weight per passenger place, but with the metal parts of the tram m a n u factured from aluminium the weight per passenger place is reduced to 280 kilograms. A few words must here be said about magnesium. T h e history of this metal is very curious; 'we can say it was discovered twice. It was discovered for the first time by Davy and since then it had been considered one of the most useless metals for over 100 years. It was used only for Christmas tree pyrotechnics in the form of ribbons and powder. But in the 20th century it was found that this " t o y " metal possessed such remarkable properties that its utilization might cause a veritable revolution in various branches of engineering. Aluminium has given m a n real wings. But it is not enough for m a n just to fly; he must fly as far as possible. And if the weight of the metal of which the plane is built is reduced by, say, 20 per cent it means a n extra ton of fuel and, consequently, additional thousands of kilometres in the air. But where can we find a lighter metal than aluminium? This is when m a n remembered magnesium because of its specific gravity of 1.74, i.e., 35 per cent lower than that of aluminium. Magnesium, however, does not have the qualities required for a structural metal, i.e., it is not strong enough and does not resist oxidation; it reacts even with boiling water, it deprives the latter of its oxygen and is transformed into a white powder magnesium oxide. In the air it burns better than wood. Designers and chemists did not lose heart, however,
33

for they knew that alloys were the thing that would help them find the metal with the requisite properties. As a matter of fact, it has turned out that the slightest additions of copper, aluminium and zinc rob magnesium of its combustibility and impart to it the strength of duraluminium. All the alloys containing over 40 per cent magnesium are called "electrons." I n addition to magnesium, the electrons include aluminium, zinc, manganese and copper.

l"urnacc for molybdenum

production

of

metallic

And now in the 2 0 t h century magnesium was discovered for the second time and it immediately won a permanent place as an aircraft-building metal. It is especially widely used in aircraft engines. Their parts made of magnesium alloys are very strong and tireless. Do metals ever tire? Unfortunately, they do. By contracting and expanding hundreds of thousands of times a steel spring loses its resiliency, becomes brittle and breaks - it "tires." In "aging" the shaft of a motor cracks. Engineering has discovered that some alloys are "tireless"; in these alloys the atoms of the different metals fit each other so well that despite all the shocks they get they never come apart. Such are the magnesium alloys. Naturally, it is not only aircraft-building where magnesium can be utilized. It is also widely used in automobile-building. Machine-tools arid machine parts made of magnesium alloys are notably strong and light; they are from five to six times as light as the same things made of steel and arc as strong, and sometimes even stronger. Magnesium is a very a b u n d a n t metal in the earth's crust and is found everywhere. Like iron it easily accumulates in large quantities and is not hard to mine. Considerable amounts of it are contained in seawater and in salt-lakes, for instance, in the Sivash waters off the Crimean coast. T h e principal magnesium ore is carnallite ( K C l ' M g C l 2 ' 6 H 2 0 ) , and the Soviet Union has plenty of it. In the Solikamsk deposits large reserves of it lie in layers 100 to 200 metres deep. In mines carnallite is blasted by ammonal, cut and then brought to the surface.
33'

T e s t i n g tungsten laboratory

contacts

in

a

special

O n the surface it takes a lot of work to separate the magnesium from the chlorine with which it is very closely bound. For this purpose carnallite must be melted and direct current passed through it. T h e electricity breaks the bonds between the magnesium and chlorine, and the white metal runs in lively streamlets into the moulds.

T h e time has now come for magnesium to be extracted from seawater which contains 3.5 per cent salts <vml of which magnesium constitutes one-tenth. O n e cubic metre of sea-water, thus, contains 3.5 kg.' of metallic magnesium. The extraction of magnesium is very simple: filtered sea-water is poured into reservoirs and slacked lime is added with the result that magnesium hydroxide precipitates in the form of lees; the water is then poured off. T h e precipitate is dried on filters, neutralized by hydrochloric acid and completely dehydrated. T h e magnesium chloride pbtained is electrolyzed in a molten state at approximately 700° C., like carnallite. This is all there is to the process. But magnesium is not only a structural metal. Engineering has not forgotten its ability to burn and develop an enormous temperature of up to 3,500° C. Magnesium is an important constituent of special bronzes, while magnesium and aluminium dust forms the most powerful mixture for incendiary bombs. Industry needs a lot of magnesium and the latter has a brilliant future. But let us come back to aircraft. There is one more "flying" metal, and aircraft-builders are only just beginning to make use of it. This metal is beryllium. It has a specific gravity of 1.84, but it is stabler and "stronger" than magnesium. Beryllium alloys excel all the alloys used in aircraft-building until now. Tools made of these alloys work noiselessly and produce no sparks. Beryllium enhances the qualities of magnesium alloys and makes them particularly strong and unoxidizable. A very slight addition of beryllium to magnesium does away with the necessity of protecting metallic magnesium against oxidation during teeming.
332

But the question arises: aren't there any still lighter alloys? Let us recall the metal known as lithium. Its specific gravity is 0.53, i.e., like that of cork, but added to aluminium and magnesium alloys in small amounts it makes them especially hard. It is a matter of regret that no stable alloys with a large amount of lithium have been found as yet. But they are worth looking for because lithium is an a b u n d a n t metal; there is as much of it in the earth's crust as there is zinc, and it occurs in large quantities in certain deposits in the form of spoduinene minerals and in lithium micas. Hence, if the alloys of lithium and beryllium, for instance, were found suitable lithium could be procured in sufficient quantities. T h e studies of lithium alloys have not brought any constructive results as yet, and these alloys still constitute an important problem of the day. Lithium is found in mineral waters and physicians ascribe especially curative properties to lithium-rich waters (as, for example, the Vichy waters in France). But the prospects for obtaining a light, durable and non-oxidizable metal for aircraft are still the most tempting. However, the light metals and alloys arc still far from having replaced the ferrous metals iron, steel and their alloys—in the .transport and in many other branches of industry. W e shall now say a few words about these "old-timers" who are still hale and hearty, however, and who produce ever new alloys of excellent quality.

i I am also a "flying" \ ' metal! J

O c e a n liner with hull b u i l t of m o l y b d e n u m

steel

I also have aff real future in aviation/

If we take into account all the complex, so-called alloyed steels, we shall see that they consist of a series of closely related metals-—iron, titanium, nickel, cobalt, chromium, vanadium, manganese, molybden u m and tungsten. All these alloys are basically "steels," i.e., they consist of carbonaceous iron whose qualities have been essentially improved by "alloying" or by the addition of a rare metal. By successively replacing larger and larger parts of the iron with rare metals technologists have produced alloys which no longer contain any iron. Such, for instance, is stellite which consists of tungsten, chromium and cobalt. This alloy is the father of the now well-known superhard alloys which have given engineering the unprecedented metal-cutting speeds, first, of 70 to 80 and now of hundreds of metres per minute. Tungsten has given rise to superhard alloys and the powerful technique of metal-cutting. Tungsten and molybdenum have produced hundreds of new grades of uncommonly strong, fireproof, armour, spring, shell, armour-piercing and other steels. There is scarcely a branch of engineering that has not undergone anyradical changes connected with the discovery of the properties of such rare metals as tungsten, molybdenum, etc.

C l i m a x , m o l y b d e n u m d e p o s i t s in t h e R o c k y M o u n t a i n s . H e r e layers of d e n u m a r e d e p o s i t e d in g r a n i t e s . R i g h t - c o n c e n t r a t i o n f a c t o r y

molyb-

334

Incidentally, they have already outlived the term " r a r e . " If we consider their content in the earth's crust we shall find there is twice as much molybdenum and seven times as much tungsten as there is lead in it. T h e n why call them rare? In industry they are also becoming common, while their output is increasingly growing and is catching up with that of the usual " n o n - r a r e " metals. Steel alloys containing molybdenum are used for the manufacture of gun barrels and gun-carriages. Manganese-molybdenum steel is used in armour and in armour-piercing shells. Automobile and aircraft designers make three basic demands on metal: m a x i m u m resilience, great viscosity and high resistance to protracted shaking and frequent shocks. Increased molybdenum consumption in recent years, especially in combination with chromium and nickel, is due precisely to its extensive use in shafts, connecting rods, support machinery, aircraft engines and pipes. High-quality grey cast iron is another form of molybdenum consumption. A negligible addition of 0.25 per cent molybdenum enhances the physical properties of the cast iron, particularly, its resistance to bending and tension, as well as its hardness. Considerable amounts of tungsten and molybdenum are used by electrical engineering in the form of thin wires in vacuum valves. Electric bulb filaments are made of tungsten. Tungsten melts at 3,350° C. which is the highest melting point among the metals. Carbon is the only element that melts at a still higher temperature, i.e., 3,500° C. T w o elements have melting points very close to that of tungsten: tantalum—3,030° C. and rhenium- 3,160° C, T h e little anchors that hold the incandescent tungsten filaments in electric bulbs are made of molybdenum whose melting temperature is 2,600° C. T h u s we can see that it is not enough to discover an element; we must study it and find the quality in it that is particularly valuable for manufacture; the element is then discovered for the second time, as it were, and it becomes useful and necessary. Take, for example, the tungsten contacts in automobile motors where a tungsten plate o. 1 millimetre thick ensures the electric contact in the interrupter and works faultlessly for hundreds of hours. Isn't the example of niobium instructive? Niobium was considered a useless element that "polluted" tantalum together with which it is ustlally found. When it was discovered, however, that steel with an
335

admixture of niobium was an excellent material to be used in electric welding of steel, because it produced a n unusually strong seam, niobium became as necessary as tantalum. There is no end to the introduction of ever new elements into N i o b i u m in w a t c h case industry, nor will there ever be, because technical progress is unlimited. Both chemists and geochemists play an honourable part in it. But how does technical progress affect the earth which provides all the substances required by engineering? M a n strives to reshape the earth's crust in his own way taking all he wants from it and paying no heed to the fact that whatever he takes is irreplaceable. Isn't m a n exhausting the earth? These are the questions that occur to us when we watch the general development of mankind. There is one more circumstance that impels us to pose this question and that is the ever increasing amounts of useful products annually extracted from the interior of the earth. A mining engineer told me he had once stopped at a little house near a mountain of magnesite. Within two or three weeks the mountain vanished: it had been hauled away to a cement plant. Suffice it to look at the mountains of slags thrown out by our iron and steel mills to understand that man's activity is a geological factor that is reshaping the earth's . crust.

M i n i n g o r e by e x c a v a t o r 336

O n e of the most important problems of the world chemical economy is the fate of carbon in which m a n has especially vigorously interfered. Carbon is distributed in nature in three forms: in organic substance, in accumulations of coal and oil and in an oxidized state, i.e., in the form of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and in the waters of the rivers and oceans. But the greatest amount of carbon dioxide is found in combination with calcium in hard limestones. T h e atmosphere contains more than 2 X io 12 tons of carbon dioxide and, consequently, over 600,000 million tons of carbon. M a n annually extracts more than 1,000 million tons of coal and hundreds of millions of tons of oil. H e burns both, transforming them into carbon and carbon dioxide. More than 3,000 million tons of carbon dioxide is, thus, annually liberated into the atmosphere and in 200 to 300 years its quantity should have doubled if it were not for the contrary processes, i.e., its dissolution in the ocean and its consumption by plants.

R o t a t i n g f u r n a c c f o r c a l c i n a t i n g c a r b o n m a t e r i a l s ; i n s t a l l e d in t h e e l e c t r o d e shop of an aluminium plant 22

337

By utilizing the carbon of the coal layers man aids in dispersing this element on so large a scale that his activity assumes the scope of real geological transformations. N o less imperiously does m a n interfere in the fate of metals; he has about 1,000 million tons of iron and iron wares in circulation; the metal is in an unstable native form and it is being oxidized. During a certain period of time oxidation depreciates nearly as m u c h iron as is produced during the same period so that the accumulation of iron cannot outstrip its dispersion. With gold the situation is somewhat better: about one ton of it is used up annually for reagents and for gold-plating and is dispersed by wear, which is a lot less than is produced (about 600 tons). A n d such metals as lead, tin and zinc are extracted by m a n from accidental natural accumulations in the earth's crust, the so-called deposits, in order to become irretrievably dispersed in the process of their utilization. Man's agricultural and engineering activities are quite comparable in their scope to the influence of the elemental processes. T h e tilling of the superficial layer of the earth (soil) for agricultural needs is of tremendous geochemical importance since more than 3,000 cubic kilometres of it are annually exposed to the vigorous action of the atmospheric waters and the air. T h e cultivated plants take an enormous amount of mineral substances out of the soil, namely, 10 million tons of phosphoric anhydride and 30 million tons of nitrogen and potassium. This is m a n y times the amount introduced into the soil during fertilization. T h e extracted elements enter the cycle of substances in the animal world and are finally dispersed. By his agricultural and technical activities m a n disperses substances. More than one cubic kilometre of rocks is annually extracted from all mines. This figure will have to be doubled or even trebled if we add the construction of dams, irrigation canals, etc. T h e amount of slags annually produced by all of the world's metallurgical furnaces probably also comes close to one cubic kilometre. A n d just think of the waste-products of the chemical industry brought out by man on to the surface of the earth! If we compare these figures with the 15 cubic kilometres of sediments annually carried away by all the rivers from the earth's surface we shall
338

L a b o r a t o r y for t e s t i n g t h e physical p r o p e r t i e s of m i n e r a l s

have to acknowledge that h u m a n activity is as serious a factor as that of the rivers. And what about the art of building and the quantities of stones and cement consumed by it annually! T h e intensive construction of cities in the U.S.S.R. uses u p more than 1,000 million tons of various building materials every year. M a n is reshaping nature at an ever increasing rate. If we consider the total reserves of metal in the earth we shall find them large enough to make any talk about exhausting them premature. But not all of these reserves can be m a d e use of because industry can actually avail itself only of the rich accumulations of any particular metal, and there are not so m a n y of them. T h e real reserves of many metals scarcely meet the requirements of industry. Legions of geological prospectors and geochemists must therefore search hard for metals in order to satisfy the ever growing industrial needs.
22

P A R T

F O U R

PAST AND FUTURE OF G E O C H E M I S T R Y

FROM THE HISTORY OF GEOCHEMICAL IDEAS
I d o not w a n t the readers to get the impression t h a t everything is c l e a r , e v e r y t h i n g is k n o w n , a n d t h a t all e l e m e n t s h a v e b e e n disc o v e r e d . I s h o u l d n ' t w a n t t h e m t o feel t h a t w e h a v e a c q u i r e d o u r k n o w l e d g e w i t h o u t a n y difficulties, t h a t t h e s c i e n c e of t h e c h e m i s t r y of s u b s t a n c e h a s g r o w n u p of itself w i t h o u t a s t r u g g l e o r s e a r c h e s , w i t h o u t h a r d a n d persistent work. N o , m y f r i e n d s , t h e p a s t of s c i e n c e t e a c h e s us t h a t t h o u s a n d s of p e o p l e h a v e s t r u g g l e d f o r its t r u t h s f o r m a n y h u n d r e d s of y e a r s , t h a t they h a v e m a d e mistakes, searched for n e w ways, worked d a y a n d n i g h t in old b a s e m e n t laboratories, f o u g h t i g n o r a n c e a n d the oppression o f t h e c h u r c h a n d m o n a s t e r i e s a n d b a t t l e d f o r a n u n d e r s t a n d i n g of nature. A n d this u n d e r s t a n d i n g h a s n o t c o m e all a t o n c e . I r e m e m b e r s t a n d i n g o n t h e s h o r e of L a k e V u d j a r v o n K o l a P e n i n s u l a . B e f o r e us l a y a city, a n d a u t o m o b i l e s k e p t r u n n i n g d o w n t h e h i g h w a y t o w a r d s t h e city. I t w a s o n l y w i t h d i f f i c u l t y t h a t I w a s a b l e t o i m a g i n e t h e w i l d a n d f o r b i d d i n g t u n d r a , a l m o s t lifeless a n d cold as I h a d seen it f o r t h e first t i m e j u s t t e n y e a r s b e f o r e . L o o k i n g a t t h e city w i t h its l a r g e p o p u l a t i o n , t h e s t r a i g h t w i d e h i g h w a y s a n d t h e s p e e d i n g lorries, t h e n e w c o m e r c a n hardly b e l i e v e t h a t o n l y r e c e n t l y t h i s w a s t h e r e m o t e t u n d r a . B u t h a s it occurred to h i m that explorers w a n d e r e d a r o u n d here searching f o r o r e s a n d m i n e r a l s o n l y a f e w y e a r s a g o ? H a s h e t h o u g h t of t h e h a r d w o r k a n d d e p r i v a t i o n s t h a t t h e prospecting for t h e r e s o u r c e s , c o n c e a l e d i n t h e s e v e r e t u n d r a , r e q u i r e d i n o r d e r to call this r e g i o n t o life?
343

I t is t h e s a m e i n s c i e n c e ; w h e n w e s t u d y t h e a c h i e v e m e n t s o f m o d e r n scientific t h o u g h t a n d v i e w the t e m p t i n g prospects of the near future from the conquered heights, w e forget the hardships, the time a n d s a c r i f i c e it t o o k to clear u p the d e n s e forests o f ignorance. the

T h e s c i e n c e w h i c h w e c a l l g e o c h e m i s t r y is t h e h i s t o r y o f t h e c h e m i c a l elements of our planet. not only the idea and It could atomic take final shape only of late of matter features. has when a of the has structure become

reality, b u t w h e n science has also penetrated d e e p l y into the structure of the atom learned its e s s e n t i a l M o d e r n geochemistry dates from the beginning of the 20th century. I n a b r o a d sense, h o w e v e r , g e o c h e m i c a l ideas, c o n c e r n e d with c h e m i c a l elements, ores a n d chemical minerals, c o m p o s i t i o n o f m i n e r a l s a n d t h e signs for f i n d i n g h a v e existed centuries. stages formed and developed in the course of the

last three or four Mineralogy the In basis of find

and chemistry, which have gone through m a n y geochemistry. for e x i s t e n c e man learned as e a r l y as

in their d e v e l o p m e n t before r e a c h i n g their present state, h a v e the struggle

pre-historic already the

time to

the stones he could

use for w e a p o n s a n d

tools;

then he w a s very m u c h impressed b y the b e a u t y of the precious stones. At a higher stage of development m a n began to w o n d e r about or so-called c o s m o g o n i e s , and gradually replaced began to c o m e into being and were by more positive by such ideas. The most as e a r t h a n d h o w it h a d c o m e t o b e . L e g e n d s a b o u t t h e o r i g i n o f t h e w o r l d , slowly well civilized

ancient peoples on the Mediterranean developed conceptions Lucretius. expressed Aristotle a n d The B. C . ) ,

coast already had rather thinkers

Democritus,

ideas of Aristotle, are of particular

the greatest naturalist of antiquity interest to us, since he believed

(384-322 the earth shape it

to b e a sphere. A c c o r d i n g to this thinker, the universe h a d the was surrounded b y w a t e r a n d b y the air m a n t l e . T h e lightest was Aristotle fire, a n d t h e n c a m e ether. T h e earth, air, w a t e r , the five he elements. exerted Despite the an exceptionally great fire constituted erroneousness

of a sphere a n d the earth as the heaviest b o d y w a s in the c e n t r e ; and

element ether of the

of m a n y

Aristotle's ideas,

influence on

d e v e l o p m e n t of the natural sciences. M a r x considered h i m the greatest t h i n k e r o f a n t i q u i t y w h o w a s a b l e t o g e n e r a l i z e all o f n a t u r a l of that t i m e in his works. science

344

Theophrastus fying them. mineralogy, He

(371-286

B.C.),

Aristotle's

pupil,

was

the

first

to of

list t h e m i n e r a l s k n o w n a t t h a t t i m e a n d t o m a k e a n a t t e m p t a t c l a s s i can be rightfully considered the founder not only plants. Roman fantastic minerals, in b u t also o f t h e s c i e n c e o f soils a n d

A r e m a r k a b l e w o r k f o r its t i m e , t h a t o f P l i n y t h e E l d e r , t h e investigator w h o legends, During Europe. died during the eruption of Vesuvius first century A. D . preserved exact sciences In in c o m e s to the fore in the addition to about not

79 A. D . ,

this w o r k c o n v e y s a lot of true information to-date. did the At Middle time East. Ages, the sciences and

whose n a m e s have partly been that

develop

the natural

chemistry

developed 10th about untrue

mainly in the centuries, Stones we

I n the singular treatises o f the A r a b thinkers o f the 9th a n d find that indications "there are of the stones coexistence that are of separate i n n a t u r e . T h u s , L u k e B e n - S e r a p i o n i n t h e f o r e w o r d t o h i s Book writes encountered a n d stones that avoid e a c h other; there are stones w h i c h are to other stones, as there are stones w h i c h colour other

metals together

stones."

T h e s e a r c h for ores, their p r o c e s s i n g a n d t h e p r o d u c t i o n o f m e t a l s and alloys undoubtedly about into made and man continuously between the wonder various about the The laws conditions under which chemical generalizations which then love came man's the elements were found together. hatred were first g e o c h e m i c a l

substances

mind

that h a v e retained their T h e work of Avicenna,

significance. philosopher from Bukhara (985-1037), mineral Combustible of Khorezm, of data J.tn-Sin<L lAVcennai

is p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t e r e s t i n g . T h e p h i l o s o p h e r w r o t e a t r e a t i s e o n i n w h i c h h e c l a s s i f i e d t h e m a s : 1) S t o n e s a n d e a r t h s , 2 ) and sulphurous a compounds, book 3) in Salts a n d A1 Biruni Arabic 4) Metals. Complete Another wrote Precious of that o u t s t a n d i n g scientist, in w h i c h (973-1048)

remarkable Minerals time.

entitled

Knowledge

he generalized

all t h e m i n e r a l o g i c a l

T h e works of alchemistry in Arabic, w h i c h m a d e their since they were the methods of research. first

appearance chemical

in the 9th century, are of great i m p o r t a n c e to the history of chemistry, t o set forth t h e p r o b l e m s of truly

T h e alchemists w o r k e d m a i n l y o n synthesis, i.e., t h e y tried to o b t a i n n e w substances from the ones they already knew. Alexandria was the

345

c r a d l e o f a l c h e m i s t r y , w h e n c e c h e m i c a l k n o w l e d g e a n d skills p e n e t r a t e d into Syria. The Arabs borrowed through alchemistry from the Syrians and from into brought it t o E u r o p e Spain.

A l c h e m i s t r y usually implies the d e c e p t i v e art of m a k i n g g o l d m a i n l y to ennoble the usual metals b y trying to transform t h e m on. They were also searching for remedies and the

various other metals. A s a m a t t e r of fact m e d i e v a l alchemists a t t e m p t e d silver or gold. But these w e r e not the o n l y p r o b l e m s t h e y w e r e w o r k i n g "philosopher's forced handstone." T h e unsuccessful endeavours to c h a n g e the metals gradually t h e a l c h e m i s t s to f i n d a n e w a p p l i c a t i o n for their art. T h e i r m a i d e n of medicine. T h o u g h the alchemists were accused of quackery, benefited endless the development experiments, of chemistry, and despite because chemical they they enormously conducted their initial was focused on the health of m a n a n d alchemistry b e c a m e the attention

the fact that

ideas were wrong, they sometimes achieved important

results.

T h e famous philosopher Leibnitz wrote very well about the alchemists, saying: "These ordinary people have great imagination and experience, b u t t h e i r i m a g i n a t i o n is a t v a r i a n c e w i t h t h e i r e x p e r i e n c e . T h e y c h e r i s h pure hopes, a n d this leads t h e m to failure or m a k e s t h e m a laughing s t o c k . A n d still s u c h p e o p l e n o t i n f r e q u e n t l y k n o w m o r e f a c t s f r o m t h e i r experience a n d observation of nature than m a n y a respected scientist." C a m e R e n a i s s a n c e . It signified a c h a n g e for a n e w a n d higher stage of culture. T h e first i m p e t u s t o t h e d e v e l o p m e n t o f m i n e r a l o g y w a s t h e p r o s p e r i t y of the m i n i n g The exact mineralogist and geochemistry. time. De in deep industry in Hungary, works of the Saxonian mining of the Saxony centre, and laid He Bohemia. physician basis for and the and books and of the the remarkable Agricola (1490-1555), objectives

understanding

of mineralogy left m a n y (1546) complexity the including

His real n a m e remarkable (1546). includes i.e., His

was Georg Bauer. b o o k s a r e De natura first time the up

w h i c h represent a s u m m a r y His most It re metallica

of the knowledge of ore deposits of that fossilium of c l a s s i f i c a t i o n o f m i n e r a l s is o f a idea system to and principles. This forms scientific basis

character. compounds, of all 18th

for the

chemical

subsequent century.

mineralogical

works

346

Jons 1848),

Jakob

Berzelius chemist worked of first first

(1779and the their he on

Swedish analyses the the

mineralogist, chemical and real was the was also term

minerals

to give to

chemical

classification;

introduce

"silicates." societies del and acad-

Scientific

emies, especially the oldest academy—Academia which played the was an Cimento— in 1657, in and Prospecting for ore deposits. Picture taken from Agricola's book. 1556 part founded important of The Royal

history

geology

mineralogy.

Society

w a s o r g a n i z e d i n L o n d o n i n 1 6 6 2 a n d is t h e B r i t i s h A c a d e m y o f t o d a y . Scientific societies a n d large K u n s r k a m m e r s b e c a m e very popular at the end turies. founded of the The in 1725 17th in of and, especially, Academy Petersburg, science. expression Terrestrial suggest to about crust, science place of have the beginning of the and a then the played 18th cenin Swedish Sciences, Russian, part

tremendous

the development

I n R u s s i a , g e o c h e m i c a l i d e a s w e r e g i v e n t h e i r first v i v i d i n t h e w o r k s o f M . L o m o n o s o v ( 1 7 1 1 - 6 5 ) — O n the Structure Layers that and metals as On the Birth and of Metals. Lomonosov "Metals the life He minerals migrated. from move of the of

w a s t h e first t o from

p l a c e , " w a s his brilliant conclusion. minerals products resulting

g a v e rise t o n e w ideas earth's

ideas w h i c h in t h e 2 0 t h c e n t u r y f o r m e d t h e basis of t h e n e w of geochemistry.

D o z e n s of books a n d h u n d r e d s of articles w e r e written a b o u t L o m o nosov; and of the most prominent investigators, to exhaust scientists, writers a n d because was so the poets genius and the d e v o t e d their best p a g e s to the analysis o f this g i a n t of R u s s i a n t h o u g h t it is still i m p o s s i b l e Mikhail We Lomonosov, this subject, pornor this A r k h a n g e l s k figure great

profound. can imagine the powerful he would never yield of this T i t a n h a r d e n e d in or anything. struggle against polar nature, of which " w i t h his n o b l e stubbornness" to a n y b o d y because

347

Courage,

resolve a n d

daring bordering

on stormy fantasy,

a

thirst of com-

to k n o w everything, bination which traits. arts and keeping are he And with a

down

to the root of things and to the source ability of cities more main and and to conduct were dozen of experiments, some of

all s o u r c e s , a n d a c a p a c i t y for p r o f o u n d p h i l o s o p h i c a l a n a l y s i s i n brilliant not think seven the could science, than a

without of

Lomonosov's sciences and and

whereas fighting

of antiquity heritage

debated the honour different Lomonosov:

Homer's

grave, for

physics

chemistry, and as

mineralogy geology

crystallography, regional science To a

geochemistry and be

physical chemistry, astronomy history, nosov himself. Lomonosov may was, literature,

mining, geography and engineering. to say:

meteorology, economics, sure, Lomoin

astrophysics, philology was Pushkin

and wont

"whole

university"

not have

been understood

b y his

contemporaries, which being.

b u t n e w generations w h i c h h e w a s so fervently t e a c h i n g a n d to h e w a s m a k i n g his a p p e a l , w e r e a l r e a d y c o m i n g i n t o

Come, Russian youths of piercing ken, From fertile fields and forests broad, T o take the place of learned men Today invited from abroad. Blessed be your days for evermore; Strive on with neither doubt nor awe, And with your great achievements show That Newtons, Platos of our own And other men of world renown On Russian soil can also grow!
Two hundred years have passed since then, but only n o w are his

brilliant foresight a n d daring theories b e i n g e m b o d i e d into the greatest scientific truths before our very eyes, a n d his cherished d r e a m s the greatness Lomonosov phenomena, to study not and but the glory as their bodies of our country not becoming as a He believed their reality. description of it w a s internal necessary structure understood science in only mere about

explanation. themselves,

but

a n d the causes o f this structure, as w e l l as t h e forces w h i c h a c t e d i n s i d e s u b s t a n c e . H e k n e w t h a t all o f s c i e n c e i n all its m a n i f e s t a t i o n s d e p e n d e d o n t h e s o l u t i o n o f t h e o n e g r e a t p r o b l e m : t h a t o f s u b s t a n c e , its s t r u c t u r e and composition.

348

M i k h a i l L o m o n o s o v , Russian scientist (1711-65)- T h e first i n v e s t i g a t o r in t h e field of g e o l o g y t o link u p t h e p r o b l e m s of s t u d y i n g m i n e r a l s a n d rocks w i t h those of chemistry a n d physics. F o u n d e r of g e o c h e m i c a l a n d p h y s i c o - c h e m i c a l i d e a s in R u s s i a

L o m o n o s o v c a m e to the conclusion that substance consisted of separate particles w h i c h larger—these eye, and world were possessed special attraction, inertia a n d the molecules. None of them and was visible motion; to the some of t h e m were smaller—these were the simple atoms; others were t h e y w e r e all i n c o n s t a n t m o t i o n inference fully corresponds before the great that nothing could rotation. Essentially, atomistic Lavoisier, thus,

this r e m a r k a b l e outlook. Nearly

to the m o d e r n French be chemist in

half a century maintained energy.

Lomonosov

lost

nature,

essentially, establishing the great l a w of nature, the l a w of conservation of matter a n d

By gradually investigating the nature of the original particles t h r o u g h physics, L o m o n o s o v b e g a n studying chemistry. about the changes occurring in the science which depends on the p h e n o m e n a I n his brilliant the grand foundation weight In 1752-1753 and 1748, Word about the Benefit a general meeting of the A c a d e m y Chemistry a is a body, science i.e., a composition of

of physics and

mechanics. to disclosed ideas the and ideas on pro-

of Chemistry,

a paper read 1751, h e

of Sciences in

prospects of the n e w chemistry; for the new

he rejected the old a n d laid number in which He

of the alchemists born in their mysterious laboratories, edifice of chemistry, the laws of mathematics after a struggle of m a n y prevailed. years, he,

carried his

into practice. finally, organized A p t e k a r s k y P e n i n s u l a i n P e t e r s b u r g t h e first R u s s i a n s c i e n t i f i c c h e m i c a l laboratory where he kept exact records of measure, portions of substance. He said that "chemistry country. He a played a an important part new to composition manufacture factory, on problems in the of a of weight and

I n 1 7 5 2 - 5 3 L o m o n o s o v t a u g h t t h e first c o u r s e i n " p h y s i c a l c h e m i s t r y " in the world. practical optical coloured the needs smalt all h u m a n affairs" a n d h e w o r k e d p e r s i s t e n t l y i n o r d e r to satisfy of his for produced he and special glass; after 3,000 experiments, built minerals began

mosaics, Urals

mosaic worked

studied

composition

of the

saltpetre a n d The first

phosphorus. problems posed by Lomonosov before the new experiThis and new

mental laboratory included the preparation led L o m o n o s o v

of pure substances.

to t h e s t u d y of p u r e m e t a l s , salts a n d saltpetre,

the old lessons of t e c h n o l o g y a n d m i n e r a l o g y w e r e revived in a
350

form. For h i m a mineral was a mixture of primary particles a n d properties d e p e n d e d on "the mutual union of the particles."

its

L i k e a n y o t h e r s u b s t a n c e s , s t o n e h a d its o w n h i s t o r y o f l i f e a n d d e a t h a n d L o m o n o s o v urged that natural minerals be studied by n e w methods. He esses; linked he the conditions to fissures of mineral divine these f o r m a t i o n to geological procprocesses in the interior of with incandescent vapours remains came to endeavoured

the earth in the

of volcanoes

filled

of sulphur; o n the surface he saw the genesis of stones in the in his person a naturalist, philosopher and chemist, stone

of animals a n d plants. Thus, in the m i n d of L o m o n o s o v , w h o c o m b i n e d life i n t h e light o f n e w ideas. Here Terrestrial is w h a t Layers M. Lomonosov wrote in his remarkable book On

published in

1763:

" T h i s is w h a t t h e e n t r a i l s o f t h e e a r t h a r e l i k e ; h e r e w e h a v e l a y e r s a n d here veins of other substances w h i c h nature has produced in the interior. W e m u s t observe their different position, colour a n d a n d in our thinking use the ideas a n d a d v i c e of m a t h e m a t i c s , istry a n d physics i n This was no general." the old and tedious descriptive of the mineralogy, earth. And first i.e., chemistry longer weight chem-

but a new science—geochemistry,

as h e h a d formerly built t h e f o u n d a t i o n for t h e great edifice of physical c h e m i s t r y o n t h e bo rders b e t w e e n p h y s i c s a n d c h e m i s t r y for t h e time in the history of scientific thought, h e n o w laid the of the n e w the science years Swiss were science which required on the borders time the had word between chemistry as yet. at that before no name and first corner-stone geology, more off the four came who

1838

Seventy

"geochemistry"

t h e lips of o n e of the most p r o m i n e n t naturalists in chemist Christian Friedrich Schonbein years later wrote:

1 8 3 8 ; it w a s

(1799-1868)

"Several years ago I m a d e a public statement of m y conviction that w e m u s t h a v e a g e o c h e m i s t r y before w e c a n speak a b o u t a real geological science which, obviously, must devote its a t t e n t i o n to the chemical least the We the to nature of the masses that constitute our earth, to the origin at as m u c h a s t o the 1 r e l a t i v e a n t i q u i t y of these formations a n d to remains of the antediluvian are warranted direction they plants a n d animals buried in them. In order to e x p a n d their

i n s a y i n g that geologists will n o t for ever pursue are following now.

science

a s s o o n as t h e fossils fail s u f f i c i e n t l y t o s e r v e t h e m , t h e y will h a v e

35 >

look

for

new

auxiliary

means

and

will

then,

no

doubt, The

introduce time when new

mineralo-chemical

methods of research into geology. me." of

this will h a p p e n d o e s n o t s e e m v e r y d i s t a n t t o success resulted f r o m the p r e c e d i n g Long chemical into an firmly and painstaking to work be with regularities established scientist

A n d h e r e t h e history o f s c i e n c e tells us h o w a n e w i d e a a n d a development generalized thought. for

facts w a s required into

extensive

reliably

geochemical

laws, in order that from brilliant conjectures they m i g h t be transformed and verified scientific Mendeleyev of chemical barren as a in this direction; generalizations. (1834-1907) by elements of in the the he had the a of of laid made law real the the himtypical their posdiscovering unity fifties shut so The Russian Dmitry

enormous

contribution the

of periodicity foundation structure D. for

of the properties theretofore began universe.

concept chemist he

of the

Mendeleyev

working

1 9 t h c e n t u r y w h e n R u s s i a n i n d u s t r y s t a r t e d its v i g o r o u s Since Mendeleyev ardently self off f r o m of him. He wrote about u t i l i z a t i o n o f oil a n d of the iron practice l o v e d his c o u n t r y i n it w i t h did but engaged

development.

not

the energy

coal as well as a b o u t and studied the industry.

origin a n d reserves, i n v e n t e d smokeless p o w d e r , sibilities for t h e d e v e l o p m e n t H e believed and in benefit." the ultimate

a i m of scientific studies to b e of Chemistry,

"foresight

M e n d e l e y e v ' s c h i e f w o r k , t h e Fundamentals edly after his death. this b o o k my

was published repeat"This most and

1869, republished in eight editions d u r i n g his lifetime, a n d Mendeleyev considered his f a v o u r i t e brain-child.

book contains m y cherished "The scientific Fundamentals

image,

experience

of a teacher my

and m y powers

thoughts. of Chemistry contained spiritual 1905. undoubt-

m y legacy to the children," h e wrote in

T h e discovery of the periodic system of chemical elements Dmitry Mendeleyev world fame.

edly charted a n e w course for the d e v e l o p m e n t of chemistry a n d b r o u g h t This l a w was given a remarkable appraisal by F. Engels. H e elements
352

said: here

" M e n d e l e y e v p r o v e d t h a t v a r i o u s g a p s o c c u r in t h e series o f r e l a t e d arranged according to atomic weights indicating that

Dmitry of

Mendeleyev,

R u s s i a n c h e m i s t (1834-1907). C r e a t o r

of t h e p e r i o d i c

system

elements

23

new the

elements general

remain chemical

to

be

discovered. of one

He of

described these

in

advance elethis

properties

unknown

ments. . . . " A f e w years later, L e c o q d e B o i s b a u d r a n actually discovered element.... of quantity into quality, Mendeleyev He was the predicted first Mendeleyev new By (unconsciously) applying Hegel's l a w of transformation a c h i e v e d a scientific f e a t . . . . " * elements, corrected atomic stars, atom system compounds. chemical

w e i g h t s a n d g a v e t h e right f o r m u l a e for m a n y c h e m i c a l to liken the atoms

to celestial b o d i e s — t h e

the sun a n d the planets; h e assumed that the structure of the w a s similar to t h a t o f t h e celestial systems, i.e., like t h e solar or the atic system of binaries. laws governing the combination of chemical 75 years, a

F o r g e o c h e m i s t r y the P e r i o d i c L a w h a s b e e n t h e basis for t h e systemstudy of the elelong to ments under natural period world of vast conditions. B u t it r e q u i r e d a n o t h e r period of struggle numerous a of. different trends new experiments.

T h e law was discovered. research,

e x p l a i n it a n d d e m o n s t r a t e its p u r p o r t a n d s i g n i f i c a n c e f o r o u r e n t i r e understanding; it r e q u i r e d I n establishing the closest relationship b e t w e e n c h e m i c a l a n d physical p h e n o m e n a , M e n d e l e y e v p u t i n p r a c t i c e t h e f a m o u s words, o f L o m o n o s o v : " A c h e m i s t w i t h o u t a k n o w l e d g e o f p h y s i c s is l i k e a m a n m u s t grope in the dark. T h e s e t w o sciences are so closely related neither can be perfect without the Why has the Periodic L a w other." elements played and will of chemical who that

c o n t i n u e to p l a y so i m p o r t a n t a part in t h e history o f s c i e n c e ? B e c a u s e Mendeleyev's P e r i o d i c T a b l e is v e r y s i m p l e a n d r e p r e s e n t s a simple series o f n a t u r a l facts c o r r e c t l y c o m b i n e d w i t h e a c h o t h e r i n a d e f i n i t e s p a t i a l , c h r o n o l o g i c a l , p o w e r a n d g e n e t i c r e l a t i o n s h i p . T h e r e is n o t h i n g f a b r i c a t e d i n it. I t is n a t u r e herself. T h e real w o r l d o f s u b s t a n c e s s u r r o u n d s u s a n d i s a c c e s s i b l e t o o u r p e r c e p t i o n is e s s e n t i a l l y a table unfolded parts. Of the course, new theories and will come into being and die, by brilliant ideas; the according to long periods and divided into that grand

separate

generalizations a n d n e w conceptions will replace the outdated greatest discoveries experiments will exceed

far all

* F . E n g e l s , Dialectics of Nature, M o s c o w , 1954, p . 9 0 . 354

past and this will live and

wili o p e n come and develop;

up go,

incredibly but

novel be

and

extensive Law more

horizons. will precise

Ali and

Mendeleyev's quests. appealed

Periodic

always

it w i l l

constantly

rendered

w i l l serve as a g u i d e i n all Irf h i s w o r k s , the law. Mendeleyev

to us to c o n t i n u e of Chemistry people

developing he wrote: the this

I n o n e o f t h e i n t r o d u c t i o n s t o t h e Fundamentals "With the knowledge of h o w freely a n d sphere of science, I cannot but wish that m a n y

happily

o n e lives in entered

s p h e r e a n d t h i s i s r e a l l y w h y I a m w r i t i n g m y b o o k . I t is f o r t h i s r e a s o n that I c a n n o t h e l p reiterating the desire that the chemical world outlook w h i c h I tried m y best to d e v e l o p in the readers impel t h e m in the service of science should not frighten those w h o are a w a r e industry a n d manufacture. O n l y w h e n the truths are learned in absolute purity, c a n t h e y b e a p p l i e d in life." All o f M e n d e l e y e v ' s w o r k s are i m b u e d w i t h this a p p e a l to the y o u n g generation. His word crowded. H i s l e c t u r e s w e r e a t t e n d e d b y s t u d e n t s f r o m all faculties. captivated The his listeners not and the auditorium was always but students came to hear create. ready-made schemes, to of continue studying the science. T h e conscription of the y o u n g generation t h e u r g e n t necessity for our country's practical activities in agriculture, their

to hear their teacher think a n d

I n the 19th century studies of the chemical process related mineralogy to physical c h e m i s t r y a n d g a v e scientists n e w a n d m o r e precise k n o w l e d g e of the regrouping of c h e m i c a l a t o m s in the earth's T h i s t r e n d , p r e v a i l i n g i n t h e last y e a r s o f t h e the minerals are composed crust. paved 19th century,

t h e w a y for g e o c h e m i c a l i d e a s b y r e q u i r i n g t h a t t h e e l e m e n t s of w h i c h be taken into consideration in analyzing into atom the process of their formation. But geochemistry could not c o m e b e i n g as l o n g as there w a s a n y v a g u e n e s s in the i d e a a b o u t the itself, t h e e l e m e n t or crystal. O n l y M e n d e l e y e v ' s Periodic L a w a n d the achievements of physics, especially of crystallography, m a d e the a t o m a reality a n d the crystallographic grid actually a natural p h e n o m e n o n , a n d its p r o p e r t i e s t o t h e s t r u c t u r e o f t h e and linked the element but atom. exten-

T h e g r o u n d for t h e creation o f g e o c h e m i s t r y h a d b e e n cleared i t still r e q u i r e d a t r e m e n d o u s n u m b e r o f f a c t s a n d o b s e r v a t i o n s ,

sive e x p e r i m e n t a l work h a d to b e c o n d u c t e d in a n u m b e r of institutes 23* 355

where not hundreds but thousands of complex and difficult definitions outlined correct working methods. Only these new factual gains together with the theoretical advances of physicists and crystallographers have opened u p new prospects before modern geochemistry. This independent science, developed mainly by the efforts of Russian, Norwegian and American investigators, now aims at studying the atom and its fates under natural conditions. Unlike the other geological sciences, geochemistry does not study the fates and properties of molecules, chemical compounds, rocks or their geological complexes; it studies the fates of the atom under the conditions of the earth's crust accessible to exact experiment; it studies its behaviour, the processes of its shifts, migrations, combinations, dispersion and concentrations. I n doing this geochemistry

Academicians Vladimir Vernadsky (1863-1945) founders of the Russian school of geochemists
356

and Alexander

Fersman

(1833-1945).

m u s t not only discover a n d outline the long a n d intricate history each element in Mendeleyev's Periodic Table, but must also

of

link

this history t o t h e properties o f the a t o m s o n w h i c h the vital fate of the elements our country, depends. was given an exact definition have and a development very t h a t it in has and Russian scientists played important Geochemistry

p a r t i n it. S o v i e t g e o c h e m i s t r y science.

has m a d e

such headway

quite deservedly w o n the most honourable place in world

geochemical

T h e basis for t h e R u s s i a n s c h oo l o f g e o c h e m i s t r y w a s laid at M o s c o w University by academicians V. V e m a d s k y and A. Fersman, the author o f this book.

The chemists and geologists in the U . S . A . , Germany and Norway developed their own school, but its work has been of a SQmewhat different and much narrower nature.
Frank Clarke (1847-1931), a W a s h i n g t o n geologist, deserves of Geochemistry factual whole. i n 1908. For 36 and minerals and material made analyses of rocks special years after m e n t i o n . H e p u b l i s h e d h i s Data Clarke collected chemical a critical treatment of

considerable

general

c o n c l u s i o n s o n t h e a v e r a g e c h e m i c a l c o m p o s i t i o n o f various terrestrial rocks a n d o f t h e earth's crust as a processes. The development of geochemistry was greatly influenced and Victor by the Norwegian Goldschmidt J. V o g t the basis scientists J o h a n n e s V o g t (1888-1947). physico-chemical magmatic petrography and which offers serves as (1858-1932) Moritz B u t C l a r k e d i d n o t r e g a r d his d a t a as a basis for s t u d y i n g terrestrial

founded for

studying

processes

examplary earth's

opportunities V.

for estimating developed crust.

the chemical the The principles

composition of modern

of the

crust. B y closely linking crystallography w i t h the physics o f solid bodies Goldschmidt crystallochemof the won deep of wide on have t h e Laws istry a n d Distribution renown. Unlike problems. Clarke and Goldschmidt the Russian school of geochemists practical m a k e extensive use of the ideas o f geochemistry for solving contributed earth's Chemical of a great deal Elements in to the geochemistry the Earth's Crust

shells of the

series o f his p a p e r s

357

O u r geochemists are trying to follow M . L o m o n o s o v a n d to e m p l o y the "methods of mathematics, physics and chemistry" in analyzing s u r r o u n d i n g n a t u r e ; at the s a m e t i m e t h e y m a k e a d e e p e r g e o c h e m i c a l analysis ing of Mendeleyev's of organic and the periodic and system. was one of the the most creator and outstandof new world nature, Academician students scientific He D. trends Vladimir Vernadsky father of

inorganic

Russian

mineralogy of St.

geochemistry. studied at t h e phvsico-mathematical and by faculty Petersburg when in and part U n i v e r s i t y a n d w a s g r a d u a t e d f r o m it i n 1 8 8 5 . I t w a s t h e t i m e Mendeleyev Young w a s at his h e y d a y University. was fascinated Mendeleyev's new He ideas appreciated Vernadsky Vernadsky precise played a prominent t h e life o f t h e

Vernadsky

w a s o n e of his m o s t enthusiastic c h e m i s t r y students. the v a l u e of e x p e r i m e n t in exact knowledge.

Another person w h o exerted an enormous influence on V . in those r e m a r k a b l e years of struggle for science w a s V . a m a n of rare initiative a n d efficiency. A t his lectures V . methods of research. From body, Dokuchayev's many of classical his work in Russian Chernozem

Dokuchavev,

learned to understand the i m p o r t a n c e of exact k n o w l e d g e a n d

Vernadsky spring from and

b o r r o w e d t h e p r o f o u n d i d e a o f t h e soil a s a s p e c i a l and thoughts ideas. was one V. Dokuchayev's scientific

natural-historical

biogeochemistrv

V e r n a d s k y ' s l o n g life ( 1 8 6 3 - 1 9 4 5 ) brilliant creative thought, and charted a new

of persistent work new fields in country.

a life w h i c h

opened

science

course in natural science in our

V e r n a d s k y also p l a y e d a v e r y i m p o r t a n t part as a historian of science because he always laid the historical principle a n d the historical m e t h o d at the basis of natural He used to say: "We science. naturalists must will w e learn the profound become historians of were historical historians. nature." connected mineralogy H e invariably w a n t e d his pupils to elucidate the history of a p r o b l e m . methods of understanding Twenty-one and the past fates of m a n k i n d f r o m life (1890-1911)

O n l y b y using these m e t h o d s

years of Vernadsky's

w i t h M o s c o w U n i v e r s i t y w h e r e h e w o r k e d as professor of crystallography.

It will be observed that before V e r n a d s k y the t e a c h i n g of m i n e r a l o g y

358

A c a d e m i c i a n V . V e r n a d s k y a m o n g his y o u n g s t u d e n t s at M o s c o w U n i v e r s i t y . P h o t o g r a p h t a k e n in 1911. V . V e r n a d s k y is sitting in t h e c e n t r e ; A . F e r s m a n is s t a n d i n g on t h e r i g h t

at Moscow University was confined to a tedious description of the minerals. T h e collections were in disorder. Vernadsky not only put them in order, but also enriched them with his own exhibits collected during his numerous excursions and travels. H e very frequently travelled in Russia and abroad and considered these excursions very important in the matter of training future scientists. V. Vernadsky radically reorganized the teaching of mineralogy replacing the dry descriptive science by a chemical mineralogy based on history and by teaching a separate course of crystallography. H e organized the first scientific mineralogical circle which included all the mineralogists of Moscow. At the same time he obligated his co-workers and pupils to do experimental work in physico-chemical description of chemical compounds and minerals, which played a very big part in developing the school of mineralogy.
359

These

were

the

sources the

of

Russian of V . into

chemical

mineralogy pupils, the

a n d

later

of geochemistry,

a n d

school came his

Vernadsky's at

mineral-

ogists-geochemists, T h e first

thus of

being

M o s c o w

University. classical in of in the a w o r k as

edition

voluminous m a d e

fundamental its

Experiment in Descriptive
a result of of broadly various V l a d i m i r I n deposits I n of in a

Mineralogy
a n d (the

appearance

1906

conceived minerals

regular w o r k was

investigations completed M e m b e r a n d of

numerous 1918). A c a d e m y n e w stage

1909

Vernadsky m o v e d first the 20

was to

elected

Sciences. his n e w life;

191 i ~.ic the

Petersburg h a d

began spent o n

whereas

years

been

developing period)

scientific to

school,

subsequent n e w

years

(the

Petersburg

were

devoted change gave

organizing no easy

scientific

work. missed M o s c o w to a great

This deal. w o r k

was u p

matter. a n d tried walls time laid

Vernadsky to devote o f it the the was

H e

teaching it i n at

himself fully of

research H e

concentrating the

the the h a d

A c a d e m y headed b y

Sciences.

entered the

A c a d e m y scientist the

A . the

Karpinsky, geological

Russian of

w h o

basis for

studying

structure

Russian

Plain. extensive dispersed first spectroscopic chemical investigations in the of the

Vernadsky distribution

conducted of rare a n d

elements

Russian necessity territory

rocks a n d minerals a n d was the of a of wide a n d regular study

to raise the question o f the p h e n o m e n a o n the

of radioactive

Russia. I n 1922 V . he founded a n a r a d i u m accurate helium uttered institute i n association for at w i t h Acadethe age

mician of rocks T h e said m a n will

K h l o p i n ; lead

methodology developed Vernadsky a great

estimating the

by

a n d words are

was b y

institute. as if in they the were life of It

following " W e be long

sound

today: not not to be

approaching w i t h lays

revolution

c o m p a r e d before m a n

anything his hands

ever o n

experienced atomic

before. a This 100

energy,

source m a y years. this m a n inevito the

of power come It is

that

will in the

enable

h i m

to organize or B u t than the it

his life at take be

his will. another able to

about clear, for

nearest that good to it

future will.

m a y

however, his o w n

will for

m a n

utilize H a s must eyes

power

rather

self-destruction? that not science their of

sufficiently tably

m a t u r e d h i m

m a k e T h e

use o f

force must

provide

with? of

scientists

shut a n d of

possible process.

consequences T h e y must feel

their

scientific for

w o r k

the

scientific

responsible

the

effects

their

discoveries.

360

T h e y

must

tie

their

w o r k

i n

w i t h

a

better

organization

of

all

of

h u m a n i t y " As while w h a t a

( Essays and Speeches,
he o n developed r a d i u m a w o r k he was

1922). radiogeological o n a b r o a d trend i n science, Some-

result

new, p u t his

the later

scientific

basis.

began

publishing (1923-36).

voluminous very

History of the
scientific

Minerals
w o r k

in the Earth's

Crust

This

valuable

SCIENCES
astrophysics,

ABOUT

MATTER
astrochemistry

CRYSTALLOGRAPHY

physicsi geochemistry)

chemistry , physical i chemistry 'biology soil study /geology geography

geophysics'

mineralogy \ petrography metallurgy science o f
Geochemistry among kindred sciences

technology minerals

was,

unfortunately,

unfinished. ideas

A t a n d

the

same

time his

he

integrated entitled

his

remarkable

geochemical (1927-34).

published

book

Essays

on Geochemistry
I n h o w his w o r k important as

Vernadsky it was to

showed a b a n d o n

o n the

a

n u m b e r old point

of of

separate view in

elements studying the a t o m

minerals a n d its

complex of

molecules in

a n d the

to

begin a n d

investigating in the cosmos.

paths

migrations

earth

361

I n 1928 h e f o u n d e d a b i o g e o c h e m i c a l i n s t i t u t e a t t h e A c a d e m y of S c i e n c e s a n d b e c a m e t h e f a t h e r of a n e w b r a n c h of g e o c h e m i s t r y — b i o g e o c h e m i s t r y . T h i s s c i e n c e s t u d i e s t h e c h e m i c a l c o m p o s i t i o n of l i v i n g o r g a n i s m s a n d t h e p a r t i c i p a t i o n of l i v i n g s u b s t a n c e a n d t h e p r o d u c t s of its d e c o m p o s i t i o n i n t h e p r o c e s s e s of m i g r a t i o n , d i s t r i b u t i o n , d i s p e r s i o n a n d a c c u m u l a t i o n of c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s i n t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t . I n 1935 t h e A c a d e m y of S c i e n c e s w a s t r a n s f e r r e d t o M o s c o w . D u r i n g t h e s e c o n d p e r i o d of his M o s c o w a c t i v i t i e s ( 1 9 3 5 - 4 5 ) V e r n a d s k y d e v o t e d m o s t of his a t t e n t i o n t o his w o r k i n t h e b i o g e o c h e m i c a l l a b o r a t o r y ; h e p e r s o n a l l y i n v e s t i g a t e d t h e b i o c h e m i c a l r o l e of c a r b o n , a l u m i n i u m a n d t i t a n i u m a n d p o i n t e d out t h e necessity for d r a w i n g u p a g e o c h e m i c a l m a p of t h e b i o s p h e r e . T h e w o r d " g e o c h e m i s t r y " w a s u t t e r e d m o r e t h a n 100 y e a r s a g o , b u t r e a l g e o c h e m i c a l s c i e n c e w a s b o r n o n l y i n t h e last 3 0 y e a r s , i n t h e y e a r s of t h e n e w s t o r m y q u e s t s ; S o v i e t s c i e n c e h a s p l a y e d a n especially i m p o r t a n t p a r t i n t h i s ; it b o l d l y f o r g e s a h e a d , d e v e l o p s n e w b r a n c h e s of k n o w l e d g e a n d i n its a s p i r a t i o n s a n d a c h i e v e m e n t s combines theory with practice.

HOW THE CHEMICAL ELEMENTS AND MINERALS WERE NAMED
T h i s q u e s t i o n s h o u l d b e of i n t e r e s t t o a l l o f u s . I t is n o t s o e a s y t o r e m e m b e r t h e h u n d r e d s a n d t h o u s a n d s of t h e d i f f e r e n t n a m e s of elem e n t s , m i n e r a l s a n d r o c k s . B u t if w e g r a s p t h e m e a n i n g of e a c h n a m e t h e y m a y b e easier to r e m e m b e r . S o m e of t h e r e a d e r s m a y h a v e c o m e a c r o s s m y l i t t l e b o o k Recollections about a Stone a n d m a y r e m e m b e r t h e f a c e t i o u s s t o r y i n it a b o u t t h e w a y n e w m i n e r a l s a n d n e w stations of t h e K i r o v R a i l w a y w e r e n a m e d . I t ridiculed especially t h e old r a i l w a y m e n w h o h a d given t h e n a m e of A f r i c a n d a to a station only b e c a u s e t h e y h a d a r r i v e d t h e r e o n a d a y w h e n i t w a s as h o t as it is i n A f r i c a . A n o t h e r station w a s n a m e d T i t a n t h o u g h n o t a t r a c e of t i t a n i u m ores h a d b e e n f o u n d a n y w h e r e a r o u n d . W e m u s t confess, h o w e v e r , t h a t n o t o n l y o u r old r a i l w a y m e n a c t e d this w a y ; chemists a n d mineralogists did t h e s a m e w h e n t h e y discovered a n y t h i n g n e w ; e a c h of t h e m n a m e d t h i n g s a t w i l l a n d all w e c a n d o n o w is r e m e m b e r t h e s e n a m e s a s t h e y a r e . I n c h e m i s t r y i t is s i m p l e e n o u g h ; t h e r e a r e o n l y a b o u t 100 c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s f o r w h i c h n a m e s h a d t o b e t h o u g h t of. I t is m u c h h a r d e r i n m i n e r a l o g y w h e r e close to 2,000 m i n e r a l s a r e a l r e a d y k n o w n a n d w h e r e f r o m 20 to 30 n e w ones are discovered every year. L e t u s first t r y a n d m a k e o u t t h e n a m e s of t h e c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s o n w h i c h t h e s c i e n c e of c h e m i s t r y r e s t s ; t h e c h e m i c a l s y m b o l s w e r e m a d e u p o f t h e first l e t t e r s of t h e s e n a m e s i n L a t i n : F e ( f e r r u m - — i r o n ) , As (arsenicum—arsenic), etc. Chemists a n d geochemists most frequently a n d most willingly n a m e d t h e n e w l y discovered elements after t h e c o u n t r y or city w h e r e t h e

discovery was W e first

was

m a d e

or

where

a

c o m p o u n d

of

the

given

substance

found. therefore, gallium easily (from understand the i n d e n t names such n a m e can be names of as europium,

can,

g e r m a n i u m , a n d scandium

France—Gallia), r e m e m b e r e d ; designations to guess

(Scandinavia); to r e m e m b e r were

these

easily ancient

i t is m u c h o f cities the or

harder

the names It is

in w h i c h

countries of these a

used.

sometimes

very

difficult

origins

names. n e w the element n a m e was of discovered the i n old C o p e n h a g e n a n d given of i n

T h u s , 1924 n a m e it of of

w h e n was the

given Danish

hafnium, was

u n k n o w n the old

capital. is

L u t e c i u m the old

similarly

jfyaam/s [Ruthenium | audi uas borrr in
Russia

n a m e a n d T h e

Paris.

T h u l i u m

Scandinavian

n a m e

Sweden

N o r w a y . metal was ruthenium, n a m e d even to i n w h i c h h o n o u r was of found Russia, i n K a z a n b y chemist it

R . Klauss, scarcely stands A

but,

unfortunately, that

occurs

m a n y

competent

chemists

" r u t h e n i u m "

for

"Russian." thing happened the to one of the feldspar vein quarries a near large

curious in

Stockholm n u m b e r " e r b i u m " this name. of

Sweden;

Ytterbi a n d the

pegmatite names f r o m

yielded

n e w a n d

elements, " t e r b i u m "

" y t t e r b i u m , " the different

" y t t r i u m , " versions of

resulted

M a n y their but w h o

chemical a n d

elements chemical

were

given

their

names

o n

the

basis

of

physical these have a

properties. to, old

This

w o u l d

seem

m o r e

rational, by, those

names a good

are

intelligible of

a n d

easily a n d

r e m e m b e r e d Latin. o n

knowledge of chemical in the to its line.

Greek were

Since of their

series

elements

discovered elements lines: b y

the

basis given b y its a n d

colour

lines

spectroscope colour of

these these

were

their blue

names line, by

according cesium its b y

the

i n d i u m its red

azure-blue,

r u b i d i u m

thallium O t h e r example, so n a m e d

green were

elements

n a m e d the bright

after Greek

the

colours

of

their

salts;

for

c h r o m i u m — f r o m because given metal. chemists, planets w h o or of its the

w o r d

m e a n i n g of

" c o l o u r " — w a s salts, while of the

colouring of the

c h r o m i u m

iridium salts of

was this m a n y

n a m e

because

iridescent

colours

V e r y elements

were stars.

keen Such

o n are

astronomy, the names

n a m e d of

certain u r a n i u m ,

after

364

paladium, cerium, tellurium, selenium a n d helium. Only the last n a m e has a d e e p e r m e a n i n g b e c a u s e h e l i u m (helios—sun) w a s first d i s c o v e r e d i n t h e s u n . A still g r e a t e r n u m b e r o f n a m e s w e r e g i v e n i n h o n o u r of t h e g o d s a n d goddesses of a n t i q u i t y . V a n a d i u m was, thus, n a m e d in h o n o u r of a goddess, w h i l e c o b a l t and nickel, the h a r m f u l fellow-travellers of s i l v e r o r e s , w e r e n a m e d a f t e r t h e wicked .gnomes w h o were supposed t o live in t h e S a x o n m i n e s .

Stibnite

T h e n a m e s of t a n t a l u m , n i o b i u m , titanium a n d t h o r i u m were taken without a n y particular reasons f r o m ancient mythology. A n t i m o n y was k n o w n in the Middle A g e s b y t h e n a m e of a n t i m u a n , w h i c h m o s t p r o b a b l y stems f r o m t h e G r e e k w o r d m e a n i n g " f l o w e r s , " s i n c e t h e c r y s t a l s of s t i b n i t e arrange themselves in bunches resembling the flowers of the c o m p o s i t a e . A c c o r d i n g t o a n o t h e r v e r s i o n a n t i m u a n is d e r i v e d f r o m antimonk allegedly because antimony leads recluse monks into temptation. Much scientists. less a t t e n t i o n The mineral was devoted and to was the names in of world-famous of the gadolinite gadolinium comes was first in and Russian
i a m a t s k i t e (black)

named

honour

Russian professor A. Gadolin, the element was n a m e d after the The mineral. "samarium" samarskite Ilmen and was was named name

f r o m t h e m i n e r a l i n w h i c h it discovered; found in the the Urals

M o u n t a i n s in

h o n o u r of C o l o n e l Ruthenium, names
origin.

Samarsky.

gadolinium a purely

samarium are three elements whose are of

365

I n addition to all these complicated and at times unreasonable names, however, there are about 30 chemical elements which in the roots of their names have various ancient Arabic, Indian or Latin words. T h e origin of the words aurum (gold), plumbum (lead), arsenicum (arsenic), etc., is responsible for m a n y arguments. Finally, there are several new transuranium elements; neptunium (Np) 93, and plutonium (Pn) 94 were named after planets; americium (Am) 95 stems from the word America, and curium (Cm) 96 was named in honour of Marie Curie, etc. See what chaos and disorder! Greek, Arabic, Indian, Persian, Latin and Slavonic roots, gods, goddesses, stars, planets, cities, countries and surnames frequently without any rhyme or reason. True, there were attempts to put some order into the system of names of elements, but there are so few of them that it really does not pay. It is quite a different question with the names of minerals. Here the geochemist and mineralogist must radically alter their practice because more t h a n 25 new minerals must be named every year and it is, certain!)', unreasonable to n a m e such compounds as laurite after the chemist's bride L a u r a and to give to a series of minerals names of princes and counts out of loyalty to these people who never had anything to do with minerals, as was the case, for instance, with uvarovite. Finally, some names are so incongruous that we can hardly pronounce them, for example, ampangabeite, named after the place where it was found in Madagascar. T h e names of the minerals form a most interesting page in the history of mineralogy and chemistry. T h e origin of the names of a n u m b e r of minerals is still unknown, and many of them have their roots in ancient India, Egypt or Persia. Persia has given us turquoise and emerald .smaragd), ancient Greece—topaz ' and garnet, and India—rubies, Topaz f r o m Murzinka deposits (East sapphire and tourmaline. Urals)
366

M a n y minerals were n a m e d after their locations. Thus, such names as ilmenite (Ilmen M o u n tains in the South Urals), baikalite (Lake Baikal) a n d m u r manite ( M u r m a n s k Region) are very well known a n d intelligible to us Soviet people. But the most interesting n a m e to us is connected with Moscow; it is moscovite or muscovite, the famous potash mica which plays so i m p o r t a n t a p a r t in the electrical industry. Very m a n y names were given in honour of well-known scientists, prominent chemists a n d mineralogists. W e shall mention scheelite, so called in honour of the well-known c , , . c , , Crystals of l i m e s p a t Swedish chemist Scheele, goethite—in honour of the poet a n d mineralogist W. Goethe, a n d the familiar mendelevite and vernadskite. It must be admitted that the names given to minerals on the basis of their colour are very suitable, b u t one must know Latin or Greek to understand these names. These include, for example, a q u a m a r i n e (colour of sea-water), auripigment (colouring of gold), leucite (from the Greek word leucos—white), cryolite (from the Greek word meaning "ice") a n d celestite (from the Latin word meaning "sky"). Very m a n y names stem from the physical a n d chemical properties of the mineral. Thus, silver-like minerals are called glances, copperor bronze-like minerals are known as pyrites, minerals which have a capacity for splitting in several directions are called spars, while minerals that contain metal which it is h a r d to guess by the deceptive exterior are known as blendes. T h e diamond received its n a m e from the Greek word adamas, i.e., invulnerable, invincible, a d a m a n t i n e . It must, finally, be admitted, that m a n y minerals were rightly n a m e d after the chemical elements
367

w h i c h

formed

their

m a i n for

constituent. These include, instance, phosphorite,

calcite, etc.

wolframite, T h e r e however, interest. connected

molybdenite, some evoke of a

are that S o m e w i t h

names, special are the

t h e m

legends;

m e a n i n g o f o t h e r s is i n the entrails of

concealed the alcheasf r o m

mists' bestos

laboratories.

Thus,

r e c e i v e d its n a m e Greek w o r d

Oriental precious stone merchant. 17th-century engraving
error was that so it allegedly cured its to kidney

the

m e a n i n g owes

" u n b u r n a b l e . " its disease. n a m e to

Nephrite the

medieval

Phenacite—"deceptive" colour fades w h e n

n a m e d for a or

because few hours

beautiful the sun. given

wine-red

exposed

Apatite, distinguish since the

"deceiver," other Ages

was

this

n a m e

because has

it

is

h a r d its

to

f r o m M i d d l e

minerals; w h e n the

finally,

amethyst

borne of

n a m e as a

mysterious ascribed a

property to it.

serving

protection This of

against

drunkenness

was

brief description shows w h a t is.

complicated

business the

n a m i n g

minerals

Isn't it at all possible to b r i n g order to organize of n e w a n international a n d

into

this m a t t e r ? w h i c h it

Isn't

it

possible the

commission m i g h t that of a

m i g h t that to

sanction

names to the the

minerals of the f o r m

w h i c h

see t o be

they

correspond that the

properties names a n d

minerals, sort of

they system

easy

remember, they classify

very

some

a n d

that

hundreds W e to so

thousands as the

mineral a n d

species? geochemical will be sciences continue

hope

that, a n d

chemical our a n d little the

develop that the

prosper, child

proposal student

given longer the

consideration be tormented given of

school a n d

m a y a n d

n o

w i t h to the

long

hard-to-remember be closely a n d the related

names, to in the

that

names

the

minerals the to

characteristic that they

properties m a y be

stone,

plant

a n i m a l

order

easily

c o m m i t t e d

m e m o r y .

CHEMISTRY AND GEOCHEMISTRY IN OUR TIME
W e are living at a t i m e of g r a n d a c h i e v e m e n t s in physics a n d istry. The old metal—iron—is with a number compounds beginning to be replaced by brick, others or be combined Complex Organic headway of the of rare metallic i n glass, of substances. concrete structures. tremendous the place chem-

of silicon

porcelain,

a n d slags are b e g i n n i n g to substitute for t h e o l d i r o n chemistry—chemistry of late, fields of indigo already yield life. a carbon—has have already rubber not a n d large factories and now much

made taken

enormous distillation, dyes,

plantations. paints from replace of the scale products natural

T h e s e factories p r o d u c e synthetic rubber a n d of coal As a in which also and only vegetable science, but wider using is

colours. chemistry into of the every most uses

matter

o f fact,

the world

is n o w

ever more

economy

Chemistry life, i n t o

penetrating particular

little detail complex

of our day-to-day

every

apparatus we

of industrial extending materials of

production. our studies our of the natural and resources industry

A n d it s t a n d s t o r e a s o n t h a t i n a d d i t i o n t o t h e m o r e e x t e n s i v e of chemistry and need the are raw mineral because economy

enormous

quantities

them. frequently now we

G e o c h e m i s t r y is s o c l o s e l y r e l a t e d t o c h e m i s t r y t h a t i t is hard to d r a w a line of the i860 between these two sciences. and Organization gratefully who recall special words said: research of the institutes famous

laboratories and biologist

forms the basis of the d e v e l o p m e n t of the c h e m i c a l industry, French as early as

Pasteur,

24

3<>9

"I known

beseech

you

to

devote Insist

more that

attention there be

to more

the

sacred

asylums and that

as l a b o r a t o r i e s .

of t h e m

they be better equipped. wealth and of our

T h e s e are the temples of our future, of our network

welfare."

Since the Great O c t o b e r Socialist R e v o l u t i o n a n extensive in the Soviet Special developed have Union. institutes have been set u p . Many

of research institutes w o r k i n g in the field of chemistry has been o r g a n i z e d chemical of these ores, have others Land's gold,

also dealt w i t h g e o c h e m i c a l problems. S o m e of t h e m h a v e technological schemes for utilizing a l u m i n i u m brilliantly solved the problems of using boron and a number of elements—rare earths,

successfully carbides,

a n d its

still o t h e r s h a v e e x t e n s i v e l y s t u d i e d t h e s a l t s f o u n d i n t h e S o v i e t deposits platinum, niobium, tantalum, nickel, The Geochemical etc. of the U . S . S . R . A c a d e m y problems, the of

Institute

Sciences, conducted

f o u n d e d for t h e e l a b o r a t i o n o f m o r e special for the collective geochemical Society, thought in

has

a n u m b e r o f investigations; t h e w o r k of this institute has laid the basis country. the glorious traditions and

The of the

Mendeleyev Russian several must

which

continues

Physico-Chemical thousand also be people. made

Society,

is e x t e n s i v e l y

propagating

chemical branches

ideas; the M e n d e l e y e v

S o c i e t y u n i t e s in its i n s t i t u t i o n s here of the All-Union

Mention

Mineralogical elaborating geochemical of min-

Society f o u n d e d in Petersburg in problems of mineralogy and Geochemistry thought erals. has has won to begun wide

1 8 1 7 a n d still v i g o r o u s l y public into recognition, all scientific and

petrography. studies

penetrate

A Soviet chemist has calculated that more than a million

scientific

papers dealing w i t h chemistry h a v e b e e n published in periodicals in the last 3 0 years; close to 8 0 , 0 0 0 o f these h a v e b e e n p u b l i s h e d i n t h e last f e w years alone. I n order to f o l l o w u p this e n o r m o u s literature, are special journals which review all articles published the world in m o r e than journals. However, w h e n w e speak of the numerous investigations deals with carbon compounds, that a very large n u m b e r conducted of t h e m is 30 languages, a n d in nearly 3,000 there throughout chemical

in recent years, w e m u s t not forget that a n o v e r w h e l m i n g part of these

37

C h c m i c a l utensils m a d e of q u a r t z

related to purely technical problems and that only about two per cent of them are closer to the problems of geochemistry, to the problems of studying the substance in the earth's crust, its abundance, migrations, structure, combination and formation into ores of the grades employed in industry. T h e expansion of scientific work in the research institutes and societies, and the development of publishing has enabled the chemical sciences to pose ever deeper and broader problems. Though 200 years have already passed since Lomonosov's death, we tart still use the first p a r a g r a p h of his foreword to the lecture on physical chemistry delivered by him in 1751 as the basic motto in our chemical work: " T h e study of chemistry may pursue a double a i m ; one of these is the perfection of the natural sciences, the other—multiplication of the good things of life."
24'

37'

As a m a t t e r of fact, c h e m i s t r y a n d physics h a v e not only perfected t h e n a t u r a l sciences, but h a v e also o p e n e d before us t h e mysteries of n a t u r e h i d d e n f r o m our ryes; science a n d e n g i n e e r i n g h a v e b e e n able to reveal t o us t h e m u l t i f o r m i t y of atoms, of which t h e world is composed. O w i n g to t h e a c h i e v e m e n t s of t h e c h e m i c a l sciences, m o d e r n i n d u s t r y now produces a b o u t 50,000 c o m p o u n d s of d i f f e r e n t elements, while t h e n u m b e r of organic c o m p o u n d s developed a n d studied in laboratories r u n s into o n e million. T h e r e is no end to the c o m p o u n d s l a b o r a tories c a n still p r o d u c e .

Rocntgenomctric laboratory

I low g r a n d , these figures a r e c o m p a r e d with t h e 2,500 c o m p o u n d s we know in n a t u r e ! A n d yet precisely n a t u r e was o u r first t e a c h e r of the chemical s< iences. O u r industry is based on m i n e r a l r a w materials, f l i c direction of the work in chemical laboratories d e p e n d s on t h e m ; both the. s t r u c t u r e of substance arid the course of chemical reactions have been studied 011 n a t u r a l materials. T h a i is why it took geochemistry to build a bridge, b e t w e e n the chemical a n d the geological sciences. By s t u d y i n g the. properties a n d reserves of the world's mineral r a w materials, geochemistry has not only revealed the s t r u c t u r e of crystals in association with crystallog r a p h y , but also charted the course for the d e v e l o p m e n t of industry. Thus, the. sciences f o r m e d a c o n t i n u o u s c h a i n f r o m geology to geochemistry, from geochemistry to the chemical sciences a n d to physics. And the final a i m of all these sciences has been not only t h e perfection of the n a t u r a l sciences, b u t , as l.omonosov said, also t h e multiplication of tin- good things of life which m a n lias always striven to produce. T h e creation ol new valuable, substances a n d the conquest of r a w materials lor the national economy have been the greatest a n d basic
>
r

i

s t i m u l i in o u r d a y s . T e c h n o l o g y h a s closely j o i n e d g e o c h e m i s t r y , s t u d y i n g t h e p r o p e r t i e s of o r e s a n d salts, f i n d i n g o u t t h e d i s t r i b u t i o n of r a r e e l e m e n t s in t h e m a n d s e e k i n g f o r w a y s of t h e best a n d fullest possible u t i l i z a t i o n of t h e e n t r a i l s of o u r e a r t h . T h e c o m b i n a t i o n of c h e m i s t r y , g e o c h e m i s t r y a n d t e c h n o l o g y m a d e m o d e r n d e v e l o p m e n t of t h e c h e m i c a l i n d u s t r y possible. had

W e shall n o t d w e l l a n y l o n g e r o n w h a t b e n e f i t s t h e d e v e l o p m e n t of c h e m i s t r y a n d t h e c h e m i c a l sciences h a s b r o u g h t a n d will y e t b r i n g m a n k i n d ; w e s p o k e a b o u t it in t h e c h a p t e r o n t h e h i s t o r y of t h e a t o m in t h e h i s t o r y of m a n k i n d ; w e shall c o m e b a c k to this in t h e f o l l o w i n g c h a p t e r , w h e n w e t r y t o p a i n t a p i c t u r e of t h e f u t u r e of o u r sciences a n d of t h e i r a c c o m p l i s h m e n t s . W e a r e n o w i n t e r e s t e d in s o m e t h i n g else, n a m e l y , w h a t t h e m o d e r n i n v e s t i g a t o r in c h e m i s t r y , t h e o n e w h o a d v a n c e s science, c r e a t e s scientific l a b o r a t o r i e s a n d t h u s c o n q u e r s t h e s u r r o u n d i n g w o r l d , s h o u l d b e like. I n the past chemists took individual substances (elements) f r o m r o c k a n d s t u d i e d t h e m in t h e i r l a b o r a t o r i e s a n d offices o u t s i d e t i m e a n d space, outside their relations to n a t u r e . T o d a y m a n p i c t u r e s t h e w o r l d as a c o m p l e x s y s t e m in w h i c h all t h e i n d i v i d u a l p a r t s a r e closely i n t e r r e l a t e d , w h e r e v a r i o u s forces collide, c o m b i n e a n d s t r u g g l e w i t h e a c h o t h e r as in a n e n o r m o u s l a b o r a t o r y , w h e r e o n l y as a r e s u l t of this s t r u g g l e of i n d i v i d u a l a t o m s a n d of e l e c t r i c a n d m a g n e t i c fields s u b s t a n c e s a r e c r e a t e d in o n e p l a c e a n d d e s t r o y e d in a n o t h e r . T h e w o r l d is a v a s t l a b o r a t o r y , w h e r e all t h i n g s a r e c o n n e c t e d w i t h e a c h o t h e r like i n d i v i d u a l g e a r s in a m a c h i n e . A n d t h e m o d e r n c h e m i s t w h o h a s c o m e to r e p l a c e t h e old l a b o r a t o r y r e c l u s e sees e a c h a t o m i n a n e w l i g h t b y closely l i n k i n g its f a t e w i t h t h e fates of t h e u n i v e r s e . T h i s is w h y c h e m i s t r y is n o w c o m i n g so close to geochemistry. T o d a y a scientist h a s n e w o b j e c t i v e s : it is n o t e n o u g h for h i m t o d e s c r i b e i n d i v i d u a l p h e n o m e n a , s e p a r a t e f a c t s of s u r r o u n d i n g n a t u r e o r o b s e r v e t h e results of s o m e e x p e r i m e n t s i n his l a b o r a t o r y . H e is s t u d y i n g s u b s t a n c e , i.e., h e m u s t u n d e r s t a n d h o w a n d w h y it c a m e t o b e a n d w h a t will b e c o m e of it. E x t e n s i v e r e a s o n i n g of a p h i l o s o p h e r a b o u t t h e l a w s of n a t u r e will n o l o n g e r d o f o r h i m ; h e m u s t s t u d y t h e i r e t e r n a l c o u r s e in t h e
373

p h e n o m e n a a r o u n d us; he must discover the complex relations between the individual p h e n o m e n a . An investigator must not dispassionately sketch or p h o t o g r a p h individual n a t u r a l p h e n o m e n a , h e m u s t strive to c o n q u e r a n d subo r d i n a t e t h e m t o his will. T h e n e w i n v e s t i g a t o r m u s t n o t b e a n a r t i s a n in his l a b o r a t o r y , b u t a c r e a t o r of n e w i d e a s b o r n in t h e s t r u g g l e a g a i n s t n a t u r e for t h e c o n q u e s t of t h e w o r l d . N o w t h e c h e m i s t , like t h e a s t r o n o m e r , m u s t f o r e s e e t h i n g s : his e x p e r i e n c e is n o t a series of s e p a r a t e a c c i d e n t a l r e a c t i o n s i n t h e testt u b e s of his l a b o r a t o r y ; his e x p e r i e n c e is b o r n as t h e f r u i t of c r e a t i v e t h o u g h t , scientific f a n t a s y , a n d p r o f o u n d q u e s t s . T h e m o d e r n c h e m i s t m u s t u n d e r s t a n d t h a t scientific v i c t o r y is n o t w o n all a t o n c e , t h a t it g r o w s g r a d u a l l y b y l o n g v e r i f i c a t i o n a n d n o u r i s h i n g of s e p a r a t e ideas, t h a t it is a c h i e v e d o n l y as a r e s u l t of c o n t i n u o u s q u e s t s o v e r a p e r i o d s o m e t i m e s of g e n e r a t i o n s of scientists, t h a t it is n o t i n f r e q u e n t l y t h e last d r o p t h a t overfills t h e c u p . T h a t is w h y d i s c o v e r i e s i n m o d e r n s c i e n c e a r e f r e q u e n t l y m a d e at the same time in different countries, a n d the greatest ideas for conq u e r i n g t h e w o r l d t h a t s u r r o u n d s us o c c u r a l m o s t s i m u l t a n e o u s l y t o m a n y scientists. S u c c e s s i n w o r k d e p e n d s o n t h e a b i l i t y t o o b s e r v e a n d collect f a c t s . I n t h e field of g e o c h e m i s t r y this is o n e of t h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t p r o b lems. W e m u s t confess t h a t in t h e i r f a s c i n a t i o n w i t h a t h e o r y a n d sometimes w i t h logically h a r m o n i o u s generalizations investigators cease to o b s e r v e a n d d o n o t sec t h a t w h i c h is u n c l e a r , w h i c h d o e s n o t a g r e e w i t h t h e i r f o r m e r c o n c e p t i o n s a n d w h i c h is t h e k e y t o n e w discoveries. T h e a b i l i t y t o sense w h a t is n e w a n d t o r e j e c t in g o o d t i m e t h e o l d , c u s t o m a r y h y p o t h e s e s , is a q u a l i t y i n d i s p e n s a b l e t o a r e a l scientist. W h a t if m a n y p e o p l e t h i n k t h a t it is a n a c c i d e n t t h a t is r e s p o n s i b l e f o r a d i s c o v e r y , t h a t R o e n t g e n a c c i d e n t a l l y n o t i c e d t h e a c t i o n of X - r a y s on a luminescent screen, a n d t h a t the investigator has accidentally d i s c o v e r e d v a s t a c c u m u l a t i o n s of m a n g a n e s e c a r b o n a t e in f a r - o f f S i b e r i a ! T h i s a c c i d e n t , h o w e v e r , is a l w a y s n o t h i n g b u t t h e s u b t l e s t a b i l i t y t o sense t h e n e w . T o t h i n k of t h e n u m b e r of i n v e s t i g a t o r s w h o f o r a p e r i o d of manyyears passed n e a r white rocks considering t h e m simple limestones, tested t h e m w i t h h y d r o c h l o r i c a c i d , c o n v i n c e d t h e m s e l v e s t h a t t h e y
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C h e m i c a l utensils m a d e of glass

hissed a n d w e n t a w a y ! But they should h a v e noticed t h a t in some places in fissures a n d on t h e surface, these w h i t e rocks were covered by a black crust, t h a t this crust was n o t s o m e t h i n g alien a n d t h a t it seemed to be b o r n of t h e w h i t e stone. I t is thus t h e largest m a n g a n e s e deposits were discovered in Siberia. A n d it was n o a c c i d e n t t h a t discovered t h e m ; it was p r o f o u n d a n d consistent observation a n d the k n o w l e d g e of facts t h a t led to this discovery. T h e r e is o n e m o r e aspect in this ability to observe w h i c h was so r e m a r k a b l y noticed b y L o m o n o s o v . H e said t h a t observation should give rise to a theory a n d t h a t t h e t h e o r y should correct t h e o b s e r v a t i o n ; h e was perfectly right, because every subtle a n d skilful observation is
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b o r n of a t h e o r y , a n d e a c h t h e o r y m a k e s sense o n l y w h e n it is b a s e d o n a n e n o r m o u s n u m b e r of a c c u r a t e l y o b s e r v e d a n d p r e c i s e l y d e s c r i b e d facts. W h a t m u s t a r e a l g e o c h e m i s t b e like, t h e n ? H e must be purposeful; he must pursue a definite aim unwaveri n g l y ; h e m u s t b e a t h o u g h t f u l o b s e r v e r ; h e m u s t h a v e a lively y o u n g i m a g i n a t i o n ; h e m u s t h a v e t h e y o u t h of m i n d a n d s o u l w h i c h a r e n o t d e t e r m i n e d b y a g e , b u t b y t h e s e n s i t i v i t y of his v e r y n a t u r e . H e m u s t possess e n o r m o u s p a t i e n c e , m e t t l e and i n d u s t r y a n d , a b o v e all, t h e a b i l i t y to see a t h i n g t h r o u g h to the end. I t is n o t w i t h o u t r e a s o n t h a t B e n j a m i n F r a n k l i n , o n e of t h e m o s t p r o m i n e n t scientists, said t h a t g e n i u s w a s t h e c a p a c i t y f o r e n d l e s s work. B u t a scientist m u s t a t t h e s a m e t i m e h a v e c o m m o n sense a n d scientific f a n t a s y . H e m u s t h a v e f a i t h in his w o r k a n d in his t h o u g h t ; h e m u s t b e c o n v i n c e d of t h e c o r r e c t n e s s of his t h o u g h t , b e b o l d i n d e f e n d i n g i t ; h e m u s t b e e n t h u s i a s t i c a b o u t h i s w o r k a n d l o v e it. E n t h u s i a s m in w o r k is o n e of t h e * m o s t i m p o r t a n t r e q u i s i t e s f o r v i c t o r y . T h e a r t i s a n s in s c i e n c e h a v e n e v e r m a d e a single i m p o r t a n t discovery. W i t h o u t e n t h u s i a s m it is i m p o s s i b l e t o c o n q u e r t h e w o r l d , a n d t h i s e n t h u s i a s m is b o r n n o t so m u c h of t h e f a s c i n a t i o n of c r e a t i v c n e s s itself, as of t h e u n d e r s t a n d i n g of t h e role a n d of t h e r e s p o n s i b l e task w h i c h m a n d i s c h a r g e s i n his c r e a t i v e e n d e a v o u r s . F a s c i n a t i o n w i t h t h e i d e a of r a i s i n g t h e l i v i n g s t a n d a r d s , f e r v e n t d e s i r e t o s u b d u e life's sinister forces, t h e s t r i v i n g t o b u i l d a n e w a n d b e t t e r w o r l d a n d to g i v e it n e w r e s o u r c e s a n d o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r m a s t e r i n g all t h e a c c u m u l a t e d k n o w l e d g e is t h e a i m of life of t h e n e w m a n in the new, free country. And it is o n l y t h u s t h a t t h e w o r l d c a n b e conquered. I n his a u t o b i o g r a p h y C h a r l e s D a r w i n s a i d : " . . . m y success as a m a n of science, w h a t e v e r this m a y h a v e a m o u n t e d to, h a s b e e n d e t e r m i n e d , as f a r as I c a n j u d g e , b y c o m p l e x a n d d i v e r s i f i e d m e n t a l q u a l i ties a n d c o n d i t i o n s . O f these, t h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t h a v e b e e n — t h e love of s c i e n c e — u n b o u n d e d p a t i e n c e in l o n g r e f l e c t i n g o v e r a n y s u b j e c t — i n d u s t r y in o b s e r v i n g a n d c o l l e c t i n g f a c t s - a n d a f a i r s h a r e of i n v e n t i o n as well as of c o m m o n - s e n s e . "

T h e s e a r e t h e t r a i t s w e n o w w a n t t o see i n t h e g c o c h e m i s t . T h e y a r e n o t b o r n in m a n all a t o n c e ; t h e y a r e t r a i n e d b y p e r s i s t e n t w o r k ; they do not come into the world with the individual, but are educated a n d d e v e l o p e d i n c r e a t i v e life. T h e g r e a t e s t c o n q u e s t s of c h e m i c a l t h o u g h t p a s s b e f o r e o u r eyes a n d t h o u s a n d s of e x a m p l e s s h o w us h o w n a t u r e is v a n q u i s h e d b y t h e e n t h u s i a s t s of science.

FANTASTIC TRIP THROUGH MENDELEYEV'S PERIODIC TABLE
" W h a t d o y o u p r o p o s e t o e x h i b i t as t h e m o s t r e m a r k a b l e a c h i e v e m e n t of R u s s i a n s c i e n c e ? " I w a s a s k e d b y o n e of t h e o r g a n i z e r s of t h e A i l - U n i o n E x h i b i t i o n of S c i e n c e a n d E n g i n e e r i n g , t o b e h e l d i n Moscow a few years later. " W e m u s t e x h i b i t s o m e t h i n g t h e like of w h i c h c a n n o t b e f o u n d a n y w h e r e else i n t h e w o r l d a n d w h i c h w o u l d s h o w t h e g l o r y a n d p o w e r of S o v i e t s c i e n c e i n its g r a d u a l d e v e l o p m e n t since L o m o n o s o v t o o u r time." W e w e r e c a r r i e d a w a y b y this i d e a ; w e t a l k e d t o c h e m i s t s a n d g e o l o gists a n d s u b m i t t e d o u r p r o p o s a l . A t first it a p p e a r e d t o o g r a n d a n d f a n t a s t i c , b u t l a t e r o u r critics a g r e e d w i t h u s ; t h e i d e a f a s c i n a t e d t h e m a n d t h e y b e g a n t o d e v e l o p it t o g e t h e r w i t h us.
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I m a g i n e a b u i l d i n g in t h e f o r m of a n e n o r m o u s c o n e o r p y r a m i d of c h r o m i u m - p l a t e d steel 2 0 t o 2 5 m e t r e s h i g h , a p p r o x i m a t e l y like o u r five- o r six-storey h o u s e s . A g r a n d s p i r a l s q u a r e d i n t o b o x e s r u n s a r o u n d t h e c o n e ; t h e b o x e s a r e a r r a n g e d as i n M e n d e l e y e v ' s s y s t e m t o f o r m ' l o n g series a n d v e r t i c a l g r o u p s . E a c h b o x is a s m a l l r o o m a n d is o c c u p i e d b y a n i n d i v i d u a l e l e m e n t . T h o u s a n d s of s p e c t a t o r s d e s c e n d t h e s p i r a l e x a m i n i n g i n e a c h b o x t h e f a t e of a n i n d i v i d u a l e l e m e n t in t h e m a n n e r t h e y w o u l d e x a m i n e a b e a s t i n a c a g e of t h e Z o o . T o rise t o t h e t o p of t h e e n o r m o u s c o n e of M e n d e l e y e v ' s P e r i o d i c T a b l e y o u e n t e r t h e " e l e m e n t a r i u m " o n t h e g r o u n d . A t first a l m o s t complete darkness envelops you a n d only separate red tongues begin,
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a s it w e r e , t o lick y o u r f e e t a n d y o u a r e g r a d u a l l y s u r r o u n d e d b y a s e e t h i n g m a s s o f a b o i l i n g fiery m e l t . Y o u find y o u r s e l f i n t h e g l a z e d c a b i n o f a l a r g e lift. T h e m o l t e n o c e a n of t h e e a r t h ' s i n t e r i o r is all a r o u n d y o u . T h e c a b i n s l o w l y rises a m i d t h e t o n g u e s of fire a n d t h e streams of m o l t e n masses. T h e first p o i n t s o f h a r d e n e d c r y s t a l l i z e d s u b s t a n c e s of t h e m a g m a m a k e t h e i r a p p e a r a n c e s . T h e y a r e still floating i n t h e m e l t , a r e r u s h i n g a b o u t in masses a n d a r e g r a d u a l l y a c c u m u l a t e d in s e p a r a t e sections i n t h e f o r m of g l i t t e r i n g s p a r k l e t s , o f h a r d e n i n g r o c k s . N o w the cabin has o n t h e r i g h t . Y o u see a n d iron. T h e black ores a n d a m i d t h e m these first m e t a l s of a l r e a d y t o u c h e d t h i s c o o l e d m a g m a of t h e i n t e r i o r t h e d a r k still r e d - h o t b a s i c r o c k r i c h i n m a g n e s i u m s p o t s o f c h r o m i t e m e r g e i n t o b a n d s of c h r o m i u m y o u see t h e c r y s t a l s o f p l a t i n u m a n d o s m i r i d i u m , t h e e a r t h ' s i n t e r i o r , s p a r k l i n g like s t a r s .

T h e c a b i n is g r a d u a l l y m o v i n g p a s t s u c h a d a r k - g r e e n b o u l d e r . I n its l o n g h i s t o r y t h i s b o u l d e r b r o k e u p m a n y t i m e s a n d w a s a g a i n s o l d e r e d b y s o m e fiery l i q u i d m e l t . S h i n y l i t t l e c r y s t a l s of t r a n s p a r e n t s t o n e g l i t t e r a m i d t h e d a r k g r e e n c r y s t a l s . T h e s e a r e c r y s t a l s of d i a m o n d s which w e r e b r o u g h t out into similar d i a m o n d - b e a r i n g pipes in South Africa. Y o u g e t t h e i m p r e s s i o n t h e c a b i n is r i s i n g f a s t e r a n d f a s t e r . Y o u l e a v e t h e d a r k g r e e n r o c k s of i r o n a n d m a g n e s i u m b e l o w . H e r e c o n t i n u o u s m a s s e s of g r e y a n d b r o w n r o c k s — d i o r i t e s , s y e n i t e s a n d g a b b r o s — m a k e their a p p e a r a n c e ; white veins g l e a m here a n d there a m o n g t h e m . T h e cabin suddenly takes a s h a r p t u r n to the right, a n d runs i n t o m o l t e n g r a n i t e s a t u r a t e d w i t h gases, v a p o u r s a n d r a r e m e t a l s ; it is all i m p r e g n a t e d w i t h a h o t f o g . Y o u c a n h a r d l y m a k e o u t t h e i n d i v i d u a l solid crystals in t h e c h a o s of t h e m o l t e n g r a n i t e . O h , t h e t e m p e r a t u r e h e r e h a s a l r e a d y r e a c h e d ,8oo° C . ! H o t v a p o u r s b r e a k out to the surface in stormy streams a n d with e x p l o s i o n s . H e r e y o u s e e a h a r d e n i n g m a s s of g r a n i t e still p i e r c e d b y m o l t e n r e m a i n s of t h e s a m e g r a n i t e . T h e s e a r e t h e f a m o u s pegmatites in which t h e beautiful crystals of precious stones a r e b o r n ; these i n c l u d e smoky morions, green beryls, b l u e topazes, rock crystals a n d amethysts. A n d t h r o u g h t h e fog of t h e cooling v a p o u r s t h e c a b i n goes p a s t r e m a r k a b l e p i c t u r e s o f p e g m a t i t e c a v i t i e s . H e r e y o u see l a r g e s m o k y quartzes m o r e t h a n a m e t r e in d i a m e t r e a n d next to t h e m already •S79

f o r m e d c r y s t a l s of f e l d s p a r . P l a t e s of m i c a g r o w slowly o n t h e i r s u r f a c e a n d a b o v e t h e m g l e a m smoky quartzes. M a r v e l l o u s rock crystals s e e m to p i e r c e t h e c a v i t y w i t h a t r a n s p a r e n t forest of l a n c e s . T h e c a b i n rises h i g h e r . L i l a c b r u s h e s of a m e t h y s t s e n v e l o p it o n all sides. I t b r e a k s o u t of t h e p e g m a t i t e v e i n a n d n o w n e w p i c t u r e s a t t r a c t y o u r a t t e n t i o n — v e i n s of v a r i o u s t h i c k n e s s b r a n c h o f f n o w t o t h e left a n d n o w t o t h e r i g h t ; n o w y o u see c o n t i n u o u s t r u n k s of w h i t e m i n e r a l s a n d g l i t t e r i n g s u l p h i d e s a n d n o w t h i n v e i n s h a r d l y visible to t h e e y e a n d closely r e s e m b l i n g b r a n c h e s of a t r e e . E n t i r e sections of t h e g r a n i t e r o c k a r e i m p r e g n a t e d w i t h b r o w n c r y s t a l s of t i n s t o n e a n d y e l l o w - p i n k m a s s e s of s c h e e l i t e . T h e e l e c t r i c l i g h t in t h e c a b i n is t u r n e d off. Y o u find y o u r s e l f i n d a r k n e s s . T h e levers of a p o w e r f u l m a c h i n e a r e t u r n e d a n d it b e g i n s t o e m i t i n v i s i b l e u l t r a violet r a y s ; t h e d a r k walls a r e n o w i l l u m i n e d b y n e w l i g h t s ; n o w w i t h t h e d e l i c a t e g r e e n of t h e s c h e e l i t e c r y s t a l s a n d n o w w i t h t h e y e l l o w of t h e c a l c i t e g r a i n s . T h e m i n e r a l s s p a r k l e , p l a y a n d g l i t t e r w i t h t h e p h o s p h o r i c l i g h t a n d a m i d t h e m y o u see d a r k spots of t h e c o m p o u n d s of h e a v y m e t a l s . T h e n t h e l i g h t goes o n a g a i n . T h e c a b i n leaves t h e c o n t a c t z o n e s of g r a n i t e s a n d m o v e s a l o n g o n e of t h e p o w e r f u l t r u n k s r i s i n g f r o m t h e g r a n i t e massif. T h e c a b i n slows d o w n a n d y o u rise a l o n g a r e a l lode. T h e cabin n o w runs into a c o n t i n u o u s q u a r t z body. Black s h a r p crystals of t u n g s t e n o r e s p i e r c e t h e q u a r t z e s a n d s e v e r a l h u n d r e d m e t r e s f u r t h e r u p t h e first g l i t t e r i n g s p a r k l e t s of s u l p h i d e s , t h e s e s i l v e r y - y e l l o w crystals of c o m p o u n d s of i r o n a n d s u l p h u r m a k e their a p p e a r a n c e . T h e s e are followed by blinding bright-yellow sparkles. " L o o k , t h e r e is g o l d ! " o n e of y o u e x c l a i m s . T h i n v e i n s p i e r c e s n o w w h i t e q u a r t z e s . T h e c a b i n rises s e v e r a l h u n d r e d m e t r e s m o r e . I n s t e a d of t h e g o l d y o u n o w see t h e g l i t t e r i n g s t e e l - g r e y c r y s t a l s of g a l e n a , t h e n t h e z i n c - b l e n d e w h i c h s p a r k l e s like d i a m o n d , v a r i o u s s u l p h i d e ores, s h o t w i t h t h e c o l o u r s of all m e t a l s , t h e o r e s of l e a d , silver, c o b a l t a n d nickel. H i g h e r u p t h e veins g r o w lighter. T h e c a b i n n o w moves t h r o u g h soft l i m e s p a r p i e r c e d b y n e e d l e s of silvery s t i b n i t e a n d s o m e t i m e s b y b l o o d - r e d c r y s t a l s of c i n n a b a r . F a r t h e r o n y o u see t h e c o n t i n u o u s y e l l o w a n d r e d masses of a r s e n i c c o m p o u n d s . T h e c a b i n m a k e s its w a y w i t h i n c r e a s i n g e a s e ; h o t v a p o u r s a n d t h e n h o t s o l u t i o n s h a v e l o n g since r e p l a c e d t h e h o t m e l t s .
380

T h e c a b i n is n o w s h o w e r e d b y h o t m i n e r a l s p r i n g s . T h e y s e e t h e a n d boil w i t h t h e b u b b l e s of c a r b o n d i o x i d e a n d m a k e t h e i r w a y t h r o u g h t h e s e d i m e n t a r y r o c k s w h i c h s h a c k l e t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t . Y o u see t h e m c o r r o d i n g t h e w a l l s of l i m e s t o n e s , d e p o s i t i n g z i n c a n d l e a d ores in t h e m . T h e hot mineral springs carry the cabin higher a n d higher a n d b e a u t i f u l l i m e s t a l a c t i t e s h a n g f r o m t h e walls a r o u n d y o u ; t h e s e a r e n o w s t a l a c t i t e s of b r o w n a r a g o n i t e ( C a r l s b a d s t o n e ) a n d n o w b e a u t i f u l s e d i m e n t s of p a r t i c o l o u r e d m a r b l e o n y x . B u t t h e p a t h s of t h e h o t s p r i n g s b r a n c h o u t a n d t h i n s t r e a m s b r e a k t h r o u g h t o t h e e a r t h ' s s u r f a c e , t h u s c r e a t i n g geysers a n d m i n e r a l w a t e r s . O u r c a b i n is n o w m o v i n g t h r o u g h s e d i m e n t a r y r o c k s ; it is c u t t i n g t h r o u g h l a y e r s of coal a n d r u n n i n g i n t o s t r a t a ol P e r m i a n salts; pict u r e s of t h e d i s t a n t p a s t of t h e e a r t h ' s s u r f a c e o p e n t h e m s e l v e s b e f o r e y o u r eyes. N o w h e a v y l i q u i d d r o p s fall a n d o b s c u r e t h e glass walls of t h e c a b i n . T h i s is oil a n d v a r i o u s b i t u m e n s in t h e s a n d s of t h e sedim e n t a r y rocks. T h e c a b i n c u t s t h r o u g h s e p a r a t e h o r i z o n s . U n d e r g r o u n d w a t e r s s h o w e r t h e walls of t h e c a b i n a g a i n ; it is n o w p a s s i n g t h r o u g h a c o n t i n u o u s wall of h a r d s a n d s t o n e s ; soft l i m e s t o n e s a n d a r g i l l a c e o u s slates s u r r o u n d t h e c a b i n t h u s s h o w i n g y o u t h e v a r i e g a t e d p a t t e r n of t h e past fates of t h e e a r t h . T h e c a b i n c o m e s ever closer t o t h e s u r f a c e of t h e e a r t h . O n e m o r e r u s h in its r a p i d m o t i o n a n d t h e c a b i n stops. A b r i g h t ( l a m e rises t o m e e t y o u a n d s n o w - w h i t e c l o u d s of w a t e r v a p o u r s of m a g i c f o r m c o v e r t h e sky. Y o u h a v e c o m e t o t h e t o p of M e n d e l e y e v ' s P e r i o d i c T a b l e . B e f o r e y o u r v e r y eyes h y d r o g e n is b u r n i n g i n t o c l o u d s of w a t e r v a p o u r s .
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Y o u a r e o n t h e t o p p l a t f o r m of M e n d e l e y e v ' s t a b l e . A s t e e p spiral l e a d s y o u g r a d u a l l y d o w n w a r d s . Y o u h o l d o n to t h e b a n i s t e r ol c h r o m i u m - p l a t e d steel a n d b e g i n y o u r d e s c e n t . H e r e is t h e first b o x . I n s c r i b e d o n it in l a r g e l e t t e r s is t h e w o r d " H e l i u m . " It is a r a n - n o b l e gas, first d i s c o v e r e d in t h e s u n , a g a s t h a t i m p r e g n a t e s t h e e n t i r e e a r t h , t h e stones, t h e w a t e r s a n d t h e a i r . H e l i u m is a n o m n i p r e s e n t g a s a n d w e s e a r c h for it in o r d e r t o fill o u r d i r i g i b l e s . H e r e in this s m a l l r o o m d e v o t e d to h e l i u m y o u see its e n t i r e h i s t o r y f r o m t h e b r i g h t g r e e n lines of i h e s o l a r c o r o n a , t o t h e black

u n a s s u m i n g c l e v e i t e , t h e s t o n e from t h e S c a n d i n a v i a n v e i n s f r o m w h i c h h e l i u m , t h e g a s of t h e s u n , c a n b e e x t r a c t e d w i t h a p u m p . Y o u l e a n c a r e f u l l y o v e r t h e b a n i s t e r a n d see five m o r e b o x e s u n d e r t h a t of h e l i u m . T h e n a m e s of o t h e r n o b l e g a s e s — n e o n , a r g o n , k r y p t o n , x e n o n a n d r a d o n , the r a d i u m e m a n a t i o n — a r e inscribed in t h e m in fiery letters. T h e s p e c t r a l lines of t h e n o b l e gases a r e s u d d e n l y t u r n e d o n a n d e v e r y t h i n g is i l l u m i n e d b y b r i g h t c o l o u r s . T h e o r a n g e a n d r e d s h a d e s of n e o n a r e f o l l o w e d b y t h e b l u i s h t i n t s of a r g o n . L o n g t r e m b l i n g b a n d s of b l u i s h h e a v y gases c o m p l e t e t h e p i c t u r e , w h i c h , is v e r y f a m i l i a r t o us b y t h e l u m i n e s c e n t s h o p a d v e r t i s e m e n t s i n t h e c i t y . A l i g h t g o e s o n a g a i n a n d y o u see t h e b o x of l i t h i u m . I t is t h e l i g h t e s t a l k a l i m e t a l . Y o u see its e n t i r e . h i s t o r y all t h e w a y t o t h e a i r c r a f t of t h e f u t u r e . Y o u l e a n o v e r a g a i n a n d a g a i n y o u see t h e l u m i n o u s l e t t e r s of its a n a l o g u e s : t h e y e l l o w c o l o u r of s o d i u m , t h e violet of p o t a s s i u m , t h e r e d s h a d e s of t h e signs i n d i c a t i n g r u b i d i u m a n d t h e b l u e c o l o u r of c e s i u m . T h u s , gradually, step by step, e l e m e n t after e l e m e n t you m a k e t h e r o u n d s of t h e g r e a t M e n d e l e y e v P e r i o d i c T a b l e d o w n t h e s p i r a l , a n d all w e h a v e t o l d y o u a b o u t i n t h e p a g e s of t h i s b o o k , t h e e n t i r e h i s t o r y of t h e i n d i v i d u a l c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s is s h o w n h e r e i n v i v i d , r e a l s p e c i m e n s , in t h e v e r y h i s t o r y of e a c h e l e m e n t r a t h e r t h a n in separate words or pictures. C a n y o u t h i n k of a n y t h i n g m o r e f a b u l o u s t h a n t h e b o x of c a r b o n , t h e basis of life a n d of t h e e n t i r e w o r l d ? T h e e n t i r e h i s t o r y of t h e d e v e l o p m e n t of l i v i n g s u b s t a n c e passes h e r e b e f o r e y o u r v e r y eyes as well as t h e e n t i r e h i s t o r y of t h e d e a t h of this s u b s t a n c e w h e n life b u r i e d in t h e i n t e r i o r of t h e e a r t h is t r a n s f o r m e d i n t o c o a l a n d l i v i n g p r o t o p l a s m i n t o l i q u i d oil. A n d i n t h e r e m a r k a b l e p i c t u r e of t h e c o m p l e x w o r l d of t h e h u n d r e d s of t h o u s a n d s of c h e m i c a l c o m p o u n d s of c a r b o n y o u r a t t e n t i o n is a t t r a c t e d b y its b e g i n n i n g a n d its e n d . H e r e is a n e n o r m o u s d i a m o n d c r y s t a l . N o , this is n o t t h e f a m o u s " C u l l i n a n " c u t i n t o p i e c e s f o r t h e E n g l i s h k i n g : it is t h e " O r l o v . " I t is set i n a g o l d e n c a n e , t h e s c e p t r e of t h e R u s s i a n tsars. A t t h e e n d of t h e s a m e r o o m y o u c o m e u p o n a l a y e r of c o a l . A m i n e r ' s pick c u t s i n t o t h e c o a l a n d pieces of t h i s p l a i n - l o o k i n g s t o n e a r e t r a n s p o r t e d b y a l o n g c o n v e y e r t o t h e s u r f a c e . T h i s is t h e i n d u s t r y ' s s t a f f of life.
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T h e n y o u g o t w o m o r e t u r n s d o w n t h e s p i r a l a n d b e f o r e y o u is a r o o m w i t h b r i g h t c o l o u r s : y e l l o w , g r e e n a n d r e d s t o n e s s p a r k l e iridesc e n t l y . H e r e y o u h a v e t h e m i n e s of C e n t r a l A f r i c a a n d t h e r e t h e d a r k c a v e s of A s i a . T h e film t u r n s slowly, p r e s e n t s p i c t u r e s of i n d i v i d u a l m i n e s a n d s h o w s t h e o r i g i n of m e t a l s . T h i s is v a n a d i u m , n a m e d a f t e r t h e l e g e n d a r y o l d S l a v i c g o d d e s s , b e c a u s e of t h e f a b u l o u s s t r e n g t h it i m p a r t s t o i r o n a n d steel b y m a k i n g t h e m h a r d a n d d u r a b l e , viscous, r e s i l i e n t a n d i n d e s t r u c t i b l e — t h e q u a l i t i e s so essential t o t h e a u t o m o b i l e a x l e . I n t h e s a m e r o o m y o u see axles m a d e of v a n a d i u m steel a f t e r m i l l i o n s of k i l o m e t r e s of s e r v i c e ; n e a r - b y y o u o b s e r v e b r o k e n a x l e s m a d e of o r d i n a r y steel w h i c h h a d n o t l a s t e d e v e n 10,000 kilometres. Y o u m a k e a few m o r e t u r n s d o w n the spiral. Pictures follow e a c h o t h e r . N o w y o u see i r o n — t h e basis of t h e w o r l d a n d of t h e i r o n i n d u s t r y , n o w o m n i p r e s e n t i o d i n e fills t h e s p a c e w i t h its a t o m , n o w s t r o n t i u m g l i t t e r i n g i n t h e r e d flares, a n d n o w t h e s h i n y m e t a l g a l l i u m w h i c h m e l t s i n t h e h a n d s of m a n . O h , h o w b e a u t i f u l t h e r o o m of g o l d is. I t g l i t t e r s w i t h t h o u s a n d s of lights. H e r e is g o l d i n w h i t e q u a r t z v e i n s a n d h e r e is t h e silvery, a l m o s t g r e e n g o l d of t h e T r a n s b a i k a l m i n e s ; t h e r e y o u o b s e r v e a g o l d e n s t r e a m l e t in a s m a l l m o d e l of t h e L e n i n o g o r s k c o n c e n t r a t i o n m i l l i n t h e A l t a i ; h e r e y o u see a n i r i d e s c e n t g o l d s o l u t i o n , a n d h e r e is finally t h e g o l d i n t h e h i s t o r y of m a n a n d his c u l t u r e . I t is t h e m e t a l of w e a l t h a n d c r i m e , t h e m e t a l of w a r , p l u n d e r a n d v i o l e n c e . T h e v a u l t s of t h e s t a t e b a n k s w i t h g o l d b u l l i o n pass b e f o r e y o u r eyes i n v i v i d c o l o u r s ; y o u see d e p r e s s i n g p i c t u r e s of s l a v e l a b o u r i n t h e f a m o u s W i t w a t e r s r a n d m i n e s a n d of t h e b a n k e r s w h o s h a p e t h e f a t e s of stock c o m p a n i e s a n d t h e v a l u e of c u r r e n c y . O n l y o n e m o r e s t e p a n d y o u a r e i n a r o o m of a n o t h e r m e t a l — l i q u i d m e r c u r y . A s a t t h e f a m o u s P a r i s e x h i b i t i o n of 1937 t h e r e is a f o u n t a i n i n t h e m i d d l e of t h e r o o m , b u t it is o n e of l i q u i d silver m e r c u r y r a t h e r t h a n of w a t e r . I n t h e r i g h t c o r n e r y o u see a s m a l l s t e a m e n g i n e b e a t i n g t i m e w i t h its p i s t o n s a n d w o r k i n g o n m e r c u r y gas, w h i l e o n t h e left y o u o b s e r v e t h e e n t i r e h i s t o r y of t h i s v o l a t i l e m e t a l , its d i s p e r s i o n i n t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t , t h e b l o o d - r e d d r o p s of c i n n a b a r in t h e s a n d s t o n e s of D o n e t s B a s i n a n d t h e l i q u i d d r o p s of m e r c u r y in t h e S p a n i s h m i n e s . B u t y o u g o o n . B e y o n d t h e b o x e s of l e a d a n d b i s m u t h y o u r u n into some i n c o m p r e h e n s i b l e picture. T h e elements a n d t h e boxes

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all m i x e d u p . Y o u 110 l o n g e r f i n d a n y c l a r i t y o r d i s t i n c t n e s s in s e p a r a t e s q u a r e s . Y o u h a v e e n t e r e d a s p h e r e of s p e c i a l a t o m s of M c n d e l e y e v s y s t e m . Y o u f i n d n o m o r e d u r a b i l i t y o r s t a b i l i t y in familiar metals. S o m e t h i n g vague a n d new a p p e a r s before y o u ; t h e n t h e fog lifts a n d y o u see a f a b u l o u s p i c t u r e .

T h e a t o m s of u r a n i u m a n d t h o r i u m d o n o t s t a y in t h e i r p l a c e s . T h e y e m i t r a y s of s o m e k i n d a n d g i v e rise t o t h e g l o b u l a r a t o m s of helium. O u r a t o m s leave their h a b i t u a l boxes. H e r e they j u m p into t h e s q u a r e o c c u p i e d by r a d i u m , shed a mysterious light, a r e t r a n s f o r m e d , as in a f a i r y - t a l e , i n t o a n invisible g a s c a l l e d r a d o n , t h e n r u n b a c k a g a i n t h r o u g h M e n d e l e y e v ' s P e r i o d i c T a b l e a n d d i e b e f o r e y o u r veryeyes in t h e b o x b e l o n g i n g to l e a d . B u t h e r e is a n o t h e r a n d m o r e f r i g h t f u l p i c t u r e t h a t r e p l a c e s t h e first o n e ; s o m e v e r y r a p i d l y Hying a t o m s s t r i k e u r a n i u m , b r e a k it i n t o pieces w i t h a g r e a t noise a n d t h e a t o m of u r a n i u m b r e a k s u p e m i t t i n g b r i l l i a n t r a y s ; s o m e w h e r e h i g h in o u r s p i r a l y o u see it flash in t h e b o x of t h e r a r e e a r t h s a n d t h e n it r u n s d o w n t h e s p i r a l a g a i n , stops in s e p a r a t e b o x e s of a l i e n m e t a l s a n d g r a d u a l l y dies s o m e w h e r e near platinum. W h a t h a s h a p p e n e d to o u r a t o m s ? H a v e n ' t t h e y v i o l a t e d o u r l a w s ? H a v e n ' t t h e y s h a k e n o u r c o n v i c t i o n t h a t e a c h a t o m is a n i n v a r i a b l e a n d constant n a t u r a l brick, t h a t n o t h i n g can c h a n g e or transform it, t h a t s t r o n t i u m will a l w a y s r e m a i n s t r o n t i u m a n d a n a t o m of z i n c will a l w a y s b e ail a t o m of z i n c ? Y o u a r e t e r r i b l y d i s a p p o i n t e d . D e s p i t e all w e h a v e s a i d , t h e a t o m proved unstable. You have entered some new world where the atom t u r n s o u t to b e i n c o n s t a n t , w h e r e it c a n b e b r o k e n u p , n o t d e s t r o y e d but changed into another one. A n d t h r o u g h t h e fog of t h e e n d of M e n d e l e y e v ' s t a b l e , a m i d t h e g l i t t e r i n g s p a r k s of t h e f l y i n g a t o m s of h e l i u m a n d t h e X - r a y s y o u d e s c e n d to (he last steps of t h e s p i r a l i n t o u n k n o w n d e p t h s . N o w y o u a r e n o t d e s c e n d i n g i n t o t h e i n t e r i o r of t h e e a r t h , b u t i n t o t h a t of t h e b u r n i n g s t a r s s h i n i n g in t h e sky. Y o u a r e g o i n g t o w h e r e t h e t e m p e r a t u r e s a r e m e a s u r e d b y h u n d r e d s of m i l l i o n s of d e g r e e s , w h e r e t h e p r e s s u r e c a n n o t b e e x p r e s s e d in a n y v a l u e s of o u r a t m o s p h e r e s , w h e r e t h e a t o m s of M e n d e l e y e v ' s P e r i o d i c T a b l e s p a r k l e a n d b r e a k u p in f u r i o u s c h a o s . D o e s this m e a n , t h e n , t h a t all w e h a v e s a i d is w r o n g ? Is it at all
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possible t h a t t h e a l c h e m i s t s w e r e r i g h t w h e n t h e y w a n t e d to c h a n g e m e r c u r y t o g o l d ? W e r e t h e y r i g h t i n t r y i n g t o c r e a t e silver f r o m a r s e n i c a n d t h e " p h i l o s o p h e r ' s s t o n e " ? D o c s it m e a n t h a t t h e d r e a m e r s in s c i e n c e w e r e r i g h t w h e n t h e y said as f a r b a c k as 100 y e a r s a g o t h a t t h e a t o m s w e r e c h a n g i n g i n t o o n e a n o t h e r , t h a t in t h e c o m p l e x w o r l d s i n a c c e s s i b l e t o us t h e y w e r e b o r n f r o m e a c h o t h e r ? M e n d e l e y e v ' s P e r i o d i c T a b l e is n o t a t all a d e a d t a b l e , m e r e l y m a d e u p of b o x e s . I t is n o t o n l y a p i c t u r e of t h e p r e s e n t , b u t also o n e of t h e p a s t a n d of t h e f u t u r e ; it is a p i c t u r e of t h e m y s t e r i o u s processes of t h e u n i v e r s e i n w h i c h a t o m s a r e t r a n s f o r m e d i n t o o n e a n o t h e r . I t is t h e p i c t u r e of t h e s t r u g g l e f o r e x i s t e n c e t h a t p r e v a i l s i n t h e w o r l d of a t o m s . M e n d e l e y e v ' s P e r i o d i c T a b l e is a t a b l e of t h e h i s t o r y a n d t h e life of t h e u n i v e r s e . T h e a t o m itself is a p i e c e of t h e u n i v e r s e , c o n s t a n t l y c h a n g i n g its p l a c e i n t h e c o m p l e x series, g r o u p s a n d b o x e s of t h e table. Y o u h a v e c o m e t o t h e m o s t r e m a r k a b l e p i c t u r e of t h e s u r r o u n d i n g world.

25

FUTURE CONQUESTS
T h e s t o r m y d e v e l o p m e n t of p h y s i c s a n d c h e m i s t r y i n o u r d a y s is only the threshold to t h e u p s u r g e ever m o r e clearly outlined in science, i n d u s t r y a n d e c o n o m y . I b e l i e v e t h e a g e of c h e m i s t r y is c o m i n g ; t h e a g e i n w h i c h t h e g e n i u s of m a n will n o t o n l y s u b j u g a t e all t h e c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s , b u t will also a w a k e n all t h e forces of t h e a t o m a n d u t i l i z e t h e i m m e n s e r e s e r v e s of e n e r g y c o n c e a l e d i n e a c h m o l e c u l e , a t o m a n d e l e c t r i c p a r t i c l e . W h a t if t h e f o l l o w i n g p a g e s a p p e a r s o m e w h a t f a n t a s t i c ? T h e f a n t a s y of t o d a y is v e r y o f t e n t r a n s f o r m e d i n t o t h e e n g i n e e r i n g of t o m o r r o w . H a v e n ' t J u l e s V e r n e ' s f a n t a s i e s , w h i c h still f a s c i n a t e us, b e e n t r a n s f o r m e d i n t o r e a l i t y of t o d a y ! W e find a n e v e n g r e a t e r s c o p e of f a n t a s t i c t h o u g h t in o u r r e m a r k a b l e R u s s i a n scientist K . T s i o l k o v s k y a n d t h o u g h o n l y s o m e t h i r t y y e a r s h a v e e l a p s e d s i n c e his d a r i n g p r e d i c t i o n s , m u c h of w h a t h e w r o t e t h e n h a s a l r e a d y c o m e t r u e . W e m u s t , t h e r e f o r e , n e v e r f e a r scientific f a n t a s y n o r t a k e it as s o m e t h i n g a l r e a d y e x i s t i n g ; w e m u s t fight f o r it b e c a u s e f a n t a s y is o n e of t h e m e t h o d s of scientific work. I t w a s n o t w i t h o u t r e a s o n t h a t L e n i n said t h a t f a n t a s y w a s a q u a l i t y of t h e h i g h e s t v a l u e , t h a t it w a s w r o n g t o t h i n k t h a t o n l y p o e t s n e e d e d it, t h a t it w a s also n e c e s s a r y in m a t h e m a t i c s b e c a u s e e v e n t h e d i s c o v e r y of d i f f e r e n t i a l a n d i n t e g r a l c a l c u l u s w o u l d h a v e b e e n i m p o s s i b l e w i t h o u t fantasy. L e t us d a y - d r e a m t o g e t h e r a b o u t w h a t o u r e n g i n e e r i n g will b e like i n t h e h e y d a y of t h e c h e m i c a l sciences. I n t h e first p l a c e , w e will c o n q u e r t h e a i r , n o t o n l y b e c a u s e p l a n e s a n d r o c k e t s will rise a b o v e t h e c l o u d s , t o a n a l t i t u d e of 5 0 t o 100 kilo386

m e t r e s a n d will fly a t s p e e d s e x c e e d i n g t h e v e l o c i t y of s o u n d , b u t also b e c a u s e c h e m i s t r y will m a s t e r t h e a i r a n d will s u b o r d i n a t e it t o t h e p o w e r of m a n . A t l a r g e p l a n t s s c a t t e r e d t h r o u g h o u t t h e w o r l d , h e l i u m will b e e x t r a c t e d f r o m t h e a i r , t h e a i r will b e d i v i d e d i n t o o x y g e n a n d n i t r o g e n a n d w h o l e r i v e r s of l i q u i d o x y g e n will flow a l o n g a r t i f i c i a l l y c o o l e d p i p e s t o l a r g e i r o n a n d steel mills, w h e r e t h e s m e l t i n g of m e t a l i n b l a s t f u r n a c e s will b e c o m e as s i m p l e as e v a p o r a t i o n of w a t e r i n a l a b o r a t o r y test-tube. S i m i l a r p l a n t s will p r o d u c e p u r e n i t r o g e n t r a n s f o r m e d b y p o w e r f u l e l e c t r i c d i s c h a r g e s i n t o n i t r i c a c i d . L i f e - g i v i n g n i t r o g e n will b e u s e d as f e r t i l i z e r f o r o u r fields o n a v e r y l a r g e scale a n d will d o u b l e a n d t r e b l e t h e i r c r o p s . O t h e r p i p e s of t h e s a m e i n s t a l l a t i o n s of t h e a i r i n d u s t r y will c a r r y s t r e a m s of n o b l e g a s e s — l i q u i d n e o n , k r y p t o n a n d x e n o n — t o electric b u l b - m a n u f a c t u r i n g plants. B u t e v e n m o r e w o n d e r f u l will b e t h e v i c t o r y o v e r t h e l a y e r s of o z o n e w h i c h a r e f o r m e d u n d e r t h e i n f l u e n c e of t h e u l t r a - v i o l e t r a y s of t h e s u n a t a l t i t u d e s of h u n d r e d s of k i l o m e t r e s . W e k n o w t h a t t h e s e l a y e r s of o z o n e e n v e l o p t h e e a r t h , as it w e r e , by a continuous blanket, repelling radio waves a n d blocking the v i v i f y i n g a c t i o n of t h e u l t r a - v i o l e t r a y s . N o w , i m a g i n e this f a n t a s t i c p i c t u r e : e n o r m o u s e l e c t r i f i e d c o l u m n s of a m m o n i a c c o m p o u n d s rise t o a h e i g h t of s e v e r a l h u n d r e d k i l o m e t r e s , i.e., t o t h e f a m o u s o z o n e l a y e r ; t h e o z o n e b r e a k s u p , f r e e w i n d o w s a r e f o r m e d i n it a n d t h r o u g h t h e m t h e s u n s e n d s p o w e r f u l s t r e a m s of u l t r a - v i o l e t e l e c t r o m a g n e t i c w a v e s . I n s o m e p l a c e s t h e y d e s t r o y life, i n o t h e r s t h e y i m p a r t a m i g h t y f o r c e t o it a n d s e r v e as t h e s o u r c e of n e w , l i f e - g i v i n g e n e r g y . B u t t h e c o n q u e s t of t h e e a r t h ' s i n t e r i o r s e e m s e v e n m o r e f a n t a s t i c . T h e o c e a n of m a g m a b o i l i n g u n d e r o u r feet, t h e colossal a m o u n t s of h e a t c o n c e a l e d i n t h e e a r t h ' s e n t r a i l s will all c o m e w i t h i n t h e r e a c h of m a n . B y s p e c i a l m a i n s r u n n i n g t o a d e p t h of 2 0 t o 3 0 k i l o m e t r e s m a n will r e a c h t h e l a y e r s h e a t e d t o 5 0 0 a n d e v e n i , o o o ° C . ; h e will u t i l i z e t h e h e a t of t h e e a r t h ' s i n t e r i o r i n his t h e r m a l s t a t i o n s ; h e will s t o p d e s t r o y i n g forests a n d will c e a s e uselessly b u r n i n g c o a l w h i c h is so n e c e s s a r y f o r c h e m i c a l p r o c e s s e s ; h e will n o l o n g e r s p e n d oil f o r t h e r m a l installations.
25*
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M i l l i o n s of c a l o r i c s will c o m e t o t h e e a r t h ' s s u r f a c e a l o n g t h e s e pipes. T h e y will h e a t m a n ' s h o u s e s , f a c t o r i e s a n d e n t i r e r e g i o n s w i t h t h e i r h o t b r e a t h ; t h e y will m e l t t h e ice of t h e p o l a r c o u n t r i e s a n d will change the climate. Powerful refrigerators scattered t h r o u g h o u t the d e s e r t s will t r a n s f o r m t h e m i n t o f l o u r i s h i n g oases. B u t e v e n this will n o t b e e n o u g h f o r m a n . M a n will n o t .be c o n t e n t w i t h t h e h e a t t h a t will s p r e a d a l o n g t h e e n t i r e s u r f a c e of t h e e a r t h a t his c o m m a n d a n d will r e m o v e t h e d e f e c t s of t h e s u n ; h e will b r i n g t o t h e s u r f a c e t h e w e a l t h c o n c e a l e d in t h e i n t e r i o r of the earth. A n e w s t a g e in t h e s t r u g g l e f o r m a s t e r i n g t h e i n t e r i o r of t h e e a r t h is a l r e a d y b e g i n n i n g i n t h e S o v i e t U n i o n in k e e p i n g w i t h M e n d e leyev's brilliant predictions. I n t h e e a r t h ' s e n t r a i l s i n a c c e s s i b l e t o m i n i n g m a n is n o w b u r n i n g c o a l , a n d t h e p r o d u c t s of c o m b u s t i o n rise a l o n g p i p e s to t h e s u r f a c e a n d are utilized by industry. This does not require either mines or t h e h a r d w o r k of drillers, h e w e r s a n d w h e e l e r s ; a u t o m a t i o n , m e c h a n i z a t i o n a n d r e m o t e c o n t r o l m a k e it possible t o u t i l i z e t h e c o a l r e s e r v e s without going d o w n into the mines. M a n is a l r e a d y e x t r a c t i n g s u l p h u r f r o m d e e p u n d e r g r o u n d d e p o s i t s . S t e a m m e l t s t h e s u l p h u r i n t h e i n t e r i o r of t h e e a r t h , a n d its l i q u i d s t r e a m s p o u r o u t to t h e e a r t h ' s s u r f a c e ; n o w if w e p u m p s t e a m h e a t e d to 5 0 0 o r 6oo° C . i n t o veins, i n t o c o n c e n t r a t i o n s of h e a v y m e t a l sulp h i d e s , t h e p i p e s m a d e of a n e w s t a b l e m a t e r i a l will b r i n g us t h e sulp h i d e s of silver, l e a d a n d z i n c , r a t h e r t h a n m e r e s u l p h u r . P o w e r f u l l a y e r s of slates will b e b u r n t i n t h e i n t e r i o r of t h e e a r t h a n d will yield u s e f u l gases t o t h e s u r f a c e . S a l t s will b e dissolved a n d b r o u g h t t o t h e e a r t h ' s s u r f a c e in t h e f o r m of s o l u t i o n s . S t r o n g a c i d s o l u t i o n s will dissolve n a t u r a l s u b s t a n c e s a n d g i v e us salts f o r t h e e l e c t r o l y t i c p l a n t s . All of o u r e a r t h will b e p i e r c e d b y m i l l i o n s of steel p i p e s w h i c h will b e e x t r a c t i n g t h e s u b s t a n c e s r e q u i r e d b y m a n f r o m various depths. T h e v i c t o r y o v e r . m a t t e r will b e e v e n m o r e decisive w h e n c h e m i s t r y l e a r n s t o collect t h e d i s p e r s e d a t o m s of u r a n i u m a n d t o u t i l i z e t h e i r energy. Physicists n o w tell us t h a t t h e w o r l d r e s e r v e s of u r a n i u m e n e r g y a r e t r e m e n d o u s . By l e a r n i n g t o split t h e s e d i s i n t e g r a t i n g u r a n i u m a t o m s , m a n will b u i l d n e w e n g i n e s w h i c h will s e r v e flawlessly a n d
3«>!

will r u n f o r t h o u s a n d s of y e a r s o n e n d f o r m i n g a s o u r c e of f a b u l o u s e n e r g y w h i c h will d r i v e p l a n e s a n d ships alike. T h e e n t i r e e n e r g y of t h e w o r l d will be p l a c e d a t t h e service of m a n i n n e w c h e m i c a l i n s t a l l a t i o n s . T h e r a y s of t h e s u n f a l l i n g so uselessly o n t h e e a r t h ' s s u r f a c e will b e c a u g h t u p b y e n o r m o u s m i r r o r s a n d will b e t r a n s f o r m e d i n t o h e a t . S o l a r k i t c h e n s i n C a l i f o r n i a a n d in t h e U . S . S . R . , t h e first e x p e r i m e n t s i n h a r n e s s i n g t h e e n e r g y of t h e s u n , will b e c o m e e v e r y d a y p r a c t i c e . T h e s o u r c e s of t h e w h i t e a n d b l u e coal will b e f u l l y u t i l i z e d ; t h e i r e n e r g y will b e c a u g h t b y e n o r m o u s s t a t i o n s a l o n g all sea coasts a n d r i v e r - b a n k s . M a n will b e c o m e m a s t e r of s u c h e n o r m o u s q u a n t i t i e s of e n e r g y , t h a t h e will b e a b l e t o p e r f o r m real m i r a c l e s . A n d t h e n m a n will m a s t e r s p a c e , d i s t a n c e a n d t i m e . S p e e d s of s e v e r a l t h o u s a n d s of k i l o m e t r e s p e r h o u r will b e c o m e t h e u s u a l t h i n g ; t h e dist a n c e s b e t w e e n cities a n d o t h e r c e n t r e s of h a b i t a t i o n will b e r e d u c e d t o a m i n i m u m a n d will cease t o d i v i d e p e o p l e . N e w f o r m s of life a n d a n e w social o r g a n i z a t i o n of t h e w o r l d will e r a s e all e a r t h l y b o u n d a r i e s . T h e life of m a n will b e c o m e t h e m a i n o b j e c t i v e of c r e a t i v e scientific e n d e a v o u r . M a n will l e a r n t o split a t o m s b y fine m e t h o d s ; b y m e a n s of r a d i o a c t i v e r a y s a n d e m a n a t i o n s f r o m e n o r m o u s c y c l o t r o n s m a n will b e a b l e t o d o a n y t h i n g h e likes w i t h t h e a t o m s ; h e will b e a b l e t o b r e a k t h e m u p i n t o s e p a r a t e pieces, t r a n s f o r m t h e h e a v y a t o m s i n t o l i g h t ones a n d , contrariwise, t h e light a t o m s into h e a v y ones. By a r t i f i c i a l l y p r o d u c i n g v a r i o u s t y p e s of a t o m s , m a n will l e a r n t o u t i l i z e t h e m . M a n will b e a b l e t o i n t r o d u c e t h e a t o m s w h i c h live o n l y a s e c o n d o r a m i n u t e i n t o t h e o r g a n i s m as n e w r e m e d i e s t o fight v i r u s e s a n d p a t h o g e n i c b a c t e r i a . H e will m a s t e r t h e l i v i n g cell b y c o n t r o l l i n g it w i t h t h e a i d of t h e n e w c h e m i s t r y . B u t f o r his p o w e r f u l c h e m i c a l processes h e will also b e a b l e t o u t i l i z e m i c r o - o r g a n i s m s . M a n a l r e a d y g r o w s m a n y of t h e u s e f u l b a c t e r i a h e n e e d s i n g e l a t i n e c o n t a i n e d in small test-tubes a t institutes of microbiology. H e will b e a b l e t o p r o d u c e t h e m i n i m m e n s e q u a n t i t i e s a n d t o s t r e w t h e m o v e r his fields. T h e b a c t e r i a will g i v e t h e fields f e r t i l i z e r — n i t r i c a c i d — a n d b y d e c o m p o s i n g g y p s u m will e x t r a c t s u l p h u r . M a n will t r a n s f o r m b a c t e r i a into a vital force, into a p o w e r f u l c h e m i c a l a g e n t a n d b y u s i n g t h e m , h e will l e a r n t o e x t r a c t t h e m e t a l s d i s p e r s e d in t h e seas as it is d o n e b y t h e i n d i v i d u a l s m a l l a c a n t h a r i a w h o a b s o r b s t r o n t i u m f r o m m a r i n e solutions.
389

I n his s t r u g g l e l o r t h e e a r t h ' s i n t e r i o r m a n will m a k e use of t h e e n t i r e m a s s of rocks. T h e r e will b e n o w a s t e p r o d u c t s , n o u n u s e d tailings. E v e r y t h i n g will s e r v e i n d u s t r y ; all of M e n d e l e y e v ' s P e r i o d i c T a b l e will b e u t i l i z e d , a n d t h e m o s t w i d e s p r e a d e l e m e n t s — s i l i c o n a n d a l u m i n i u m — w i l l b e c o m e t h e basis of life. T h e n a m e " s u p e r - r a r e " s u b s t a n c e s will n o l o n g e r m a k e a n y sense. T h e s e s u b s t a n c e s will f o r m p a r t of o u r e v e r y d a y life. W i t h t h e i r a i d w e shall d e v e l o p T V s c r e e n s a n d f r o m o u r o w n r o o m s w e shall b e a b l e t o t a l k t o d i s t a n t a u d i e n c e s w h i c h w e s h a l l see o n t h e s c r e e n w i t h o u r o w n eyes. T h e r a r e s t e l e m e n t s will s e r v e f o r c h e m i c a l r e a c t i o n s w h i c h a t l a r g e c h e m i c a l p l a n t s will b e a b l e t o t r a n s f o r m s u b s t a n c e s i n t o p r o d u c t s r e q u i r e d f o r life. O r g a n i c c h e m i s t r y is b e c o m i n g v e r y i m p o r t a n t . I n s t e a d of t h e h u n d r e d s of t h o u s a n d s of c a r b o n c o m p o u n d s k n o w n t o d a y , m a n will p r o d u c e m i l l i o n s of n e w s t r u c t u r e s w h e n h e l e a r n s t o use i n his n e w i n s t a l l a t i o n s l o w t e m p e r a t u r e s close t o a b s o l u t e z e r o , as well as t e m p e r a t u r e s of m i l l i o n s of d e g r e e s a n d p r e s s u r e s of h u n d r e d s of t h o u s a n d s of a t m o s p h e r e s .

Moscow State University on Lenin Hills
39

T h i s will b e a n e w c h e m i s t r y of c a r b o n . T h i s will n o t o n l y b e t h e plastics f r o m w h i c h w e c a n m a n u f a c t u r e a n y t h i n g f r o m b u t t o n s to l i g h t w e i g h t p l a n e s , n o t o n l y s y n t h e t i c r u b b e r w h i c h is b e g i n n i n g successfully t o r e p l a c e n a t u r a l r u b b e r , n o t o n l y t h e r e m a r k a b l e d y e s w h i c h h a v e r e n d e r e d t h e p l a n t a t i o n s of i n d i g o u n n e c e s s a r y ; n o , t h e s e will b e e n t i r e l y n e w s u b s t a n c e s , v e r y close t o t h e r e a l o r g a n i c m o l e c u l e , t o p r o t o p l a s m , t o p r o t e i n . . . . T h e s e will b e a r t i f i c i a l n u t r i t i v e s u b s t a n c e s w h i c h will d o a w a y w i t h t h e s u p e r f l u o u s c o m p l e x c h e m i c a l l a b o r a t o r i e s i n t h e o r g a n i s m s of a n i m a l s . T h e n e w s y n t h e t i c c h e m i s t r y will also b e a b l e t o u t i l i z e o t h e r e l e m e n t s in o r d e r to build t h e s a m e c o m p l e x c o m p o u n d s t h a t organic chemistry h a s b e e n able to construct f r o m c a r b o n , oxygen a n d h y d r o g e n . I c a n alr e a d y i m a g i n e t h e n e w m o l e c u l e s of silicon, g e r m a n i u m , b o r o n a n d n i t r o gen in the r e m a r k a b l e c o m p o u n d s w h i c h t h e chemists h a v e been able to p r o d u c e in recent years by building the b e n z e n e ring not f r o m c a r b o n o r h y d r o g e n , b u t f r o m t w o o t h e r e l e m e n t s of t h e e a r t h — n i t r o g e n a n d boron. B u t f o r c h e m i s t r y t o m a s t e r t h e w o r l d r e q u i r e s e n o r m o u s scientific w o r k ; it n e e d s p o w e r f u l a n d n u m e r o u s scientific i n s t i t u t e s w i t h p e r f e c t i n s t a l l a t i o n s of h i g h p r e s s u r e s a n d t e m p e r a t u r e s w h i c h m u s t m e r g e w i t h t h e l a b o r a t o r i e s of f a c t o r i e s . A n d h e r e i n t h e s e n e w p a l a c e s of s c i e n c e v i c t o r y shall b e w o n b y n e w a n d d a r i n g m e n a r m e d w i t h b o l d scientific f a n t a s y a n d b u r n i n g w i t h a fire of n e w q u e s t s . T h i s is h o w I p i c t u r e t o m y s e l f t h e f u t u r e i n t h e l i g h t of t o d a y . B u t I t o o k t h e c o l o u r s f o r m y p i c t u r e f r o m n a t u r e t h a t s u r r o u n d s us a n d f r o m o u r k n o w l e d g e . T h e p i c t u r e s of t h e d i s t a n t f u t u r e will b e e v e n m o r e majestic, b u t to p a i n t t h e m we n o w lack words, colours a n d images. . . . T h e a i m of o u r s t o r m y q u e s t s is t h e h a p p i n e s s of h u m a n i t y . T h e n e w life will b e b o r n as a r e s u l t of v i c t o r y o v e r n a t u r e a n d o v e r t h e i n e r t n e s s of m a n h i m s e l f . M a n h a s ^ h a r d a n d s t u b b o r n s t r u g g l e a h e a d of h i m , b u t t h e m i l e s t o n e s of t h e f u t u r e h a v e a l r e a d y b e e n p l a c e d a n d t h e o b j e c t i v e s o u t l i n e d . T h e s t r u g g l e f o r n a t u r e , f o r t h e m a s t e r y of h e r forces, f o r t h e t r a n s f o r m a t i o n of all t h a t is useless i n t o u s e f u l t h i n g s will b e o n e of t h e p o w e r f u l l e v e r s i n t h e c r e a t i o n of a n e w life.

END OF BOOK
W c h a v e c o m e t o t h e e n d of t h e b o o k . Y o u a n d I h a d t o c h a n g e into small w a n d e r i n g a t o m s in order to r u n t h r o u g h the complex p a t h s of m i g r a t i o n s of t h e e l e m e n t s , t o l o o k i n t o t h e i n t e r i o r of t h e e a r t h a n d e v e n a t t h e h o t celestial b o d i e s , t o see t h e b e h a v i o u r of v a r i o u s a t o m s in t h e u n i v e r s e a n d in t h e h a n d s of m a n , a n d t o f i n d o u t w h a t they d o in industry a n d in agriculture. T h e a t o m s travel a long w a y in their history a n d w e d o not k n o w e i t h e r its b e g i n n i n g o r its e n d . T h e b i r t h of t h e a t o m s a n d t h e b e g i n n i n g of t h e i r m i g r a t i o n s o n e a r t h a r e still a m y s t e r y t o us. N o r a r e t h e i r f u t u r e fates, t h e i r f a t e s i n t h e c o m p l e x f u t u r e of o u r p l a n e t c l e a r t o us. W e o n l y k n o w t h a t s o m e a t o m s d i s a p p e a r b e y o n d t h e limits of t h e e a r t h a n d a r e d i s p e r s e d i n i n t e r s t e l l a r s p a c e w h e r e t h e r e is n o m o r e t h a n o n e n e g l i g i b l e a t o m p e r c u b i c m e t r e a n d w h e r e o n l y so s m a l l a p a r t of s p a c e is o c c u p i e d b y t h e m t h a t it w o u l d h a v e t o b e e x p r e s s e d b y io" 3 0 . W e k n o w t h a t other a t o m s b e c o m e dispersed in the earth's crust, i n its soils, w a t e r s a n d o c e a n s ; still o t h e r s s l o w l y a n d g r a d u a l l y r e t u r n t o its i n t e r i o r , s u b j e c t t o t h e l a w s of g r a v i t y . S o m e a t o m s a r e c o n s t a n t , i n v a r i a b l e a n d as d u r a b l e as p u r e , w h i t e i v o r y b i l l i a r d b a l l s ; o t h e r s a r e , o n t h e c o n t r a r y , as r e s i l i e n t a s r u b b e r balls, c o n t r a c t w h e n c o l l i d i n g w i t h e a c h o t h e r a n d i n t e r l a c e i n s o m e c o m p l e x s t r u c t u r e s s u r r o u n d e d b y e l e c t r i c fields; still o t h e r s c o m p l e t e l y d i s i n t e g r a t e , n u c l e i a n d all, e m i t t i n g e n e r g y a n d c h a n g i n g t o s t r a n g e gases w h o s e l i f e - s p a n is p r e c i s e l y d e t e r m i n e d b y t h e l a w s of d i s i n t e g r a t i o n a n d is m e a s u r e d b y m i l l i o n s of y e a r s f o r s o m e , y e a r s
392

M i n e r a l o g i c a l M u s e u m o£ t h e U . S . S . R . A c a d c m y of Sciences

for others and seconds or even negligible fractions of a second for still others. T h e world around us is built of about 100 chemical elements, but what great multiformity they produce, how the features of these atoms vary and how their combinations differ! Only now are we beginning to read in a new m a n n e r these remarkable pages in the history of the earth's chemical elements. Geochemistry has only just slightly opened the door into a new world of nature; hard and persistent work has only just started; the behaviour of each element in the earth's crust has only begun to be observed, but we must already keep a record of the behaviour of each atom, thoroughly examine its characteristic features and learn about its merits and defects; in a word, we must make so detailed and profound a study of

393

e a c h a t o m as t o b e a b l e t o t r a c e its fates, i.e., t h e h i s t o r y of t h e u n i v e r s e , f r o m the s e p a r a t e facts. E a c h link i n t h i s h i s t o r i c a l c h a i n is d e p e n d e n t o n t h e as y e t u n k i i q w n p r o p e r t i e s of t h e a t o m , w h i l e c o m p l e x a n d p r o f o u n d l a w s g o v e r n its f a t e s i n t h e c o s m o s , o n e a r t h a n d i n t h e h a n d s of m a n a l i k e . B u t it is n o t o u t of m e r e c u r i o s i t y t h a t w e w a n t t o t r a c e t h e p a t h s t r a v e l l e d b y t h e a t o m s ; it is n o t o n l y b e c a u s e w e w a n t t o k n o w how they behave on earth; we must learn to control t h e m in a m a n n e r r e q u i r e d b y m a n f o r his t e c h n i c a l , e c o n o m i c a n d c u l t u r a l progress. E n g e l s s a i d w e m u s t s t u d y n a t u r e i n o r d e r t o r e s h a p e it. I t is j u s t this t h a t c o n s t i t u t e s t h e b i g a n d h o n o u r a b l e p r o b l e m of g e o c h e m i s t s . Yes, w e we want i.e., alloys the atoms m u s t m a s t e r t h e a t o m s c o m p l e t e l y a n d b e a b l e t o d o all w i t h t h e m , f o r e x a m p l e , t o p r o d u c e s u p e r - h a r d alloys, h a r d e r t h a n d i a m o n d s ; b u t t o d o this w e m u s t k n o w h o w a r r a n g e themselves in their complex structures.

STUDY MATURE!

W e m u s t l e a r n t o d i v i n e t h e p r o p e r t i e s of t h e c o m p o u n d s of m e t a l s ; we w a n t a n d m u s t b e able not only to try, b u t to k n o w for sure. W e m u s t o b t a i n a n d p r o d u c e t h e g r e a t e s t possible q u a n t i t i e s of s u c h a t o m s as c e s i u m a n d t h a l l i u m w h i c h easily g i v e off t h e i r o u t e r elect r o n s . W i t h t h e s e w e w a n t t o b u i l d t h e finest T V sets s m a l l e n o u g h t o fit i n a p o c k e t o r i n a n o t e b o o k , a n d w o n d e r f u l t a l k i n g m o t i o n p i c t u r e c a m e r a s t h e size of a n o r d i n a r y b o o k . I n a word, w e w a n t to s u b j u g a t e the entire a t o m , to s u b o r d i n a t e it t o o u r will, t o t h e will of v i c t o r i o u s m a n w h o is t r a n s f o r m i n g all t h e r e d o u b t a b l e a n d h a r m f u l n a t u r a l forces i n t o useful ones. W e w a n t t o m a k e all n a t u r e , t h e e n t i r e M e n d e l e y e v t a b l e of e l e m e n t s s e r v e t h e n e e d s of w o r k i n g h u m a n i t y . T h e a f o r e s a i d c o n s t i t u t e s t h e p u r p o r t a n d a i m of g e o c h e m i c a l w o r k ; t h a t is w h y w e w a n t t o u n d e r s t a n d a n d s e c u r e t h e a t o m . W i t h these words we a r e b r i n g i n g o u r long story to a n end. B u t , d e a r f r i e n d s , c a n t h e r e e v e r b e a n e n d to s c i e n c e o r t o s t u d i e s ? L e t us b e p e r f e c t l y f r a n k a b o u t it. H e r e , a t t h e v e r y e n d of o u r b o o k w e , essentially, find o u r s e l v e s a t t h e v e r y b e g i n n i n g of o u r k n o w l e d g e ; e v e n if w e r e a d t h i s b o o k s e v e r a l t i m e s , c a r e f u l l y s c r u t i n i z e a l l t h e p i c t u r e s in it a n d t r y t o r e m e m b e r t h e b e h a v i o u r of t h e i n d i v i d u a l a t o m s w e s h a l l still h a v e t o a d m i t we are only at the very beginning. 394

W e shall have to read and think and work a lot more before we get a n insight into the mysteries of nature around us. T o begin with we must study the basic sciences—chemistry, physics, mineralogy and geology. We cannot circumvent these sciences and in order to become good students of the natural resources we must thoughtfully reread books on tHe principles of the chemical and mineralogical sciences. W e must read books carefully, delve thoughtfully into the fate of each element, study its behaviour in the earth, in water, in the air, in industry and in agriculture, and Mendeleyev's Periodic Table will always be our guiding star. Let us look at this table printed in this book or, what is even better, draw it on a large sheet of paper, put a chemical symbol and the atomic weight of a chemical element in each box and underneath each element write its content in the earth's crust and hang it in our rooms so that we always have it before our eyes. Mendeleyev's Periodic Law will teach us a great deal. It will show us how the atoms are related to each other not only in the periodic table, but also in nature itself.

L e n i n g r a d O r d e r of L e n i n M i n i n g I n s t i t u t e 395

A c a d e m i c i a n F . C h e r n y s h o v M u s e u m of G e o l o g i c a l P r o s p e c t i n g in L e n i n g r a d . H a l l of Minerals

E x t e r i o r of the C h e r n y s h o v M u s e u m of G e o l o g i c a l P r o s p e c t i n g in L e n i n g r a d

Not only books, maps and tallies, however, teach us chemistry and geochemistry. We can learn about the new ideas in chemistry in mineralogical museums where the exhibits in mineralogy and geochemistry in which the samples are frequently arranged according to separate chemical elements teach us a lot. Large smelters and chemical mills also teach us chemistry, mineralogy and geology. Anyone who has visited the Magnitogorsk Works will for ever remember what happens to iron ore and how first carbon-rich iron and then real steel are born in special shops from a complex combination of chemical elements processed in blast-furnaces. In Solikamsk we can learn about the chemical and geochemical fates of potassium and magnesium. At the superphosphate plants in Leningrad, Voskresensk (near Moscow), the Urals, the Ukraine a n d in other places we can see how apatites and phosphorites are transformed by means of sulphuric acid into fertilizer for our socialist fields. By observing the processes in the fire-breathing furnaces of the Chelyabinsk ferro-alloy plants we shall come to understand how molten m a g m a is born in the interior of the earth and how substance is crystallized from this m a g m a . In a word, separate pages from the history of atoms are continuously rewritten at all large plants; these include the mixing of the atoms of various metals in complex processes and the extraction of different substances from them, which arc later blended again in new combinations with other atoms in order to produce alloyed steels, complex superphosphates, salts of potassium, manganese, v a n a d i u m and zirconium. Industrial processes make ever more extensive use of chemistry.
Metallurgical Plant H97

Geochemist studying rock o u t c r o p - h a r d e n e d lava streams

We are no longer content with grinding a stone into a pavement block or an arrow-head; we now strive to change it chemically in order to get the most valuable quality and combination of various substances. We cast fine blocks for our new, improved pavements; we change the natural processes and transform natural substances into new values. Today we are living not only in an epoch of chemical transformations, but also in a period of state-planned development of cheinicai research and chemical industry. Chemical processes surround us on al! sides and we must keep a n eye on them and be able to divine them. Nature itself, its deposits of metals, salts and ores also teach us geochemistry and give us new ideas in mineralogy. Nowhere will the young investigator learn the laws of chemical transformations as he will from nature itself, and we therefore appeal to all of them to study the chemical processes of the earth spring arid summer, winter and autumn
398

By s c r u t i n i z i n g t h e b l a c k clays of t h e J u r a s s i c d e p o s i t s n e a r M o s c o w w e shall see h o w i n e a r l y s p r i n g t h e g o l d e n s p a r k l e t s of p y r i t e in t h e m a r e a b s o r b e d b y t h e f a d e d l i g h t - g r e e n salts of vitriols. W e shall see a g r a n d p i c t u r e of c h a n g e s a n d t r a n s f o r m a t i o n s of i r o n o r e s in M o u n t M a g n i t n a y a pit w h e r e a t o n e t i m e h u g e f o r m a t i o n s of m a g n e t i t e o n t h e e a r t h ' s s u r f a c e b e g a n t o c h a n g e first i n t o b r o w n masses o f t h e m i n e r a l n o n t r o n i t e a n d w e r e l a t e r c o v e r e d w i t h b r o w n red a n d rusty iron oxides. E v e r y w h e r e , i n m i n e s a n d q u a r r i e s , o n t h e t o p s of m o u n t a i n r a n g e s a n d i n t h e d e e p v a l l e y s a l o n g rivers, w e see h o w s u b s t a n c e is being transformed, how one mineral changes into another and how a n e w s u b s t a n c e is r e p l a c e d b y a still o t h e r s u b s t a n c e . W e m u s t o n l y b e c a r e f u l i n o u r o b s e r v a t i o n s a n d w e shall s o o n n o t i c e t h a t e v e r y t h i n g c h a n g e s , s o m e t i m e s slowly a n d q u i e t l y , s o m e t i m e s s u d d e n l y , s u b j e c t t o t h e g r e a t l a w s of n a t u r e . " E v e r y t h i n g is fluid," t h e a n c i e n t G r e e k p h i l o s o p h e r s s a i d . " E v e r y t h i n g c h a n g e s , " s a y t h e g e o c h e m i s t s of o u r time.

SUPPLEMENT

26

THE GEOCHEMIST IN THE FIELD

INTRODUCTION

This chapter consists of two parts. I n the first part we set forth a n u m b e r of practical suggestions for the geochemist who is prospecting for minerals and is making a geochemical study of some region. T h e second part briefly describes the basic methods in the sequence that should be observed by the geochemist in his field work. Both the first and second parts are based on principles now closely adhered to by prospectors; scientific field work is generally comf posed of three parts: the preparatory stage, the investigation itseland the transport and treatment of the material. All these three parts are, no doubt, equally important and each of them requires attention and a thoughtful attitude.

Tents of geologists on the edge of the Kara-Kum Desert
26*

4°3

" H e who knows a lot a n d thinks a lot travels well," said a certain traveller and scientist, while another quite rightly added that t h e sharpest and the most important instrument an investigator must have at his disposal is his eye, which must not let even the most negligible phenomena escape because they not infrequently conceal extensive and important inferences.
P ART ONE

EQUIPMENT
/

T h e problem of equipment in field work is very important to the geochemist because, in addition to the usual geological equipment, he will also need a number of other instruments for physical and chemical research. In this case it is necessary, first of all, to consider the means of conveyance on hand in the given region and the weight and size of the equipment. If a shortage of good equipment is sometimes dangerous for an expedition, in a n u m b e r of cases, on the other hand, superfluous equipment is a drawback because it renders the movements of the expedition difficult and creates hardships that retard it and even prevent it from reaching certain inaccessible regions. T h e total equipment of a prospector must primarily include different types of hammers. Sedimentary and soft rocks require a h a m m e r which combines the properties of a h a m m e r proper and a light pick; its handle must be approximately 40 cm. long and so fixed that its

Mineralogical magnifying glasses of different degrees of magnification
404

narrow end will fit the hand while the wider end will prevent the h a m m e r from coming loose in work. In the regions of hard rocks, the prospector should have a heavier h a m m e r (weighing I to 2 kg.) with a handle about 70 cm. long. Centimetres should be marked on the handle in order that the investigator always have accurate scales for measurement at hand. I n addition, extensive work requires a sledge h a m m e r weighing up to five kg. and a small lightweight h a m m e r with a short handle of about 20 to 30 cm. for knocking off small pieces or for shaping the samples. A set of chisels of various shape and size is required in addition to the hammers. T h e rest of the equipment should include a magnifying glass (magnifying no more than eight times), a mountain compass, a tape-measure, a pen-knife, a notebook and pencil, specially prepared and numbered labels 6 x 4 cm. in size, a lot of wrapping paper, some small glass jars for collecting valuable fragile samples and crystals, and strong boxes of different sizes; for dry substances it is important to have a set of small, numbered canvas bags. In addition to the afore-said equipment, it is necessary to have a camera, an aneroid barometer and a set of coloured pencils for making geological and geochemical diagrams.

East Pamirs. Upper reaches of the Lyangar River
405

It is always good to have small bottles with acids of various concentration, good charcoal, platinum wire, soda and borax. For work of a more permanent nature this elementary equipment should be supplemented by a n u m b e r of special instruments. T h e packing and distribution of the equipment is a very serious affair. Part of it must be packed in strong, moisture-proof bags fit for being carried on the back (knapsacks), the other part must be packed in boxes suitable for the methods of transportation planned in the given region, and this requires a m a x i m u m of attention and experience to avoid blunders.

PACKING COLLECTED

MATERIALS

T h e question of packing and transporting the collected mineralogical materials is very serious and must be given thorough consideration. Careful packing and wrapping of each sample in separate paper with a label in it forms one of the "musts" of a good collection. You must make it your rule never to wrap several samples into one paper,

Steep loess bank of the Angren River near Tashkent 406

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shipped samples

members of some

expedition

themselves. puts the

care

the

local

inhabitants

collections in j e o p a r d y tor very late, or not of at

a n d they either get into tlfe h a n d s o f the all. boxes the materials w i t h the must be carefully

prospec-

U p o n a n d the

arrival samples

the

assorted

placed

together

labels

into

corresponding d a m a g e

boxes, because a confusion o f the labels m a y a n d not infrequently question in to that w r o n g arises a n d

lead to irreparable conclusions. is: h o w hard

dangerous a

T h e w e

first

d u r i n g This

collection

m u c h to

shall

take

a n d

w h a t

shape?

question

is r a t h e r

answer,

407

and a good collcction of mineralogical material can be ensured only by long experience and extensive knowledge of nature. Of course the prospector needs at least a modicum of artistic sense in order that the picked sample reflect by its form and colours precisely the mineral for which it was taken. Some samples must, therefore, never be given definite shape, while for others certain sizes (approximately 9 X 12 or 6 X 9 cm.) and shapes are desirable.
COLLECTION OF M A T E R I A L S I N G E O C H E M I C A L P R O S P E C T I N G

Geochemical prospecting and geochemical methods of research require that special material be collected. Since the subsequent work of geochemists is connected with special mineralogical, chemical, spectroscopic and X-ray studies, the collection of materials is a problem of prime importance and the success of geochemical analysis very largely depends on the quality and organization of the collection. W h a t must a collection of this type yield? 1) In the first place, a sufficient amount of materials not only for optical studies, but also for chemical analysis; in some cases detailed chemical analysis is preceded by concentration of the minerals during which the unnecessary admixtures are separated. Scores of samples of the most typical rocks and mineral combinations are, therefore, needed. 2) Mineralogical studies also require a collection of separate minerals to find out the sequence in which minerals are liberated and in order that good pure samples of the most important minerals may be selected for analysis. 3) It is necessary to collect materials not only for laboratory studies Crystals of black tourmaline
408

but also for retaining typical museum samples. This is important both for demonstrative purposes and because large typical samples make it possible to compare these minerals with samples of similar minerals, but from other deposits.
Comparative analysis is one of the research methods used by naturalists. A

geochemist must not repeat the mistakes of the old mineralogical school; he must seriously consider even the slightest manifestations of every chemical element; even the Crystals of gypsum thinnest crusts, products of weathering, must be collected as thoroughly as the beautiful ores with good crystals. As a rule, prospectors are generally advised to take as much material as possible. It is better that they throw out later all that is superfluous rather than not collect all of the material required by the complex of minerals and chemical elements of the region studied. I n collecting samples one must never be sure he will come to the same place again and will collect additional new material. This does not always work out, and the collection is frequently incomplete, casual and of little value.

RECORDING

OBSERVATIONS

T h e question of recording observations in field work is very important and serious. A certain scientist used to say quite justly that a traveller and explorer must carry a pencil tied to a string around his neck because the closer you have the pencil within your reach, the more you will write with it. T h e records must be made by two methods. In the first place, it is desirable accurately to inscribe on each label enclosed with the sample not only where and when the sample was found, but also some data on the conditions under which
409

it was obtained. T h e more exactly the place of the find is indicated, the easier it will be subsequently to utilize the collected material. T h e main records, however, are m a d e in the field notebook and keeping the book in the best possible order must be the object of the prospector's constant concern. T h e success of many explorations depends on how carefully, thoughtfully and fully the field journals are kept. T h e observations must be recorded, first of all, at the place of work; the records must include all observations made in the given place and whatever thoughts occurred to the prospector at that time. A Crystals of r e d g a r n e t in mica s l a t e summary of all the material must be given at the end of the day with diaries kept of what was done during that time. Diagrams of the places where the work was done and the separate samples were taken should be m a d e by the prospector in the notebook personally. T h e completeness and accuracy of records in the notebook generally serve as the best index of the work, and one of the blunders of field workers is excessive reliance on their memory. D a t a added in the field book or on the labels by memory are a very dangerous method which not infrequently renders the collection valueless and leads to wrong inferences. It will be observed that it is very difficult to keep a good field journal. Entries can usually be made in it only in the evening, at the end of a hard day in the field when the prospector is already tired and wants to rest. O n e must frequently force oneself to spend at least fifteen minutes on recording the observations m a d e in the field during the day. I remember I also sometimes neglected my journal because I was too tired. In these cases it is best to take a day's rest and devote several hours to a calm and business-like correction of the journal.
410

Field be

journals

must either w h i c h

be

kept

particularly w o r k or be after

carefully; it

they

must are

not the other

relinquished d o c u m e n t i m p o r t a n t

d u r i n g must

because along

they

basic most

always of the

carried

w i t h

the

documents f r o m the

expedition. a n d sorting out the u p collections the results

After w e of

returning

expedition of our work,

come to the second part the I field work. it is very

i.e., t o

s u m m i n g

believe

i m p o r t a n t than direct final

a n d the field

consider final

a

field

report it

in

m a n y usually more the

respects

m o r e

i m p o r t a n t the

report,

because a n d

objectively valuable literature of

summarizes than read, a by

observations w h i c h is

is, t h u s , b y

detailed the

report of other

influenced a n d b y a

opinions

prospectors

n u m b e r

extraneous T h e report m u c h the

considerations. m a d e more under the first impressions profound of the the trip point is n o t of a n d infreof

quently posing rated

correct than

a n d

f r o m

view

problems

the

later

studiously

thought-out

elabo-

s u m m a r y .

PART

TWO

METHODS AND SEQUENCE OF WORK

Before leaving for w o r k in addition This to

the

field

the geochemist his

must

do some w e

preliminary already

preparing

equipment consists in on

w h i c h the the for

have

discussed. First given

preliminary must I f the read

w o r k the

following. given a region and the

o f all,

he

literature is in

problem. he I n must

prospector study

searching detail its

definite a n d

chemical its com-

element pounds. must, of the i.e.,

necessarily to

properties

addition

reading

the

available

literature

the

geochemist typical element, that maps the the or

i n a l l cases, m a k e

a detailed

m u s e u m

study

of the samples the

given region a n d of the object o f his

minerals It is

w h i c h

characterize

the

prospecting. detailed that the

particularly a n d in

important geological pencil

investigator

obtain in

topographical he m a y m a r k of the

copies of them, he o n has these Before m a k e a

order a n d

coloured most

route

travelled maps.

locations

interesting

minerals

departing detailed

for

the of

expedition, all the

the

prospector of field

must

necessarily a n d k n o w

study

methods

research

411

Characteristic relief in Dzhalal-Abad Region, Kirghiz S.S.R.

precisely not only how to use the instruments the geochemist takes along, but also how to repair them. T h e second stage of work begins upon the arrival of the prospector on location. First of all, he must find out what is known about the given region in the local scientific societies, museums, libraries a n d schools. H e must collect information among the local population about all the places where ore is mined and where there are natural outcrops. In a n u m b e r of cases it is very important to analyze the geographical names which, not infrequently, point at the existence of mines or production in the given territory; for example, in Central Asia, the word " k a n " means a mine, "kumysh"—silver, " k a l b a " — t i n or bronze, etc. If a house is being built or a road paved, the prospector should find out-where the material is brought from and where the new road bridges or a railway line are built. O n state and collective farms he must ascertain where they dig wells, where they obtain clay for their stoves and lime or paint for their homes. T h e local population frequently remembers that research parties had worked in the given region before, and many old people who know the region very well remember the ores found in particular
412

places. In some regions it is very important to ascertain the existence of old mines, dumps of ores and slags, remains of smelting furnaces, etc. Of course, most of the material for the preliminary acquaintance with the mineralogy and geochemistry of a region is obtained not so much from natural outcrops as from artificial excavations, dumps near mines and workings which offer the mineralogist and geochemist indispensable and often perfectly fresh material. O r e deposits accumulate enormous quantities of the substances which accompany the ore and in the dumps of mines it is not infrequently possible to collect interesting material by examining the new output for a period of many days and by analyzing the minerals in daylight in the freshly broken-off samples. T h e dumps and heaps of mined ore and stone generally offer the mineralogist or geochemist much more valuable material than the underground workings where it is often hard to conduct accurate observations. In open-cast mining and in pits it is very useful to talk to the workers, question them about the samples they encounter and focus their attention on interesting things, asking them to put away whatever strikes

Mining phosphorite ore at the Kara-Tau Mine (Kazakh S.S.R.)
413

their eye. It is possible and necessary to get the local population interested by letting the people in on your work and by telling them of the use of the minerals which may be found. T h e creation of a definite public opinion, a sympathy and cooperation on the part of the local population is one of the most important factors in the success of prospecting. T h e local population becomes interested and even children bring samples of pebbles and boulders from the river. It must be said that the greatest discoveries of new deposits are not infrequently m a d e by the local population and the local amateurs. I n each outcrop, quarry, working and mine the geochemist must try to collect the samples of all mineral bodies encountered there and pay attention to their large accumulations and negligible traces which may indicate some particular geochemical processes. T h e collection of materials must, naturally, be accompanied by observations of the minerals imbedded in the rock, their correlations, age, etc. T h e primary acquaintance of the region enables the prospector to make a correct approach to its geochemical study. T h e following paragraphs are devoted to these problems of a purely research character. T h e geologist and petrographer begin their work in the field with a study of the general geological situation, the tectonics and the relationships of rocks; this requires, in the first place, that the entire territory should be studied as a whole before a detailed study of any concrete sector is begun. T h e work of the geochemist usually proceeds differently; he must begin his work essentially with concrete material, i.e., with the very deposit. H e must begin his research from the heaps of the mined ore
414

Sarez Mountain Lake in the formed after enormous landslide mountains (Tajik S.S.R.)

Pamirs in the

a n d the d u m p s of country rock w i t h a ready k n o w l e d g e of the general geological lay of the land. This indicates the rather sharp in the m e t h o d s of a p p r o a c h to the work of geologists a n d in a n expedition Upon arrival or in excursion. some deposit the geologist immediately etc. heaps goes to difference geochemists

a drift o r m i n e t o e x a m i n e t h e f a c e s ; h e a l s o e x a m i n e s , i n t h e first p l a c e , t h e o u t c r o p o f s e p a r a t e rocks, n a t u r a l outcrops, The and geochemist They and'- m i n e r a l o g i s t g o , first

o f - all, t o t h e ore

dumps.

must go into the stope

only w h e n

their eye learns

to distinguish separate materials in the daylight because determination of m i n e r a l s p e c i e s i n t h e a r t i f i c i a l l i g h t i n g o f t h e s t o p e is a v e r y h a r d t a s k a n d is p o s s i b l e o n l y w i t h l o n g e x p e r i e n c e . O n l y a f t e r a t h o r o u g h the m o r e general genetic a n d g e o c h e m i c a l problems for w h i c h he examines that the may natural be outcrops and mine faces and sketches available. the mineralogist and first to the geochemist dumps study of the minerals in heaps a n d d u m p s nfust the geochemist begin studying purpose any studies

T h i s m a k e s it perfectly clear w h y upon rather arriving at a m i n e even than to the usually go ore heaps.

country rock

I have personally observed that the local

technical and

engineering

p e r s o n n e l is f r e q u e n t l y n o t o n l y s u r p r i s e d , b u t a l s o v e r y m u c h d i s p l e a s e d w h e n , u p o n m y arrival, I g o to the d u m p s rather t h a n to the workings. W e must not forget that w e can solve the most complicated of the observed mineral complexes, their interrelations, their with the lateral rocks, the sequence etc. of the work of a geochemist to during a the of first the he problems relations o f a d e p o s i t a n d u n d e r s t a n d its g e n e s i s o n l y b y a d e t a i l e d s t u d y o f all

Thus, collection

o f scientific

material and

appears then

us as follows: ore heaps; the

detailed

examination examine of the As the

of the dumps underground in the

of the and

later,

faces in open-cast workings a n d outcrops; o n l y after all that should workings study minerals previously fresh the underground geochemist stopes. collect materials

interrelationships

stated,

must

and

c o n c u r r e n t l y a n a l y z e all m i n e r a l o g i c a l a n d g e o c h e m i c a l

interrelations;

i t is, t h e r e f o r e , n e c e s s a r y t h a t h e c a r e f u l l y c o m p a r e a l l h i s o b s e r v a t i o n s . I recall that, w h e n I a d v a n c e d the theory of the relation of p e g m a t i t e processes to the formation of emeralds in the E m e r a l d with o sympnathy for a long time until several very Mines small I met crystals

*i5

of columbite confirmed that we were dealing with typical granite pegmatites. In thinking over his observations the geochemist must mentally establish relationships between separate minerals, reconstruct the conditions under which they were formed, basing himself on his experience, subject all the data to a comparative analysis and, thus, gradually evolve some working hypothesis about the genesis of the deposit in question. Such a hypothesis is absolutely necessary for subsequent prospecting, but it must not be allowed to obscure the facts themselves. If the facts disagree with the hypothesis, the latter must be rejected. This work requires the most proIn the Pamirs. At the source of the found self-criticism and self-analysis, Murgab River because success in prospecting consists in the ability to draw out of small and hardly perceptible facts inferences which may be able to connect all phenomena to each other and to suggest those that are still unknown. Any working hypothesis is good only as long as it suggests new directions. I am consciously focusing the reader's attention on this problem, because field workers are very frequently loath to give u p their first working hypothesis even when new facts are at variance with it. O n e more principle, which, unfortunately, has lately been somewhat neglected. T h e prospector must clearly distinguish the fact itself and his observation, on the one hand, from the theoretical and general conclusions, on the other. Both in his field and final reports the prospector must sharply separate these two parts so that everyone may see where the factual material of observations ends and where the logical and theoretical constructions of the author begin. Young prospectors should be warned against putting the concrete factual material in the back416

ground and becoming fascinated with the final conclusion, because in this case the conclusions hang in the air. This is why we must especially persistently emphasize the necessity of accurate and painstaking observation of natural phenomena. I n the field the prospector must make note of every trifle that strikes his eye during observation. H e must transform his field notebook into a constant diary of his own thoughts and observations, for only thus will he be able to make correct conclusions and decisions. Besides, he must sharply distinguish between the character of work and notes taken during the first year of visiting a particular deposit or region and that of the subsequent years. During the first visit it is especially necessary to accumulate purely factual material; during the second visit the prospector faces the necessity of checking on the work in his hypothesis; finally, during the third visit, he runs into problems of a general nature and it is usually precisely the third year that brings discoveries and suggests the direction of accurate prospecting. These periods may be cut short, but this depends on the experience of the prospector and on the extent to which the given deposits or region have been studied from the geological and mineralogical points of view. T h e final conclusions are considerably expedited if the prospector analyzes beforehand the minerals and rocks he encounters during his field work. Portable geochemical laboratories and the possibility of sending certain samples to near-by laboratories for quantitative analysis in large measure facilitate the field studies and enable the prospector to expedite final conclusions. It should be clear from the foregoing that the keeping of records is of prime importance.

27

BRIEF INFORMATION ABOUT CHEMICAL ELEMENTS
Actinium (Ac). Atomic n u m b e r — 89, a t o m i c w e i g h t — 2 2 7 . Discovered i n 1899 b y D e b i e r n e i n p i t c h - b l e n d e . R a d i o a c t i v e p r o d u c t of uranium disintegration with a 20-year halflife p e r i o d . A s a r e s u l t of s u b s e q u e n t disintegration a c t i n i u m successively f o r m s a series of r a d i o a c t i v e elem e n t s k n o w n as t h e a c t i n i u m series. T h e final m e m b e r of t h i s series is norl-radioactive lead with an atomic w e i g h t of 2 0 7 . V e r y l i t t l e is k n o w n a b o u t a c t i n i u m a n d its c o m p o u n d s as y e t . Actinoids. G r o u p of c h e m i c a l elements following a c t i n i u m a n d very closely r e s e m b l i n g e a c h o t h e r c h e m ically. Like t h e r a r e - e a r t h g r o u p , or i a n t h a n o i d s , this g r o u p must c o n t a i n 15 c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t s f r o m N o . 8 9 t o N o . 1 0 3 ; t w e l v e of t h e m have already been discovered or p r o d u c e d artificially; these include actinium, thorium, uranium, neptunium. plutonium, americium, curium, berkelium, californium, einsteinium, fermium and mendelev i u m . T h e first t h r e e of t h e s e o c c u r in n a t u r e . T h e e l e m e n t s of t h i s g r o u p a r e u n i t e d u n d e r t h e n a m e of " a c t i n o i d s " ("actinides"). Their chemical properties very m u c h r e s e m b l e those of t h e I a n t h a n o i d s a n d t h e y arft a l l c r o w d e d i n t o a s i n g l e b o x in t h e 3 r d
418

g r o u p of Mendeleyev's Periodic T a b l e just below the rare-earth group. Alabamine. D . M e n d e l e y e v b e l i e v e d there was a n element (ekaiodine) w i t h a n a t o m i c n u m b e r of 8 5 a n d d e s c r i b e d its p r o p e r t i e s . D i s c o v e r y of a n e l e m e n t w i t h t h e atomic n u m b e r 85 was reported in America i n 1931, t h e e l e m e n t b e i n g n ^ m e d a l a b a m i n e ; the discovery was not confirmed, however, and element 85 did not retain the n a m e a l a b a m i n e . S e e astatine. Aluminium (Al). A t o m i c number—13; atomic weight—26.98. Silvery-white, very light metal; c o n s t i t u e n t of c l a y s , f e l d s p a r s , m i c a s and m a n y other minerals. Most a b u n d a n t c l e m e n t in t h e e a r t h ' s c rust a f t e r o x y g e n a n d silicon. T h e e a r t h ' s crust c o n t a i n s 7.5 p e r cent of it b y w e i g h t . T h e m a i n m a s s of a l u m i n i u m is c o n c e n t r a t e d in alumosilicates, minerals composed of a l u m i n i u m , s i l i c o n , o x y g e n a n d certain metals. Bauxites—hydrous o x i d e s of a l u m i n i u m — a r e e s p e c i a l l y r i c h i n a l u m i n i u m . A l u m i n i u m is produced mainly from bauxite and f r o m n e p h e l i n c . Its alloys a r e e x t e n sively u s e d in a i r c r a f t - b u i l d i n g . F i r s t o b t a i n e d i n its p u r e s t a t e b y VVohler i n 1827. T h e n a m e s t e m s f r o m t h e w o r d alum.

Americium (Am). Atomic number—95: atomic weight of the stablest isotope with a half-life p e r i o d of a b o u t 1 0 , 0 0 0 y e a r s is 243. First o b t a i n e d artificially by b o m b a r d m e n t of u r a n i u m w i t h a l p h a p a r t i c l e s i n 1945. F i v e i s o t o p e s a r e k n o w n t o d a y . I n its c h e m i c a l p r o p e r t i e s it is v e r y s i m i l a r t o r a r e earth metals. Antimony (Sb). Atomic n u m b e r — 51: atomic weight —121.76. K n o w n since antiquity. P r o d u c e d in its f r e e s t a t e b y Basil V a l e n t i n e in t h e 15th c e n t u r y . V e r y b r i t t l e m e t a l . O c c u r s in c o m b i n a t i o n w i t h s u l p h u r . Used as a c o n s t i t u e n t in type m e t a l a n d in m e d i c i n e . A n a d d i t i o n of a n t i m o n y t o l e a d g r e a t l y i n c r e a s e s its h a r d n e s s , w h i c h , is t a k e n a d v a n t a g e of in t h e m a n u f a c t u r e of t y p e metal a n d bullets. A n t i m o n y c o m p o u n d s a r e u s e d in t h e m a t c h , r u b b e r a n d glass i n d u s t r i e s . Argon ( A r ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 1 8 ; atomic weight—39.944; belongs to t h e g r o u p of i n e r t g a s e s w h i c h form n o compounds either with each other or with any other substances, a n d thus sharply differ f r o m all o t h e r e l e m e n t s . O w e s its n a m e t o its p a s s i v i t y : a r g o n m e a n s " i n a c t i v e " in G r e e k . D i s c o v e r e d b y Ramsay and R a y l e i g h in 1894. E n c o u n t e r e d as a c o n s t i t u e n t of t h e air which contains a b o u t one per c e n t of it. U s e d f o r filling l u m i nescent tubes: emits a bluish light. Arsenic ( A s ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 3 3 ; atomic weight—74.91. Brittle, brown-black volatile metal with a g a r l i c - l i k e o d o u r . T h e n a m e of the element stems from the word arsenicon, meaning mineral dye. K n o w n since h o a r y a n t i q u i t y . Sublimates without melting at 633 ' C. Melts at 818 G. and under a pressure of 36 atmospheres. A r s e n i c a n d its s o l u b l e salts a r e poisonous. Used in alloys with lead and copper: forms a constituent of t h e s u b s t a n c e s u s e d in fighting
27*

agricultural pests (fungicides); e m p l o y e d i n glass m a n u f a c t u r e for d e c o l o u r i z i n g glass. Astatine (At). Atomic n u m b e r — 8 5 ; a t o m i c w e i g h t of its l o n g e s t lived i s o t o p e w i t h a h a l f - l i f e p e r i o d of 8 . 3 h o u r s is 2 1 0 . F i r s t o b t a i n e d in 1940 b y b o m b a r d m e n t of b i s m u t h with a l p h a particles. N a m e d after astatos, the Greek word meaning " u n s t a b l e . " 20 i s o t o p e s a r e k n o w n . Its p r o p e r t i e s q u i t e c o i n c i d e w i t h D. Mendelevev's predictions; M e n d e l c y e v h a d n a m e d it e k a i o d i n e . Barium (Baj. Atomic n u m b e r — 56; atomic w e i g h t - —137.36. Silverv-white metal as h a r d as lead. Discovered in 1774 b y Scheele; first p r o d u c e d in its p u r e s t a t e b y D a v y i n 1808. The n a m e c o m e s from the mineral barite, from w h i c h it w a s p r o d u c e d (bams — h e a v y ) . G o l o u r s t h e flame a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c y e l l o w - g r e e n . I t s salts a r e u s e d as a g o o d w h i t e p a i n t . Berkelium ( B k ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r 97. P r o d u c e d artificially by b o m b a r d m e n t of t h e i s o t o p e of a m e r i c ium with an a t o m i c weight of 2 4 1 . T h e h a l f - l i f e p e r i o d s of t h e berkelium i s o t o p e s t h u s f a r disc o v e r e d d o n o t e x c e e d a few h o u r s . N a m e d a f t e r t h e c i t y of B e r k e l e y i n t h e S t a t e of C a l i f o r n i a ( U . S . A . ) . Beryllium (Be). A t o m i c n u m b e r — 4: atomic weight--9.013. Very hard b u t l i g h t w h i t e m e t a l (its s p e c i f i c g r a v i t y is 1 . 8 5 ) : s t a b l e in t h e a i r . Discovered in [797 by Y a u q u e l i n and named by him glucinum b e c a u s e of t h e s w e e t i s h taste, of its salts. T h i s n a m e h a s p e r s i s t e d o n l y in France. T h e word " b e r y l l i u m " comes from t h e mineral beryl. Used for a l l o y s w i t h c o p p e r ( b e r y l l i u m bronzes) and other metals: makes these, a l l o y s h a r d as steel and "tireless" under stress (watch s p r i n g s ) . L a r g e c o n c e n t r a t i o n s of beryllium minerals are rare. Bismuth ( B i ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 8 3 ; atomic weight—209. Reddish-white, 4'9

brittle, fusible metal. Compounds of b i s m u t h w e r e k n o w n i n a n t i q u i t y b u t a t t h a t t i m e it w a s n o t d i s t i n g u i s h e d from l e a d ; first i s o l a t e d in its n a t i v e s t a t e b y alchemist Basil V a l e n t i n e i n t h e 15th c e n t u r y . F o r m s p a r t of t h e alloys u s e d in p r i n t i n g a n d in d i f f e r e n t fire-fighting devices; interesting for its superconductivity of current at temperatures approaching absolute zero. Boron (B). A t o m i c number—5: atomic weight—10.82. Discovered i n 1 8 0 8 b y D a v y in E n g l a n d a n d by Gay-Lussac and Thenard in France. T h e n a m e comes from the word "borax." Crystalline boron isolated f r o m the alloy with aluminium is almost as hard as diamond. Occurs as boric acid a n d b o r a x a n d in c e r t a i n s i l i c a t e s ( s a l t s of silicic a c i d ) . U s e d m a i n l y for t h e m a n u f a c t u r e of enamels a n d in m e d i c i n e . T h e c o m p o u n d s of boron with carbon and nitrogen are extraordinarily hard. Bromine ! B r . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 3 5 ; a t o m i c weight- 79.916, Discovered by Balard in 1826 a n d named b r o m i u m (bromos— s t i n k i n g ) b e c a u s e of its u n p l e a s a n t o d o u r . Bromine is a d a r k - b r o w n h e a v y l i q u i d ; l i k e a l l t h e h a l o g e n s it is e x t r a o r d i n a r i l y active a n d enters into combination w i t h m o s t of t h e e l e m e n t s . R e a c t s particularly vigorously with metals. Produces severe burns u p o n contact w i t h the skin. Encountered mainly in compounds with potassium, sodium and magnesium. T h e salt-lakes of t h e C r i m e a a r e rich in b r o m i n e . U s e d in m e d i c i n e a n d in t h e p h o t o i n d u s t r y . Cadmium (Cd). Atomic n u m b e r — 4 8 ; a t o m i c w e i g h t — 1 12.41. Silverywhite metal discovered by Strohm e y e r in 1817; n a m e d e r i v e d f r o m t h e G r e e k w o r d cadmes—zinc ore. Closely r e s e m b l e s z i n c in properties a n d a l w a y s a c c o m p a n i e s it in n a t u r e . U s e d i n s t e a d of z i n c
420

for p l a t i n g iron, in alloys with c o p p e r for e n h a n c i n g the s t r e n g t h of c o p p e r w i r e s ; in f u s i b l e a l l o y s a n d yellow paint m a n u f a c t u r e . Calcium (Ca). Atomic n u m b e r — 20; atomic weight—40.08. Alkalineearth metal. Discovered by Davy a n d Bcrzelius in 1809. N a m e c o m e s from the word calx—soft stone (limestone); malleable, rather hard w h i t e m e t a l ; m e l t s a t a b o u t iioo ' C . a n d boils at 1,240 ' C . ; a b u n d a n t in n a t u r e in t h e f o r m of c a r b o n a t e s , s u l p h a t e s a n d silicates. Its a v e r a g e content in the earth's crust is 3.4 per cent. Only 4 elements ( O , Si, A1 a n d F e ) a r e e n c o u n t e r e d in n a t u r e in larger a m o u n t s t h a n calcium. Metallic calcium has not found a n y special application as yet. Californium (Cf). Atomic numb e r — 9 8 . Artificially o b t a i n e d by bombardment of t h e isotope of curium (atomic weight—242) with a l p h a particles. T h e half-life period of c a l i f o r n i u m ( a t o m i c w e i g h t — 2 4 6 ) is 3 5 h o u r s . N a m e d a f t e r t h e S t a t e of C a l i f o r n i a , U . S . A . Carbon (C). Atomic n u m b e r — 6 ; atomic weight—12.oil. Known since early antiquity. N a m e derived f r o m L a t i n carbo—coal. O c c u r s in t h e f o r m of d i a m o n d s , graphite, c o a l , v a r i o u s h y d r o c a r b o n s (oil a n d n a t u r a l gases) a n d in o r g a n i c s u b s t a n c e s . M o s t o f i t , h o w e v e r , is i n c a r b o n a t e s (salts of c a r b o n i c a c i d ) — limestones, m a r b l e s , etc., as well as in solutions w i t h w a t e r and air (in t h e f o r m of c a r b o n d i o x i d e ) . Applications: d i a m o n d — f o r boring, c u t t i n g a n d g r i n d i n g glass, for d e c orations; graphite—as a refractory material (graphite crucibles), lubric a n t , p o w d e r , in pencils, i n r h e o stats a n d in electrodes for arc e l e c t r i c f u r n a c e s ; c o a l a n d oil a r e u s e d as fuel, as o n e of t h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t s o u r c e s of e n e r g y . C a r b o n b l a c k is u s e d i n p a i n t s ( I n d i a n i n k ) . Coal processing yields numerous

chemical products including aniline; d r u g s — a s p i r i n a n d s t r e p t o c i d e ; saccharine ; explosives—trinitrotoluene, •etc. Cassiofieium ( C p ) . N a m e u s e d in s o m e c o u n t r i e s for t h e element l u t e c i u m . S e e lutecium. Cerium (C'.e). A t o m i c n u m b e r — 5 8 ; atomic, w e i g h t — 1 4 0 . 1 3 . R a r e - e a r t h e l e m e n t . Discovered in 1803 b y Hisinger, K l a p r o t h a n d Berzelius a n d n a m e d after the small planet C e r e s . C e r i u m f o r m s p a r t of t h e m i x t u r e u s e d in t h e m a n u f a c t u r e of flints f o r c i g a r e t t e - l i g h t e r s , in m e d i c i n e , a n d in a r t i l l e r y for t r a c e r shells. I t is e x t r a c t e d f r o m m o n a z i t e as a b y - p r o d u c t in t h e p r o d u c t i o n of t h o r i u m . Cesium ( C s ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 5 5 ; a t o m i c weight—132.91. Alkali metal. Specific gravity—1.87: melting point 28.5 C. Named after t h e s k y - b l u e c o l o u r of t h e s p e c t r a l l i n e s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of c e s i u m (cacsius i n L a t i n — b l u e s k y ) . F i r s t of t h e elements discovered by spectral a n a l y s i s ( B u n s e n i n 1860). C o l o u r s t h e test flame v i o l e t . O n l y o n e c e s i u m mineral—pollucite—is known. Ces i u m is u s e d a s t h e m a i n c o n s t i t u e n t in photocells. Chlorine ( C I ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 1 7 : atomic weight—35.457. Discovered b y S c h e e l e in 1 7 7 4 : n a m e d e r i v e d f r o m t h e w o r d chloros—green. Yellow-green gas heavier t h a n air. O c c u r s in salts of s o d i u m a n d p o t a s s i u m dissolved i n t h e w a t e r s of the ocean, o r i n r o c k salt (NaCl) d e p o s i t s . O n e of t h e b a s i c e l e m e n t s of t h e c h e m i c a l i n d u s t r y m a i n l y for t h e p r o d u c t i o n of c h l o r i d e of l i m e : p l a y s a v e r y i m p o r t a n t p a r t in t h e m a n u f a c t u r e of p a i n t s , m a n y d r u g s a n d poison gases. L a r g e q u a n t i t i e s of c h l o r i n e a r e u s e d i n b l e a c h i n g f a b r i c s a n d p a p e r , in sterilizing drinking water and in fighting a g r i c u l t u r a l pests. S o d i u m chloride ( N a C l ) is u s e d i n e n o r m o u s a m o u n t s in food (every h u m a n being con-

s u m e s f r o m 2 t o t o k g . of s a l t a year). Chromium ( C r ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 24; atomic weight 52.01. Discovered by Vauquelin in 1798 while he was decomposing the m i n e r a l crocoile b r o u g h t by Pallas from the Urals. N a m e stems from the Greek word chrome—colouring b e c a u s e of t h e m o t l e y c o l o u r s of its d i f f e r e n t c o m p o u n d s . V e r y b r i t t l e , h a r d a n d very stable against air a n d w a t e r : specific g r a v i t y — 7 . 1 ; melts at 1,765: C . M o s t f r e q u e n t l y e n c o u n t e r e d in t h e m i n e r a l c h r o m i t e . U s e d m a i n l y i n t h e steel i n d u s t r y . C h r o m i u m steels a r e k n o w n for their h a r d n e s s a n d d u r a b i l i t y ; t h e y a r e u s e d for t h e m a n u f a c t u r e of t o o l s a n d g u n tubes. Other m e t a l s a r e c h r o m i u m - p l a t e d in o r d e r to prevent them from corrosion. Cobalt ( C o ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r - - 2 7 : atomic weight—58.94. Discovered b y B r a n d t i n 1735 a n d named after the word cobold. meaning m o u n t a i n spirit or g n o m e . R a t h e r h a r d greyish-white, malleable a n d d u c t i l e m e t a l ; m e l t s a t 1,490" C . ; m a g n e t i c , b u t less so t h a n i r o n ; in a p u l v e r i z e d s t a t e c a p a b l e of absorbing large amounts of h y d r o g e n : resembles iron physically a n d c h e m i c a l l y . O c c u r s in m e t e o r ites (in a l l o y s w i t h n i c k e l a n d i r o n ) a n d in t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t in c o m bination with arsenic a n d sulphur. U s e d in t h e p r o d u c t i o n of s p e c i a l steels, as a b l u e d y e for glass a n d e n a m e l s a n d as a c a t a l y s t in p r o d u c i n g m o t o r fuel f r o m coal. Copper ( C u i . A t o m i c n u m b e r 29; atomic weight—63.54. Red, malleable m e t a l . K n o w n since early antiquity. N a m e d after the Island of C y p r u s b e c a u s e of t h e e x t e n s i v e production of c o p p e r wares on t h e i s l a n d in a n t i q u i t y . Occurs m a i n l y i n c o m b i n a t i o n w i t h sulp h u r , m o r e r a r e l y n a t i v e . U s e d in its p u r e f o r m in e l e c t r i c a l e n g i n e e r i n g a n d is o n e of t h e b e s t c o n d u c t o r s
421

of h e a t a n d e l e c t r i c i t y ; also w i d e l y used in alloys w i t h t i n a n d z i n c (brass). Curium ( C m ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 96. P r o d u c e d a r t i f i c i a l l y in 1944. E i g h t isotopes of c u r i u m a r e k n o w n today. T h e longest-lived isotope is t h e o n e w i t h t h e a t o m i c w e i g h t of 24-). Its h a l f - l i f e is m o r e t h a n 500 y e a r s ; c h e m i c a l l y res. n b l e s t h e r a r e - e a r t h e l e m e n t s . N a m e d in h o n o u r of M a r i e a n d P i e r r e C u r i e a n d of F r e d e r i c a n d I r e n e J o l i o t Curie. Dvi-manganese. See rhenium. Dysprosium ( D y ) . .Atomic n u m ber—66; atomic weight—162.46. Rare-earth element. Discovered by L e c o q d e B o i s b a u d r a n in 1886. Named after the Greek word dysprositos—difficult of access. Einsteinium (En). Atomic numb e r 99. R a d i o a c t i v e e l e m e n t of t h e a c t i n i d e series. S y n t h e s i z e d b y a g r o u p of A m e r i c a n physicists in 1953. F i v e isotopes of e i n s t e i n i u m have been obtained to-date. N a m e d in h o n o u r of t h e g r e a t G e r m a n scientist A. E i n s t e i n . Ekaalumininm. See gallium. Ekaborun. See scandium. Ekacesium. See francium. Ekaiodine. S e e astatine. Ekamanganese. See technetium. Ekasilicon. See germanium. Erbium ( E r ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 6 8 ; atomic weight—167.2. Rare-earth element. Discovered by M o s a n d e r in 1843 a n d n a m e d a f t e r t h e t o w n of Y t t e r b y . Europium (Euj. Atomic number —63; atomic weight—152. Rareearth element. Discovered by Dem a r g a y in i g o i . Its salts a r e coloured pink. Eermium ( F m ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r —100. R a d i o a c t i v e e l e m e n t of t h e a c t i n i d e series. O b t a i n e d in t h e U . S . A . in 1953 b y fission of t h e products resulting f r o m irradiating uranium with a m o m e n t a r y stream of n e u t r o n s . Named in honour
422

of t h e I t a l i a n physicist E . F e r m i . F o u r i s o t o p e s of f e r m i u m w i t h a h a l f - l i f e p e r i o d of 3 0 m i n u t e s t o 16 h o u r s h a v e b e e n synthesized to-date. Fluorine ( F ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 9 ; atomic weight —19.00. Halogenf a m i l y n o n - m e t a l . I n its f r e e s t a t e it w a s first i s o l a t e d b y M o i s s a n in 1886 t h o u g h it h a d b e e n t a k e n for a n e l e m e n t b y . A m p e r e as e a r l y as 1810. The name stems from t h e n a m e of t h e m i n e r a l fluorite. N o r m a l l y it is a gas, g r e e n i s h y e l l o w in its h e a v y layers. S p e c i f i c gravity—1.11 (liquid); melts at — 2 2 3 ° G . : boils a t 188 C . F i n d s n o a p p l i c a t i o n in its f r e e s t a t e . H y d r o f l u o r i c a c i d is w i d e l y u s e d in c h e m i c a l l a b o r a t o r i e s as w e l l as in e t c h i n g glass. Francium ( F r j . .Atomic number — 8 7 : first d i s c o v e r e d b y t h e F r e n c h w o m a n M . P e r c y in 1939 in t h e n a t u r a l r a d i o a c t i v e series of a c t i n i u m disintegration; later p r o d u c e d a r t i f i c i a l l y . T h e b r i e f e x i s t e n c e of t h e isotopes of f r a n c i u m m a k e s it d i f f i c u l t t o s t u d y its c h e m i c a l p r o p erties. T h e a t o m i c w e i g h t of o n e of its isotopes is 223. I n its p r o p e r t i e s it is a k i n t o c e s i u m a n d is o n e of t h e m o s t a c t i v e m e t a l s . N a m e d a f t e r t h e n a t i v e l a n d of t h e investig a t o r . T h e e x i s t e n c e of f r a n c i u m was assumed by D. Mendeleyev w h o d e s c r i b e d it u n d e r t h e n a m e of e k a c e s i u m . Gadolinium ( G d ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r —64; atomic weight—>56.9. Rareearth element. Discovered by Marig n a c in 1880; n a m e d after the m i n e r a l g a d o l i n i t e in 1886. Gallium (Ga). Atomic n u m b e r — 3 1 ; a t o m i c w e i g h t — 6 9 . 7 2 . O n e of the elements whose properties were predicted by D. M e n d e l e y e v (ekaa l u m i n i u m ) . Discovered by Lecoq d e B o i s b a u d r a n in 1875 b y t h e spectral m e t h o d and named in h o n o u r of F r a n c e w h o s e old n a m e w a s G a l l i a . S i l v e r y - w h i t e soft m e t a l

with very low melting t e m p e r a t u r e of 2 9 . 8 G . ( m e l t s i n t h e h a n d ) , b u t w i t h a b o i l i n g t e m p e r a t u r e of 2 , 3 0 0 C . ; solid g a l l i u m is l i g h t e r than liquid gallium and therefore floats in its o w n m e l t ; b e l o n g s t o the rare dispersed elements; used i n t h e m a n u f a c t u r e of thermom e t e r s for m e a s u r i n g high temperatures and luminous compounds; a l s o u s e d in t h e p r o d u c t i o n of o p t i c a l mirrors. Germanium (Ge). Atomic number—32; atomic weight—72.60. O n e of t h e r a r e s t e l e m e n t s w h o s e p r o p erties w e r e p r e d i c t e d by D . M e n d e l e y e v ( e k a s i l i c o n ) . D i s c o v e r e d in 1886 b y W i n k l e r b y t h e s p e c t r a l method. Possesses both metallic and non-metallic properties. Finds application in radio-engineering f o r t h e m a n u f a c t u r e of l u m i n o u s c o m p o u n d s a n d for t h e p r o d u c t i o n of s p e c i a l s o r t s of glass. Glucinum (Gl). See beryllium. Gold ( A u ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 7 9 ; atomic weight—197.2. Known since h o a r y a n t i q u i t y . Malleable a n d s o f t m e t a l ; resists o x i d a t i o n ; dissolves o n l y i n a q u a r e g i a ; d o e s not readily form c o m p o u n d s with other elements; only its alloys with silver and its compounds with selenium and tellurium are k n o w n . S p e c i f i c g r a v i t y of c h e m i c a l l y p u r e g o l d is 19.3 (of n a t i v e g o l d c o n t a i n i n g f r o m 15 t o 25. p e r c e n t s i l v e r — 1 5 t o 16). M e l t s a t 1,060° C . a n d b o i l s a t 2 , 6 7 7 ° C . T h i n l e a v e s of g o l d s h o w u p g r e e n . G o l d is a c u r r e n c y m e t a l a n d t h i s c o n s t i t u t e s its m a i n v a l u e . I t s t e c h n i cal applications are insignificant; contacts, gold-plated articles, p h o t o g raphy and medicine. Hafnium (Hf). Atomic number —72; atomic weight—178.6. T h o u g h a more abundant element t h a n g o l d o r s i l v e r a n d its c o n t e n t in s o m e m i n e r a l s a m o u n t s to 30 per c e n t , it w a s d i s c o v e r e d o n l y i n 1923 b y C o s t e r a n d H c v e s y . T h i s

was d u e to the extraordinary resemb l a n c e of its c h e m i c a l p r o p e r t i e s t o t h o s e of z i r c o n i u m f r o m w h i c h hafnium can be separated only with difficulty. Metallic hafnium is v e r y h a r d a n d h a s a h i g h m e l t ing point (about 2.200 C.i. In t h e f o r m of o x i d e s k c o n s t i t u t e s p a r t of t h e a l l o y s u s e d in t h e m a n u f a c t u r e of e l e c t r o n v a l v e f i l a m e n t s . F i n d s l i m i t e d u s e in t h e radio i n d u s t r y as s u p e r - f i r e p r o o f m a t e r i a l . Its n a m e comes f r o m the ancient name of the Danish capital— Copenhagen (Hafnia). Helium ( H e ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 2 ; a t o m i c w e i g h t — 4 . 0 0 3 . N o b l e gas. F i r s t s p e c t r o s c o p i c lines d i s c o v e r e d b y J . J a n n s e n in 1868 in t h e a t m o s p h e r e of t h e s u n . O n e a r t h d i s c o v e r e d b y R a m s a y in 1 8 9 5 ; t h e l a t t e r isolated this gas f r o m the m i n e r a l cleveite. T h e n a m e comes f r o m t h e w o r d helios—sun. Second l i g h t e s t of all g a s e s a f t e r h y d r o g e n ; it is 8 t i m e s as l i g h t as a i r . Found in the atmosphere and t o g e t h e r w i t h o t h e r n a t u r a l gases in t h e i n t e r i o r of t h e e a r t h ; f o r m e d d u r i n g r a d i o a c t i v e d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of elements; the alpha particle which comes flying o u t of t h e atomic nuclei of radioactive elements is a positively charged nucleus of h e l i u m ; used together with h y d r o g e n f o r filling d i r i g i b l e s ; p r e vents the latter from exploding. Lowest t e m p e r a t u r e on earth, nearly — 2 7 3 ° C., has b e e n o b t a i n e d by evaporating helium. Holmium ( H o ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 67; atomic weight—164.94. Rareearth element. Discovered by the S w e d i s h c h e m i s t C l e v e in 1879. H o l m i u m salts a r e p i n k - c o l o u r e d . N a m e d after the Swedish capital Stockholm. Hydrogen ( H ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 1 ; atomic weight—1.008. Lightest a n d first e l e m e n t in t h e p e r i o d i c s y s t e m of e l e m e n t s . C o n s t i t u t e s a b o u t 1 p e r c e n t of t h e e n t i r e m a s s of t h e e a r t h ' s

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crust, including w a t e r a n d the air. C o l o u r l e s s g a s , f o u r t e e n t i m e s as l i g h t as a i r . D i s c o v e r e d i n the first h a l f of t h e 1 6 t h c e n t u r y byP a r a c e l s u s as a r e s u l t of t h e r e a c t i o n between sulphuric acid a n d iron. I n 1766 C a v e n d i s h d i s c o v e r e d its properties and pointed out its differences f r o m the o t h e r gases. L a v o i s i e r w a s t h e first t o p r o d u c e h y d r o g e n f r o m w a t e r in 1 7 8 3 a n d to p r o v e that w a t e r was a c h e m i c a l c o m p o u n d of h y d r o g e n a n d o x y g e n . On the earth hydrogen occurs o n l y in c o m p o u n d s — i n w a t e r , oil a n d in t h e tissues of l i v i n g c e l l s : in its f r e e s t a t e it is f o u n d i n i n s i g n i f i c a n t q u a n t i t i e s in t h e u p p e r l a y e r s of t h e a t m o s p h e r e : a l s o l i b e r a t e d during volcanic eruptions. Spect r o s c o p i c a l l y d i s c o v e r e d in t h e s u n a n d in t h e s t a r s . A c c o r d i n g to m o d e r n conceptions, the substance of t h e c o s m o s c o n s i s t s of 30 t o 50 p e r c e n t f r e e h y d r o g e n w h o s e atom is t h e principal building b r i c k of t h e u n i v e r s e . I n a d d i t i o n to h y d r o g e n w i t h a n a t o m i c w e i g h t of 1 t h e r e a r e t w o r a r e i s o t o p e s w i t h a t o m i c w e i g h t s of 2 a n d 3 w h i c h in c o m b i n a t i o n w i t h o x y g e n y i e l d " h e a v y w a t e r . " H y d r o g e n is u s e d for filling d i r i g i b l e s a n d b a l l o o n s in w h i c h it a c t s as t h e l i f t i n g f o r c e because it is l i g h t e r than air. I n a u t o g e n o u s w e l d i n g its f l a m e develops a temperature of up t o 2 , 0 0 0 " C . ; it is a l s o u s e d in t h e chemical industry for producing a r t i f i c i a l oil f r o m c o a l . Illinium (II). A n e l e m e n t w i t h a n a t o m i c w e i g h t of 61 w a s d e s c r i b e d u n d e r this n a m e . T h e f a c t of its d i s c o v e r y w a s n o t c o n f i r m e d . See promethium. Indium ( I n ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 4 9 ; atomic weight—114.76. Rather rare dispersed element. Discovered by the spectral m e t h o d by Reich a n d R i c h t e r in 1 8 6 3 ; n a m e d a f t e r t h e d a r k - b l u e , i n d i g o - c o l o u r e d lines in its s p e c t r u m . S i l v e r y - w h i t e metal

s o f t e r t h a n l e a d in its f r e e s t a t e ; n o m i n e r a l s rich in i n d i u m a r e k n o w n ; o r e s of m a n y m e t a l s c o n t a i n i n s i g n i f i c a n t a d m i x t u r e s of its c o m p o u n d s , especially with zinc. Best m e t a l f o r t h e manufacture of m i r r o r s . Iodine ( I ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 5 3 ; atomic weight—126.92. Dispersed element. Typical non-metal. Usually solid, v o l a t i l e a n d e a s i l y s o l u b l e i n a n u m b e r of s o l v e n t s . D i s c o v e r e d b y C o u r t o i s in 1811. P r o d u c e d i n i n d u s t r y from C h i l e a n saltpetre in a m o u n t s of u p t o 1,000 t o n s a y e a r : a l s o e n c o u n t e r e d in m i n e r a l oil waters and extracted from seaweeds. N a m e derived from the G r e e k w o r d iodis—violet because of t h e c o l o u r of its v a p o u r s . F i n d s extensive a p p l i c a t i o n in m e d i c i n e , r o e n t g e n o t h e r a p y , m a n u f a c t u r e of p o l a r i z i n g glass, p h o t o g r a p h y a n d i n dyes. Iridium ( I r ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 7 7 ; a t o m i c w e i g h t - - 1 9 3 . 1 . O n e of t h e heaviest m e t a l s (specific g r a v i t y — 22.4). Discovered by T e n n a n t in p l a t i n u m o r e s i n 1803. N a m e d e r i v e d from the word iridis—iridescent (because of the particoloured s o l u t i o n s of its salts : n o t e d for its great hardness a n d chemical stability; melts at 2.454 C . : chemically closely r e s e m b l e s r h o d i u m ; o c c u r s as a f e l l o w - t r a v e l l e r of p l a t i n u m ; u s e d i n its p u r e s t a t e f o r c r u c i b l e s , h i g h - t e m p e r a t u r e electric furnaces a n d t h e r m o e l e m e n t s ; also e x t e n sively u s e d i n a l l o y s . Irm (Fe). Atomic n u m b e r — 2 6 ; a t o m i c w e i g h t — 5 5 . 8 5 . K n o w n since early antiquity. Easily oxidizes a n d freely c o m b i n e s w i t h o t h e r elements a n d is, t h e r e f o r e , h a r d t o o b t a i n i n its p u r e s t a t e . M e t a l l i c iron is s t e e l - g r e y a n d m a l l e a b l e : has t h e h i g h e s t m a g n e t i c p r o p e r t i e s of all m e t a l s . Compounds of iron a n d c a r b o n (steels, c o n t a i n i n g f r o m 0.2 to 2 p e r cent c a r b o n , a n d pig irons c o n t a i n i n g f r o m 2.5 to 4 p e r

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c e n t c a r b o n ) f o r m t h e b a s i s of t h e i r o n a n d steel i n d u s t r y of o u r a g e . T h e principal ores a r e h e m a t i t e — Fe.,0 : 1 ) m a g n e t i t e — F e 3 0 4 , i r o n c a r b o n a t e or siderite — F e C O , and h y d r o u s o x i d e s of i r o n — F e . , 0 : l n H 2 0 . T h e earth's crust contains 4.7 per cent iron; the cosmos contains more. Rocks w i t h m o r e t h a n 30 per cent iron a r e iron ores. ICrypton ( K r ;. A t o m i c n u m b e r — 3 6 : atomic weight—83.66. Inert gas discovered by R a m s a y a n d T r a v ers in 1898; n a m e d e r i v e d f r o m t h e G r e e k w o r d kryplos, meaning h i d d e n . O c c u r s as a c o n s t i t u e n t of t h e a i r i n w h i c h it is c o n t a i n e d in negligible quantities. Lanthanum (La). Atomic number—57; atomic weight—138.92. Rare-earth element. Discovered by M o s a n d e r in 1 8 3 9 ; n a m e d e r i v e d from the Greek word lanthenein, m e a n i n g h i d e ; c o n s t i t u e n t of t h e alloy used for " f l i n t s " in cigarettelighters. Lanthanoids ( l a t h a n i d e s ) . S e e rareearth elements. Lead ( P b ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 8 2 : atomic weight—207.21. Known since early antiquity. Bluish-grey, soft, h e a v y m e t a l . Specific g r a v i t y 11.34; m<"hs at 3270 G. H a s m a n y uses. U s e d c h i e f l y i n t h e m a n u f a c t u r e of c a b l e sheathing and storage-battery plates; a large a m o u n t of it is u s e d i n t h e m a n u f a c t u r e of b u l l e t s a n d s h o t . C o n s t i t u e n t of m a n y a l l o y s : b a b b i t s , type metals, etc. C o m p o u n d s of lead a r e used as a w h i t e p a i n t . O c c u r s m a i n l y in g a l c f i a (PbS) f r o m w h i c h l e a d is e x t r a c t e d . Lithium (Li). A t o m i c n u m b e r — 3 ; a t o m i c w e i g h t — 6 . 9 4 0 . T h e lightest m e t a l . L i g h t e r t h a n w a t e r (specific gravity—0.534). Discovered by Arfvedson in 1817; name derived from the Greek work lithos—stone. B e l o n g s t o t h e g r o u p of alkali m e t a l s a n d is k n o w n f o r its v e r y high chemical activity; closely

resembles potassium and sodium chemically. I t s salts c o l o u r the test flame b r i g h t r e d . E n c o u n t e r e d o n l y in c o m p o u n d s ; t r a c e s of it a r e f o u n d in t h e w a t e r s of m a n y m i n e r a l s p r i n g s . U s e d in t h e m a n u f a c t u r e of b a t t e r i e s f o r s u b m a r i n e s , in s p e c i a l a l l o y s a n d in w e l d i n g a l u m i n i u m wares. Lutecium ( L u ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 7 1 ; atomic weight—174.99. Rare-earth element. Discovered simultaneously b y U r b a i n in F r a n c e a n d b y A u e r in G e r m a n y . 1 h e f o r m e r n a m e d it l u t e c i u m a f t e r t h e old n a m e of P a r i s ; t h e l a t t e r g a v e it t h e n a m e of c a s s i o p e i u m . B o t h n a m e s are u s e d in l i t e r a t u r e . T h e n a m e u s e d in t h e S o v i e t U n i o n is l u t e c i u m . Magnesium (Mg). Atomic number—12; atomic weight—24.32. A l k a l i n e - e a r t h m e t a l . Discovered by e l e c t r o l y s i s b y D a v y i n 1808. N a m e d a f t e r t h e m i n e r a l magnesia alba. ( M a g n e s i a is a l o c a l i t y in G r e e c e ; alba m e a n s w h i t e . ) A b u n d a n t in n a t u r e ; constitutes 2.5 per cent of t h e w e i g h t of t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t a n d is a c o n s t i t u e n t of c a r b o n a t e and silicate rocks. Enormous a m o u n t s of d i s s o l v e d magnesium salts a r e f o u n d in s e a - w a t e r : light (specific g r a v i t y — 1 . 7 4 ) a n d m a l l e able; very active chemically, but s t a b l e in a l l o y s . H a s f o u n d c o n s i d e r a b l e a p p l i c a t i o n in t h e a i r c r a f t i n d u s t r y in t h e f o r m of m a g n e s i u m a l u m i n i u m alloys. Manganese ( M n j . Atomic number—25; atomic weight—54.93. A silverv-white, hard metal. Disc o v e r e d b y S c h e e l e in 1774 ill t h e mineral pvrolusite (native manganese dioxide sometimes called black magnesia, hence the name of t h e e l e m e n t ) . V e r y a b u n d a n t in n a t u r e ; f o r m s a c c u m u l a t i o n s of b l a c k p v r o l u s i t e in m a r i n e s e d i m e n t s . U s e d i n m e t a l l u r g y for i m p r o v i n g the q u a l i t y of s t e e l , in t h e p a i n t i n d u s t r y a n d in m a n y b r a n c h e s of t h e c h e m i cal industry.
42")

Masurium. D i s c o v e r y of a n elem e n t . w i t h t h e a t o m i c n u m b e r of 43 was reported in 1924. This d i s c o v e r y is n o t r e c o g n i z e d t o d a y . See lechnelium. Mendelevium (Mv). Atomic numb e r — 1 0 1 . O b t a i n e d in t h e U . S . A . in 1955 b y b o m b a r d i n g e i n s t e i n i u m 253 with high-energy a l p h a particles. N a m e d in h o n o u r of t h e R u s s i a n chemist D. Mendeleyev. Mercury ( H g ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — Bo; a t o m i c w e i g h t — 2 0 0 . 6 1 . The only m e t a l found in a liquid state u n d e r normal conditions. Known since early a n t i q u i t y . L a t i n n a m e (hydrargyrum) stems from the Greek w o r d s hydor argyros — l i q u i d silver. Solidifies a t — 3 9 - 3 C . ; b o i l s at 357'' C . Specific g r a v i t y — 1 3 . 6 . Dissolves m a n y m e t a l s ( g o l d , silver, copper and tin) y i e l d i n g l i q u i d a n d solid a l l o y s c a l l e d a m a l g a m s . Its v a p o u r s a r e v e r y poisonous. U s e d in filling v a r i o u s i n s t r u m e n t s (for e x a m p l e , thermometers), in m e d i c i n e , in e x t r a c t i n g g o l d f r o m ores a n d in m a n u f a c t u r i n g m e r c u r y f u l m i n a t e , o n e of t h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t detonators. Encountered in the mineral cinnabar (HgSj. Molybdenum (Mo). Atomic number—42 ; atomic weight—95.95. Greyish-white metal, hard and malleable a t a h i g h t e m p e r a t u r e . Disc o v e r e d b y H j e l m in 1782, b u t pure m o l y b d e n u m was produced b y M o i s s a n o n l y in 1895. The n a m e stems from the Greek word molybdos, m e a n i n g l e a d , b e c a u s e of t h e r e s e m b l a n c e of t h e l a t t e r t o the mineral molybdenite. Found m a i n l y as m o l y b d e n i t e o r m o l y b d e n u m disulphide (MoS2), a mineral which externally resembles graphite. M e t a l l i c m o l y b d e n u m is u s e d in steel a l l o y s t o m a k e t h e m very h a r d a n d d u r a b l e . Its alloy w i t h tungsten replaces platinum. Also u s e d as a n a n t i c a t h o d e in R o e n t g e n tubes a n d for the a n c h o r s that s u p p o r t the tungsten f i l a m e n t in
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electric bulbs. C o m b i n e s with c a r b o n to f o r m the c a r b i d e M o C 2 , a very hard product. Neodymium (Nd). Atomic number—60; atomic weight—144.27. R a r e - e a r t h element. Discovered b y A u e r in 1885 a s a r e s u l t of s p l i t t i n g didymium. formerly considered an e l e m e n t , in t w o : n e o d y m i u m — n e w twin—and praseodymium. Neodymi u m salts a r e p i n k - r e d . Neon ( N e ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 1 0 ; a t o m i c w e i g h t — 2 0 . 1 8 3 . N o b l e gas discovered by R a m s a y a n d Travels i n 1898 s i m u l t a n e o u s l y w i t h k r y p t o n a n d xenon. N a m e derived from the G r e e k w o r d neos—new. Encountered as a n e g l i g i b l e a d m i x t u r e i n t h e air. Used for filling gas-light lamps (neon lamps) which emit a red light. Neptunium (Np). Atomic numb e r — 9 3 . F i r s t of t r a n s u r a n i u m elem e n t s . P r o d u c e d a r t i f i c i a l l y in 1940 b y b o m b a r d m e n t of u r a n i u m w i t h n e u t r o n s . R a d i o a c t i v e . 12 i s o t o p e s are k n o w n t o d a y ; the longest-lived i s o t o p e is t h e o n e w i t h a n a t o m i c w e i g h t of 2 3 7 : its h a l f - l i f e is 2.2 million years. Chemically resembles u r a n i u m . N a m e d after the planet N e p t u n e . O c c u r s in n e g l i g i b l e q u a n tities. Nickel ( N i ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 2 8 ; atomic weight—58.69. Silvery-white, r a t h e r h a r d metal. T h e n a m e stems f r o m t h e m i n e r a l Kupfernickel which means worthless copper. Discovered b y C r o n s t e d t in 1751. M e l t s a t 1,455 C . O c c u r s in c o m b i n a t i o n w i t h s u l p h u r or in silicate ores. Widely used for nickel-plating, in t h e m a n u f a c t u r e of s p e c i a l steels a n d as a c a t a l y s t . Niobium (Nb). Atomic n u m b e r — 41; atomic weight—92.91. Greyishwhite, hard and malleable metal. Discov ered b y H a t c h e t t m 1801 and named columbium by the d i s c o v e r e r . I n 1846 R o s e d i v i d e d columbium into two elements— niobium and tantalum. The name

columbium persists in A m e r i c a , w h i l e niobium p r e v a i l s in t h e E u r o p e a n countries. N a m e d after the n y m p h N i o b e . t h e d a u g h t e r of T a n t a l u s . O b t a i n e d in its p u r e s t a t e in 1 9 0 7 ; extraordinarily stable against various c h e m i c a l i n f l u e n c e s . F o u n d closely associated with t a n t a l u m a n d titan i u m . U s e d in s p e c i a l a l l o y s a n d in steels f o r t h e m a n u f a c t u r e of very important welded structures s i n c e t h e a d d i t i o n of n i o b i u m g r e a t l y enhances thcstrength ofwelded seams. E m p l o y e d in t h e p r o d u c t i o n o f s u p e r h a r d alloys: offers serious a d v a n t a g e s for e l e c t r o - v a c u u m e n g i n e e r i n g . Nitrogen ( N ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 7 ; atomic weight—14.008. Colourless g a s c o n s t i t u t i n g 4 / 5 of t h e v o l u m e of t h e s u r r o u n d i n g a i r . F i r s t i n d i c a t i o n s of t h e e x i s t e n c e of n i t r o g e n as a s e p a r a t e substance were m a d e b y R u t h e r f o r d ( 1 7 7 2 ) , b u t it w a s only Lavoisier w h o proved that it W a s a n e l e m e n t a n d w h o g a v e it t h e n a m e of a z o t e ( t h e G r e e k for "lifeless"). T h e Latin n a m e Nitrogenium a n d the m o d e r n English n a m e n i t r o g e n o r i g i n a t e d f r o m nitron saltpetre a n d genus. In addition t o t h e a i r . n i t r o g e n is f o u n d in all l i v i n g o r g a n i s m s , as w e l l as in t h e f o r m of t h e s a l t p e t r e s , i.e., t h e n i s t r a t c of s o d i u m a n d p o t a s s i u m . F r e e n i t r o g e n is u s e d i n e l e c t r i c l a m p s ; its c o m p o u n d s a r e of e n o r m o u s i m p o r t a n c e a s f e r t i l i z e r s a n d as c o n s t i t u e n t s of e x p l o s i v e s . Osmium (Os). Atomic n u m b e r — 76; a t o m i c weight—190.2. Belongs t o t h e g r o u p of p l a t i n u m m e t a l s . D i s c o v e r e d b y T e n n a n t in 1803: n a m e derived from the Greek word nsme—odoriferous because the vap o u r s of o s m i c a n h y d r i d e s m e l l of rotten radish. Chemically very s t a b l e e l e m e n t . S p e c i f i c g r a v i t y of 2 2 . 4 8 , is t h e h i g h e s t of all t h e substances on earth. Melts at 2 . 5 0 0 ' C . O c c u r s in its n a t i v e s t a t e t o g e t h e r w i t h p l a t i n u m . A l l o y of o s m i u m a n d i r i d i u m is u n c o m m o n l y

h a r d a n d is u s e d for tips of f o u n t a i n pens. Oxygen ( O ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r 8: a t o m i c w e i g h t — 1 6 . 0 0 0 0 . The n a m e l i t e r a l l y m e a n s " a c i d f o r m e r . " Disc o v e r e d b y P r i e s t l e y in 1 774. E x t r a o r d i n a r i l y a b u n d a n t in n a t u r e , c o n s t i t u t i n g 4 9 . 5 p e r c e n t of t h e e a r t h ' s crust by w e i g h t . Plays a n e n o r m o u s p a r t in n a t u r a l p r o c e s s e s : c o n s t i t u e n t of water, most minerals and o r g a n i s m s : w i d e l y u s e d in m e t a l l u r g y (in t h e s m e l t i n g of p i g i r o n ) , in a u t o g e n o u s w e l d i n g a n d in a n u m b e r of b r a n c h e s of t h e c h e m i c a l i n d u s t r y : liquid oxygen or liquid ait a r e u s e d as p o w e r f u l e x p l o s i v e s . Palladium ( P d ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 4 6 ; a t o m i c w e i g h t - 106.7. E l e m e n t of t h e p l a t i n u m g r o u p . D i s c o v e r e d b y W o l l a s t o n in 1803 a n d n a m e d in h o n o u r of t h e s m a l l planet ( a s t e r o i d ) P a l l a s . Softest a n d m o s t m a l l e a b l e of all t h e e l e m e n t s of the platinum group. Remarkable for its a b i l i t y t o a b s o r b t r e m e n d o u s a m o u n t s of h y d r o g e n ( u p t o 3 0 0 v o l u m e s p e r o n e v o l u m e of t h e m e t a l ) w h i l e r e t a i n i n g its m e t a l l i c appearance but increasing in v o l u m e . U s e d in j e w e l l e r y b e c a u s e of its b e a u t y . Phosphorus (P). .Atomic number—15; atomic weight 30.975. R e c e i v e d its n a m e b e c a u s e of its luminescence (from the (Jreek words phos—light and photos bearing). Discovered by Brandt in 1669. Specific gravity 1.83; melts at 44 C . ; boils at 2 8 0 . 5 ' C . T h e following varieties are k n o w n : yellow phosphorus, red phosphorus: in 1914 B r i d g e m a n p r o d u c e d black p h o s p h o r u s . A b u n d a n t in t h e e a r t h ' s c r u s t in t h e f o r m of p h o s p h a t e s ; c o n s t i t u e n t of n u m e r o u s m i n e r a l s : apatite, turquoise, iron phosphates, c o p p e r p h o s p h a t e s , e t c . U s e d in t h e m a n u f a c t u r e of m a t c h e s , in the production of s m o k e - s c r e e n s , kindling substances, etc. P h o s p h o rites a n d a p a t i t e a r e the most im427

p o r t a n t r a w materials for t h e p r o duction of phosphorus-containing fertilizers. Platinum (Pti. Atomic number — 7 8 ; atomic weight—195.23. Chief e l e m e n t of t h e p l a t i n u m group. Discovered by A n t o n i o U l l o a in 1838 i n t h e g o l d - b e a r i n g s a n d of t h e P i n t o R i v e r ; as a n i n d e p e n d e n t element described by W a t s o n in 1750. N a m e s t e m s f r o m t h e S p a n i s h w o r d plalina, a d i m i n u t i v e o f p l a t a — silver. S p e c i f i c g r a v i t y — 2 1 . 4 ; m e l t s a t 1,773.5 C . S h i n i n g , malleable m e t a l ; does not c h a n g e in the air even w h e n heated to the highest possible t e m p e r a t u r e . As a r e f r a c tory a n d chemically stable element f i n d s e x t e n s i v e a p p l i c a t i o n in s c i e n tific a n d t e c h n i c a l l a b o r a t o r i e s . O c c u r s n a t i v e . M i n e d m o s t l y in p l a c e r deposits. Plutonium (Pu). Atomic numb e r — 9 4 . First a r t i f i c i a l l y p r o d u c e d in 1941 b y b o m b a r d m e n t of u r a nium with deuterium—nuclei of heavy hydrogen. Radioactive. 12 isotopes a r c k n o w n today. The l o n g e s t - l i v e d i s o t o p e is t h e o n e w i t h a n a t o m i c w e i g h t of 2 4 2 . I t s h a l f life is 5 0 0 , 0 0 0 y e a r s . I s o t o p e 2 3 9 is the basic p r o d u c t for o b t a i n i n g a t o m ic e n e r g y : c h e m i c a l l y r e s e m b l e s u r a nium. Named after the planet P l u t o . F o u n d as a n e g l i g i b l e a d m i x t u r e in n a t i v e u r a n i u m ores ( a b o u t 1 a t o m of p l u t o n i u m p e r 1 4 0 , 0 0 0 m i l l i o n a t o m s of u r a n i u m ) . Polonium ( P o ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 84: atomic weight—210.0. Radioactive element. Discovered by M a r i e C u r i e in 1898 a n d n a m e d in h o n o u r of h e r n a t i v e P o l a n d . Has not b e e n p r o d u c e d in its p u r e s t a t e . C h e m i c a l l y v e r y closely r e s e m b l e s t e l l u r i u m a n d is a m e m b e r of t h e u r a n i u m series of r a d i o a c t i v e elem e n t s . I t s h a l f - l i f e is 137.6 days_ Potassium ( K ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 19; a t o m i c w e i g h t — 3 9 . 0 9 6 . First isolated by electrolysis f r o m caustic p o t a s h b y D a v y in 1807. Latin
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n a m e (kalium) comes from the arabic w o r d alkali; English n a m e — f r o m potash. Does not occur native but is v e r y a b u n d a n t i n s i l i c a t e s a n d halides. The potassium isotope h a v i n g a n a t o m i c w e i g h t of 4 0 is r a d i o a c t i v e . P o t a s s i u m is a s i l v e r y w h i t e m e t a l , s o f t as w a x ; o x i d i z e s r a p i d l y i n t h e a i r a n d is, t h e r e f o r e , k e p t in k e r o s e n e . M e l t s a t 6 3 . 5 ' C „ b o i l s a t 7 6 2 ° C . I t is l i g h t e r t h a n w a t e r (specific g r a v i t y — 0 . 8 6 2 ) . W i t h s o d i u m y i e l d s a n a l l o y w h i c h is liquid at usual temperatures a n d which can replace mercury in thermometers. Metallic potassium finds v e r y l i t t l e a p p l i c a t i o n b e c a u s e it is r e p l a c e d b y c h e a p e r s o d i u m . Praseodymium (Pr). Atomic n u m ber—59; atomic weight—140.92. Rare-earth element. Discovered together with n e o d y m i u m by Aucr in 1885. N a m e d e r i v e d f r o m t h e G r e e k w o r d s praseos a n d didymos— g r e e n t w i n . I t s salts a r e g r e e n . Promethium (Pm). Atomic number—61. In Mcndeleyev's periodic s y s t e m l o c a t e d i n t h e g r o u p of rare-earth elements. Chemically i s o l a t e d f r o m f r a g m e n t s of u r a n i u m fission as a r e l a t i v e l y long-lived isotope, w i t h a n a t o m i c number of 147. I t s h a l f - l i f e is c l o s e t o 4 y e a r s . N a m e d i n h o n o u r of t h e m y t h o l o g i cal titan Prometheus. Protactinium (Pa). Atomic n u m b e r — 9 1 ; a t o m i c w e i g h t — 2 3 1 . Silvervwhitc metal. Radioactive element. Discovered by Halin and Lise M e i t n e r in 1917. I n 1927 G r o s s e i s o l a t e d a f r a c t i o n of a g r a m of free p r o t a c t i n i u m . N a m e derived f r o m t h e G r e e k w o r d s protos and actinos—first ray. Occurs together w i t h u r a n i u m a n d is o n e of t h e p r o d u c t s of its d i s i n t e g r a t i o n . I t s h a l f - l i f e is 3 , 2 0 0 y e a r s . Radium (Rai. Atomic n u m b e r — 8 8 ; a t o m i c weight—226.05. Silvery metal which decomposes water at ordinary temperature. Radioactive element of the uranium series

discovered by the Curies in pitch-blende in 1898. N a m e derived f r o m the w o r d radius—ray. C h e m i c a l l y v e r y closely resembles b a r i u m a n d it is, t h e r e f o r e , v e r y h a r d t o s e p a r a t e t h e salts of r a d i u m f r o m t h o s e of b a r i u m . T h e m o s t r e m a r k a b l e p r o p e r t y of r a d i u m is its h i g h r a d i o a c t i v i t y , s e v e r a l m i l l i o n t i m e s t h a t of u r a n i u m . Radium emits alpha, beta a n d g a m m a rays. T h e s a l t s of r a d i u m a r e l u m i n o u s ; t h e r a y s it e m i t s , in a d d i t i o n t o acting on photo-plates, productm a n y chemical reactions, destroy a n i m a l o r g a n i s m s a n d kill b a c t e r i a . T h e a b i l i t y of r a d i u m incessantly t o l i b e r a t e l a r g e a m o u n t s of energyis p a r t i c u l a r l y a s t o u n d i n g . I t s h a l f life is 1 , 5 8 0 y e a r s . U s e d i n m e d i c i n e for t r e a t i n g c a n c e r a n d lupus. Radioactive elements. C h e m i c a l elem e n t s continuously e m i t t i n g invisible r a y s w h i c h like X - r a y s p e r m e a t e through various substances, m a k e t h e air electroconductive a n d blacken p h o t o - p l a t e s , etc., a r e called r a d i o active. R a y s emitted by radioactive elements are divided into alpha rays, b e t a rays a n d g a m m a , rays. Potassium isotope with a n atomic w e i g h t of 4 0 , o n e of t h e i s o t o p e s of r u b i d i u m , i n d i u m , l a n t h a n u m , samarium, and rhenium, uranium, thorium, polonium, radium, protact i n i u m a n d all t r a n s u r a n i u m e l e ments have radioactive properties. Radon ( R n ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 8 6 ; atomic weight—222.0. Heaviest n o b l e g a s ; p r o d u c t of r a d i o a c t i v e t r a n s f o r m a t i o n of r a d i u m . Shortl i v e d : its h a l f - l i f e is 3 . 8 5 d a y s ; t r a n s f o r m e d i n t o h e l i u m a n d solid s u b s t a n c e r a d i u m A. Discovered by D o r n in igoo. The n a m e stems from t h e s a m e r o o t as t h e w o r d radium. W a s also called r a d i u m e m a n a t i o n a n d niton. U s e d in t r e a t i n g c a n c e r . Rare earths ( T R ) . Box 57 of Mendeleyev's Periodic T a b l e contains not o n e element, as d o the o t h e r b o x e s , b u t 15 c l o s e l y r e l a t e d

elements. Their atomic n u m b e r s run f r o m 5 7 t o 71. T h e s e e l e m e n t s a r e u n i t e d u n d e r t h e g e n e r a l title of r a r e e a r t h s 01 " r a r e - e a r t h " e l e m e n t s or, finally, l a n t h a n o i d s (lanthanides). T h e rare earths include lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, promethium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterb i u m a n d l u t e c i u m . Y t t r i u m ( N o . 39) is a l s o c o n s i d e r e d o n e of t h e r a r e e a r t h e l e m e n t s . T w o g r o u p s of r a r e earths are distinguished: yttrian and c c r i a n . All t h e r a r e e a r t h s a r e very m u c h alike in their properties. In their free state these metals have very high melting points; they decompose water at ordinary temperature. In nature they are always encountered mixed with each other. I t is v e r y d i f f i c u l t t o d i v i d e t h e r a r e e a r t h s . M o n a z i t e is t h e m a i n r a r e earth containing mineral. Only c e r i u m h a s so far a c q u i r e d p r a c t i c a l importance. T h e h i s t o r y of t h e d i s c o v e r y of i n d i v i d u a l r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s of t h e r a r e e a r t h s is r a t h e r c o m p l i c a t e d . T h e e x i s t e n c e of a " n e w e a r t h " w a s first e s t a b l i s h e d b y G a d o l i n i n 1 7 9 4 ; t h e last of t h e rare earths to be discovered was l u t e c i u m ; p r o m e t h i u m (No. 61) was artificially p r o d u c e d recently. A d ditional information on the indiv i d u a l e l e m e n t s of t h e r a r e - e a r t h g r o u p will b e f o u n d u n d e r t h e i r names. Rhenium (Re). Atomic n u m b e r — 7 5 ; a t o m i c w e i g h t — 1 8 6 . 3 1 . O n e of t h e m o s t d i s p e r s e d e l e m e n t s discovered by M . a n d M m e . Noddack o n l y i n 1925. N a m e d a f t e r t h e R h i n e R i v e r . Its properties h a d b e e n predicted by D. Mendeleyev. who n a m e d it d v i m a n g a n e s e . I n e x t e r n a l appearance metallic r h e n i u m res e m b l e s p l a t i n u m . I t is o n e of t h e h e a v i e s t a n d m o s t r e f r a c t o r y elements. T h e m e t a l is p a r t i c u l a r l y v a l u a b l e for the electrical industry b e c a u s e it is u s e d in t h e m a n u f a c t u r e

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of f i l a m e n t s for e l e c t r i c b u l b s w h i c h are more durable than tungsten f i l a m e n t s . I t is a l s o u s e d i n a l l o y s . O c c u r s in t h e m i n e r a l m o l y b d e n i t e in a m o u n t s w h i c h d o n o t e x c e e d o.ooooi per cent. Rhodium ( R h ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 45; atomic weight —102.91. Element of t h e p l a t i n u m g r o u p . D i s c o v e r e d in 1804 b y W o l l a s t o n ; n a m e d e r i v e d from the Greek word rhodon—pink b e c a u s e , of t h e c o l o u r of its salts. Occurs native together with the platinum elements. A n alloy of p l a t i n u m a n d r h o d i u m is u s e d i n t h e m a n u f a c t u r e of i n s t r u m e n t s f o r measuring high temperatures (thermocouples). Rubidium ( R b ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 37; atomic weight—85.48. Element of t h e a l k a l i g r o u p . D i s c o v e r e d b y B u n s e n in 1861 b y s p e c t r a l a n a l y s i s . N a m e d after the characteristic red lines of t h e s p e c t r u m (rubidus—darkr e d ! . I n its p r o p e r t i e s it is v e r y close to s o d i u m a n d potassium. Specific gravity 1.52; melts at 39 C . ; boils a t 696'" C . O c c u r s i n extremely dispersed state; the largest a m o u n t s ( u p t o o. 1 p e r c e n t ) a r c f o u n d in a m a z o n i t e ( g r e e n f e l d s p a r ) ; a p p r e c i a b l e q u a n t i t i e s of it a r e f o u n d in t h e m i n e r a l c a r n a l l i t e . R u b i d i u m is r a d i o a c t i v e ; it e m i t s o n l y b e t a r a y s a n d is t r a n s f o r m e d i n t o s t r o n t i u m . I t s h a l f - l i f e is 7 0 . 0 0 0 m i l l i o n years. Ruthenium ( R u ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 44; atomic weight—101.7. Platinum e l e m e n t . D i s c o v e r e d in 1844 b y t h e R u s s i a n scientist K l a u s in t h e city of K a z a n a n d n a m e d in h o n o u r of R u s s i a ( R u t h c n i a in L a t i n m e a n s Russia). Brittle. Specific g r a v i t y — 12.26; m e l t s a t 1,950 ' C . O c c u r s t o g e t h e r w i t h o t h e r e l e m e n t s of t h e p l a t i n u m g r o u p . I t is e x t r e m e l y r a r e and has therefore found no application. Samarium ( S m ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 62; atomic weight—150.43. Rareearth element. Discovered by Lecoq
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d e B o i s b a u d r a n i n 1879 a n d n a m e d after the mineral samarskite. It c o l o u r s t h e flame of t h e v o l t a i c a r c a p i n k - r e d . I t is r a d i o a c t i v e ; e m i t s o n l y a l p h a r a y s a n d is t r a n s f o r m e d into neodymium. Scandium (Sc). A t o m i c n u m b e r — 2 1 ; a t o m i c w e i g h t — 4 4 . 9 6 . O n e of the most dispersed elements. Its existence was assumed by D. M e n d e l e y e v in 1871. D i s c o v e r e d by N i l s o n in 1879 b y s p e c t r a l a n a l y s i s . Its properties a r e not very well known. N a m e d after the Scandinavian Peninsula. Selenium (Sc). Atomic n u m b e r — 34; atomic weight—78.96. Disc o v e r e d b y B e r z e l i u s in 1 8 1 7 ; n a m e d e r i v e d f r o m t h e G r e e k w o r d selene— m o o n . C o n d u c t s e l e c t r i c c u r r e n t , its r e s i s t a n c e v a r y i n g w i t h d e g r e e of i l l u m i n a t i o n . T h e u s e of s e l e n i u m in p h o t o e l e c t r i c cells is b a s e d m a i n l y o n this p r o p e r t y . I n c h e m i c a l p r o p e r t i e s it is close t o s u l p h u r a n d , e s p e c i a l l y , to tellurium. Specific g r a v i t y — 4 . 8 ; melts at a i 7 ° C . ; boils at 688° C . F o u n d i n a d i s p e r s e d s t a t e as a s m a l l a d m i x t u r e in s u l p h u r . I n a d d i t i o n t o p h o t o - c e l l s , s e l e n i u m is u s e d i n e l e c t r i c a l e n g i n e e r i n g , in t h e r u b b e r a n d glass i n d u s t r i e s a n d in t e l e v i s i o n . H o w e v e r , its u s e s a r e e x tremely limited. Silicon ( S i ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 1 4 ; atomic weight—28.06. Second most a b u n d a n t clement (after oxygen). N e v e r o c c u r s n a t i v e , b u t in c o m b i n a t i o n w i t h o x y g e n ( k n o w n as s i l i c a — S i O ; , ) o r salts of silicic a c i d ( s i l i c a t e s ) . Q u a r t z a n d its n u m e r o u s v a r i e t i e s a r e c o m p o s e d of silica. T h e most important technical produ c t s , s u c h as glass, p o r c e l a i n , c e m e n t a n d brick, like t h e main r o c k s — g r a n i t e , b a s a l t , syenite, etc., c o n s i s t , p r i m a r i l y , of s i l i c a t e s . D i s covered by Gay-Lussac and T h c n a r d i n 1810, b u t its n a t u r e as a n e l e m e n t was established by Berzelius only in 1825. T h e n a m e c o m e s f r o m t h e w o r d silex m e a n i n g s t o n e .

Silver ( A g ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 4 7 ; atomic weight—107.88. Noble metal. K n o w n since early a n t i q u i t y . P u r e silver is w h i t e , v e r y s o f t a n d d u c t i l e . Specific gravity—10.5; melts at 9 6 0 . 5 C . ; in its p r o p e r t i e s r e s e m b l e s gold a n d c o p p e r ; does not c h a n g e i n t h e a i r a n d is v e r y m a l l e a b l e . Best c o n d u c t o r of h e a t a n d e l e c t r i c ity. O c c u r s n a t i v e a n d in c o m bination with sulphur and chlorine. S i l v e r a l l o y s s e r v e for t h e m a n u f a c t u r e of h o u s e w a r e s , j e w e l r y a n d silver coins. T h e L a t i n n a m e ( a r g e n t u m ) stems from the Sanskrit word argenos—clear. Sodium ( N a ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 1 1 ; atomic weight—22.997. Silveryw h i t e m e t a l , as soft as w a x ; oxidizes i n t h e a i r (is k e p t in k e r o s e n e ) a n d is l i g h t e r t h a n w a t e r ( s p e c i f i c g r a v ity—0.971). Discovered by Davy in 1807 b y e l e c t r o l y s i s of c a u s t i c s o d a ; D a v y ' s e x p e r i m e n t s w e r e successfully r e p e a t e d in P e t e r s b u r g b y the Russian chemist Semyon Vlasov. Latin n a m e (natrium) derived from t h e A r a b i c w o r d natron m e a n i n g s o d a , alkali. English n a m e derived f r o m " s o d a . " A b u n d a n t in n a t u r e i n t h e f o r m of s i l i c a t e s a n d h a l i d e s . S o d i u m a n d its s a l t s a r e w i d e l y u s e d i n i n d u s try ( c o m m o n salt, soda, G l a u b e r ' s salt, e t c . ) . Strontium (Sr). Atomic n u m b e r — 38; a t o m i c weight—87.63. Belongs to a l k a l i n e - e a r t h m e t a l s . Discovered in 1790 b y Crawford. Metallic s t r o n t i u m is s i l v e r y - w h i t e , v e r y a c t i v e c h e m i c a l l y a n d is, t h e r e f o r e , e n countered only in combination. C o l o u r s t h e test flame r e d . U s e d i n pyrotechnics a n d in t h e s u g a r industry. Sulphur ( S ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 1 6 ; a t o m i c weight—32.066. K n o w n since h o a r y antiquity. H a s several varieties: rhombic, monoclinic and a m o r p h i c . The c r y s t a l s of s u l p h u r a r e light yellow. V e r y abundant i n n a t u r e b o t h i n its n a t i v e s t a t e a n d i n t h e f o r m of s u l p h i d e o r e s

and sulphates (gypsum, anhydrite, e t c . ) . U s e d for p r o d u c t i o n of sulp h u r i c . a c i d , in d e s t r o y i n g agric u l t u r a l p e s t s ( p h y l l o x e r a ) a n d in t h e r u b b e r i n d u s t r y . C o n s t i t u e n t of hunters' powder, matches, Bengal lights, u l t r a m a r i n e (blue d y e j . Also u s e d in m e d i c i n e . Tantalum ( T a ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 73; atomic weight —180.95. R a r e e l e m e n t . D i s c o v e r e d in 1802 b y E k e b e r g a n d n a m e d in h o n o u r of the Greek mythical hero Tantalus. E a s i l y m a c h i n e d a n d k n o w n lotits e x t r a o r d i n a r y r e s i s t a n c e t o v a r i o u s c h e m i c a l i n f l u e n c e s . 'Phis p r o p e r t y is u t i l i z e d in t h e m a n u f a c t u r e of various important chemical app a r a t u s a n d surgical instruments. T h e a l l o y s of t a n t a l u m a n d c a r b o n a r e n o t e d for t h e i r e x t r e m e h a r d n e s s w h i c h m a k e s t h e m very v a l u a b l e in t h e m a n u f a c t u r e of c u t t i n g tools a n d drills. O c c u r s a l w a y s t o g e t h e r with n i o b i u m a n d f r e q u e n t l y w i t h titanium. Technetium (Tc). Atomic n u m b e r — 4 3 ; t h e first c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t p r o d u c e d artificially. Synthesized by K . P e r r i e r a n d I'). S c g r e in 1937 b y b o m b a r d m e n t of m o l y b d e n u m w i t h t h e n u c l e i of t h e h e a v y i s o t o p e of h y d r o g e n — d e u t e r o n s . 17 of its isotopes are k n o w n today. T h e longestl i v e d i s o t o p e is t h e o n e w i t h a n a t o m i c w e i g h t of 9 9 . C h e m i c a l l y akin to r h e n i u m a n d manganese. N a m e stems from the Greek word technetos—artificial, to m a r k the fact t h a t it w a s t h e first a r t i f i c i a l l y p r o d u c e d e l e m e n t . I t s p r o p e r t i e s exactly coincide with those predicted by D. Mendeleyev, w h o had. n a m e d this e l e m e n t e k a m a n g a n e s e . Tellurium ( T e ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 52: atomic weight —127.61. Discovered in 1782 b y F. Mtiller; K l a p r o t h c o n f i r m e d this discovery i n 1 7 8 9 a n d g a v e t h e e l e m e n t its n a m e from the Latin word telluris— earth. Chemically resembles sulphur a n d . . especially, selenium. Finds

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limited use in the c e r a m i c s i n d u s t r y , i n c o l o u r i n g glass a n d as a n a d d i t i o n to gasoline in order to accelerate c o m b u s t i o n in the engines. Terbium ( T b ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 65; atomic weight—159.2. Rareearth element. Discovered by M o s a n d e r i n 1843. N a m e d a f t e r a small town Ytterby n e a r which the r a r e - e a r t h m i n e r a l s w e r e f o u n d for t h e tirst t i m e . Thallium (Tl). Atomic n u m b e r — 81 ; a t o m i c w e i g h t — 2 0 4 . 3 9 . D i s c o v e r e d b y C r o o k e s i n 1861 b y s p e c t r a l analysis. N a m e d e r i v e d f r o m the Greek word thallus—green twig b e c a u s e of t h e g r e e n c o l o u r of its s p e c t r a l lines. M e t a l l i g h t e r t h a n lead a n d very volatile; melts at 302 0 . a n d c o l o u r s t h e test flame g r e e n . E n c o u n t e r e d in a d i s p e r s e d state. T h e principal r a w m a t e r i a l is t h e d u s t p r o d u c e d d u r i n g t h e a n n e a l i n g of t h e s u l p h i d e o r e s of c e r t a i n m e t a l s . U s e d as a c o n s t i t u e n t in a c i d p r o o f a l l o y s , in t h e m a n u f a c t u r e of o p t i c a l glass a n d i n p h o t o cells. Thorium ( T h ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 9 0 ; a t o m i c w e i g h t — 2 3 2 . 1 2 . O n e of 1 h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t r a d i o a c t i v e elem e n t s . D i s c o v e r e d b y B e r z e l i u s in 1828 a n d n a m e d a f t e r T h o r , t h e S c a n d i n a v i a n g o d of w a r . R a d i o a c t i v i t y of t h o r i u m w a s e s t a b l i s h e d in 1898 b y C u r i e - S k l o d o w s k a a n d S c h m i d t . I n its f r e e s t a t e it is a m e t a l ; s p e c i f i c g r a v i t y - - i 1.7; m e l t s at 1,842J C . E x t e r n a l l y resembles platinum. I t s h a l f - l i f e is 13,000 million years. I n disintegrating thor i u m f o r m s t h e t h o r i u m scries of r a d i o a c t i v e e l e m e n t s , t h e last m e m b e r of w h i c h is l e a d w i t h a n a t o m i c w e i g h t of 2 0 8 . M o n a z i t e a n d t h o r i t e a r e t h o r i u m ' s chief minerals. M o n a z i t e is e x t r a c t e d f r o m m o n a z i t e containing sands. T h o r i u m oxide is v e r y i m p o r t a n t for i n c a n d e s c e n t gas mantles. Like u r a n i u m t h o r i u m splits a n d l i b e r a t e s a l a r g e q u a n t i t y of a t o m i c e n e r g y .
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Thulium (Tu). Atomic n u m b e r — 69; atomic weight—169.4. Rareearth element. Discovered by Cleve in 1880; n a m e derived f r o m the w o r d Thulia, t h e a n c i e n t n a m e of S c a n d i n a v i a . T h e salts of t h u l i u m are green. Tin ( S n ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 5 0 ; a t o m i c w e i g h t — 1 1 8 . 7 0 . O n e of t h e first m e t a l s k n o w n t o m a n s i n c e e a r l y a n t i q u i t y ( b r o n z e a g e ) . I n its free state quite a malleable a n d ductile silvery-white m e t a l ; specific gravity—7.28; melts at 2320 C. B e l o w 18' C . c h a n g e s t o its g r e y v a r i e t y . W h e n s h o r t sticks of t i n are bent they produce a characteristic crackle p r o b a b l y because of t h e f r i c t i o n of t h e i n d i v i d u a l crystals against each other. Unaffected by water and air; owing t o t h i s p r o p e r t y it is w i d e l y u s e d f o r plating iron (so-called white m e t a l utilized chiefly for food cans). Its a l l o y s — b a b b i t and bronze— are very important. Encountered m a i n l y as the m i n e r a l cassiterite (Sn02). Titanium (Ti). Atomic n u m b e r — 22; a t o m i c weight—47.90. Silverywhite. very h a r d a n d brittle metal. V e r y a b u n d a n t element: constitutes 0 . 6 p e r c e n t of t h e w e i g h t of t h e earth's crust. Discovered by K l a p r o t h i n 1795, b u t p r o d u c e d i n its p u r e s t a t e o n l y in 1857 b y W o h l e r a n d S a i n t e - C l a i r e Deville a n d n a m e d in h o n o u r of t h e m y t h o l o g i c a l h e r o . Specific gravity—4.5; melts at 1,800 ' C . P r a c t i c a l i m p o r t a n c e of titanium is e s p e c i a l l y great in m e t a l l u r g y : aids in c o m p l e t e l y removing oxygen and nitrogen from m o l t e n steel d u e t o w h i c h t h e s m e l t i n g is r e m a r k a b l y v i n i f o r m ; i m p a r t s h a r d n e s s a n d e l a s t i c i t y t o steel. M e t a l l i c t i t a n i u m is s t a b l e in s h a r p temperature variations and m a y be extensively used in high-speed aviation. T i t a n i u m oxide serves for the m a n u f a c t u r e of v e r y g o o d w h i t e paint.

Transuranium elements. R a d i o a c t i v e elements following u r a n i u m in M e n deleyev's periodic system with atomic n u m b e r s of 9 3 a n d u p . H a v e a l l b e e n o b t a i n e d a r t i f i c i a l l y . T h e first t o b e s t u d i e d w a s n e p t u n i u m (in 1939). S i n c e t h e i r l i f e s p a n is m u c h b r i e f e r t h a n t h e a g e of o u r p l a n e t they were not discovered under n a t u r a l conditions. T h e transuran i u m elements known today are: neptunium, plutonium, americium, curium, berkelium, californium, einsteinium, fermium and mendelevium. Tungsten ( W ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 74; a t o m i c weight—183.92. H e a v y (specific g r a v i t y — 19.1), s i l v e r y - w h i t e metal with a high melting point (3)37°° C.). Discovered by Scheele in wolframite in 1783; obtained in its pure state by Wohler o n l y in 1850; d o e s n o t o x i d i z e a n d d o e s n o t dissolve i n a c i d s w i t h t h e exception of aqua regia; ref r a c t o r y ; b e c a u s e of t h e a b i l i t y of tungsten to be d r a w n into wire d o w n t o 0 . 0 1 m m . t h i c k it is u s e d in t h e m a n u f a c t u r e of filaments for e l e c t r i c b u l b s ; also u s e d i n h i g h - s p e e d steel a n d s u p e r - h a r d alloys w h i c h a r e called pobedite, " W i e D i a m a n t " a n d c a r b o l o y , i n t h e m a n u f a c t u r e of chemical l a b o r a t o r y - w a r e a n d for c o n t a c t s as a s u b s t i t u t e f o r t h e m o r e expensive platinum. Pobedite is a l m o s t as h a r d as d i a m o n d a n d is u s e d f o r d r i l l i n g t h e h a r d e s t rocks. Uranium ( U ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 92; atomic weight—238.07. Refractory, silvery-white metal. O n l y r e c e n t l y o c c u p i e d t h e last p l a c e i n t h e p e r i o d i c t a b l e of e l e m e n t s . D i s covered in pitch-blende by K l a p r o t h in 1789, b u t p r o d u c e d i n its p u r e s t a t e ' b y P e l i g o t h in 1841. S p e c i f i c gravity—18.7; melts at 1 , 6 9 0 ° C . ; radioactive. While studying u r a n i u m Becquerel discovered the p h e n o m enon of radioactivity in 1898. N a t i v e u r a n i u m h a s s e v e r a l isotopes. T h e isotope w i t h a n a t o m i c weight 28

of 2 3 8 p r e v a i l s ; t h e r e is 0 . 7 p e r c e n t of t h e i s o t o p e w i t h a n a t o m i c w e i g h t of 235. B e c a u s e of its r a d i o a c t i v e d i s i n t e g r a t i o n u r a n i u m 238 f o r m s e l e m e n t s of t h e u r a n i u m series while u r a n i u m 235 forms the actini u m series. T h e e n d p r o d u c t of t h e u r a n i u m series is l e a d w i t h a n a t o m i c w e i g h t of 2 0 6 ; t h a t of t h e a c t i n i u m series is l e a d w i t h a n a t o m i c w e i g h t of 207. U r a n i u m 235, w h e n its n u c l e u s is b o m b a r d e d b y slow n e u t r o n s , is easily split i n t o t w o nearly equal fragments liberating an enormous quantity of atomic energy. N a m e d after the planet U r a n u s , discovered shortly b e f o r e t h e d i s c o v e r y of this element. Vanadium ( V ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 23; atomic weight—50.95. Steelgrey metal, very hard, b u t not brittle. Discovered in 1830 by S e f s t r d m a n d n a m e d in h o n o u r of t h e g o d d e s s V a n a d i s . I t is q u i t e a b u n d a n t b u t f o u n d o n l y in a dispersed state; produced from titanom a g n e t i t e ores a n d f r o m b i t u m i n o u s s h a l e s ; u s e d m a i n l y in t h e p r o d u c t i o n of h i g h - g r a d e steel d i s t i n g u i s h e d for its d u r a b i l i t y , resilience a n d tensile s t r e n g t h ; also u s e d as a c a t a l y s t in t h e c h e m i c a l i n d u s t r y , as a d y e i n c e r a m i c s , f o r t o n i n g p r i n t s in p h o t o g r a p h y , a n d in m e d i c i n e . Virginium. U n d e r this n a m e Allison described a n element with the atomic n u m b e r of 87. T h e f a c t of t h e discovery was not confirmed. See Francium. Xenon ( X e ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 5 4 ; a t o m i c weight—131.3. Noble gas discovered by R a m s a y and Travers i n 1898 a t t h e s a m e t i m e as k r y p t o n a n d neon. N a m e comes from the G r e e k w o r d xenos, m e a n i n g a l i e n . O c c u r s as a n e g l i g i b l e c o n s t i t u e n t of t h e a i r . I t is 4.5 t i m e s as h e a v y as a i r . Ytterbium ( Y b ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 70; a t o m i c w e i g h t — 1 7 3 . 0 4 . R a r e e a r t h e l e m e n t . D i s c o v e r e d i n 1878 433

by M a r i g n a c w h o established that the element erbium contained a " n e w earth." T h e n a m e comes from t h e s m a l l S w e d i s h t o w n of Y t t e r b y . Yttrium ( Y ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 3 9 ; a t o m i c w e i g h t — 8 8 . 9 2 . V e r y close to the lanthanoid family in properties a n d o w i n g to c o m m o n occurr e n c e w i t h t h e m in n a t u r e is c o n sidered o n e of t h e r a r e e a r t h s . O c c u r s in large q u a n t i t i e s in t h e minerals xenotime a n d gadolinite. Discovered by Gadolin in 1794 and first obtained in its pure s t a t e b y W o h l e r i n 1828. T h u s f a r its p r a c t i c a l uses h a v e b e e n rather insignificant. Zinc ( Z n ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 3 0 ; atomic weight—65.38. Discovered b y Paracelsus in the 16th c e n t u r y . R e c e i v e d its n a m e f r o m t h e G r e e k w o r d linko m e a n i n g w h i t e f i l m ( t h e salts of

z i n c a r e w h i t e ) . M e t a l l i c z i n c is g r e y ish-white a n d rather stable against t h e a c t i o n of w a t e r a n d a i r . O c c u r s mainly in the mineral sphalerite ( Z n S ) . U s e d in iron-plating (galv a n i z e d i r o n ) , a n d in alloys w i t h c o p p e r ( b r a s s ) . T h e w h i t e s a l t s of zinc a r e used as a p a i n t as well as in m e d i c i n e . Zirconium ( Z r ) . A t o m i c n u m b e r — 40; atomic weight—91.22. Disc o v e r e d b y K l a p r o t h in 1789 a n d n a m e d after the mineral zircon. Z i r c o n i u m o x i d e is v e r y r e f r a c t o r y ; melts at 3,000° C . ; extraordinarily s t a b l e a g a i n s t c h e m i c a l a c t i o n . Bec a u s e of t h e s e p r o p e r t i e s it is u s e d as a h i g h l y r e f r a c t o r y m a t e r i a l . A l s o u s e d as a n a d d i t i o n t o p i g i r o n b e c a u s e it i m p r o v e s its c a s t i n g p r o p e r ties. O c c u r s i n z i r c o n a n d c o m p l e x silicates.

GLOSSARY
Abrasives o r abrasive materials—very hard substances which, when pulverized, yield s h a r p - e d g e d grains. A b rasives a r e used for cutting, sawing, drilling, sharpening, grinding, polishi n g a n d o t h e r t y p e s of m a c h i n i n g m e t a l s , s t o n e s , glass, e t c . T h e m o s t important natural abrasives are: diamond, corundum, garnet, flint, q u a r t z , s a n d s t o n e a n d p u m i c e ; artificial-. s y n t h e t i c c o r u n d u m ( e l e c t r o corundum and alundum); carbor u n d u m (alloys of q u a r t z a n d c a r b o n ) ; s t a l i n i t e , w o l o m i t e ( a l l o y s of tungsten and carbon) and boron carbide. T h e technical importance of a b r a s i v e s is e n o r m o u s . Acetylene—gas resulting from the a c t i o n of w a t e r o n c a l c i u m c a r b i d e . Burns with a bright white flame; widely used in oxygenous cutting, g a s - w e l d i n g of f e r r o u s a n d nonferrous metals a n d in soldering. Adit—horizontal or slightly inclined m i n e w o r k i n g with one end c o m i n g out to the surface. Cross s e c t i o n of a n a d i t is t r a p e z o i d a l , oval or r o u n d . Agate—striped stratified chalcedo n y w i t h l a y e r s of d i f f e r e n t c o l o u r s ( w h i t e , r e d , b l a c k , e t c . ) . S e e chalcedony. Agricola—Latinized n a m e of G e o r g Bauer (1494-1555), G e r m a n physician, mineralogist a n d metallurgist. H i s w o r k On Mining s e r v e d as a n a i d i n t h e t e c h n i q u e s of m i n i n g a n d
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m e t a l l u r g y for a p e r i o d of t w o c e n turies. Alaite—-very rare, beautiful red mineral; natural vanadic acid ( V 2 0 6 - H j O ) . F o u n d in C e n t r a l Asia. Alchemy—medieval n a m e of c h e m istry. T h e pre-scientific p e r i o d in t h e d e v e l o p m e n t of c h e m i s t r y is u s u a l l y r e f e r r e d t o as alchemy. Alpha rays. S e e alpha particles. Alpha particles—helium ions emitted by some radioactive substances. O n passing through a substance the a l p h a particles ionize it; on striking fluorescent or phosphorescent substances t h e y cause t h e m to luminesce. U p o n contact with h u m a n or a n i m a l skin they p r o d u c e b u r n s w h i c h a r e h a r d to heal. Also able to provoke certain chemical reactions. Alumina—aluminium oxide (A],0:,;. F o r m s p a r t of m a n y r o c k s and minerals (alumosilicates) .Technically obtained mainly from bauxite. Occurs n a t i v e as c o r u n d u m , etc. Alumosilicates—silicates in w h i c h aluminium oxide, i.e., alumina, plays a n essential p a r t . Alums—chemical compounds repr e s e n t i n g d o u b l e salts of s u l p h u r i c acid. I n nature most frequently e n c o u n t e r e d i n t h e f o r m of a l u m i n ium (alunite) and ferric (halotrichite) alums. Alundum—alumina (A1203). Prod u c e d artificially f r o m n a t u r a l alu435

m o s i l i c a t e s o r b a u x i t e s . S e e abrasive materials. Alunite o r a l u m r o c k — w h i t e o r red-brown mineral, natural sulphate of p o t a s s i u m a n d a l u m i n i u m . Amber—fossilized t a r of c o n i f e r o u s t r e e s m a i n l y of t h e T e r t i a r y P e r i o d , hardened into dense mass. Colours ranging f r o m milky, honey-yellow a n d brown to dark-orange and r e d d i s h . Brittle, b u t easily g r o u n d a n d polished. Burns with a r o m a t ic o d o u r . U s e d i n t h e c h e m i c a l industry, in electrical engineering a n d for m a n u f a c t u r e of v a r i o u s a r t icles. Amethyst—transparent, violetc o l o u r e d m i n e r a l ; v a r i e t y of q u a r t z . See quartz. Ampangabeite—rare, brown-red, radioactive mineral; tantalo-niob a t e of u r a n i u m , i r o n , e t c . F i r s t found on Madagascar. Amphibole or horn-blende—darkgreen, greenish-black or blackb r o w n m i n e r a l w i t h glassy lustre. A rock-forming mineral of the s i l i c a t e class. E n c o u n t e r e d i n c o n t i n u o u s g r a n u l a r a n d fibrous m a s s e s . Angstrom—unit of l e n g t h c o r r e s p o n d i n g t o 0 . 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 c m . o r i o—8 c m . Designated by A. Used mainly in optics to m e a s u r e t h e l e n g t h of l i g h t - w a v e s a n d i n a t o m i c p h y s i c s . N a m e d after the Swedish scientist Angstrom w h o was the first to i n t r o d u c e this v a l u e i n t o p r a c t i c e i n 1868. Aneroid. S e e barometer. Anion. S e e ion. Antimonite, antimony glance or stibnite—native antimony trisulphide S b , S3, l e a d - g r e y m i n e r a l w i t h m e t a l lic l u s t r e , f r e q u e n t l y w i t h a p a r t i c o l o u r e d oxide tint. E n c o u n t e r e d in n e e d l e - s h a p e d c r y s t a l s a n d in d e n s e masses. U s e d for p r o d u c t i o n of antimony. Anthracite—grade of c o a l c h a r a c t e r ized by highest carbon content ( u p to 96 per cent). Antimony glance. S e e antimonite.
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Apatite—mineral; calcium phosp h a t e c o n t a i n i n g fluorine a n d c h l o r i n e . U s e d f o r p r o d u c t i o n of p h o s p h a t i c fertilizer. Aquamarine—transparent variety of b e r y l c o l o u r e d b l u e - g r e e n s h a d e s of s e a - w a t e r ( f r o m t h e L a t i n w o r d s : aqua—water, mare—sea); v a l u e d as a precious stone. Aragonite—mineral corresponding to calcite ( C a C 0 3 ) in composition, b u t d i f f e r i n g f r o m it b y t h e a r r a n g e m e n t of its a t o m s a n d b y its p h y s i c a l properties. C o l o u r — w h i t e , yellow, green or violet. D e n s e f o r m a t i o n s in t h e s h a p e of s p h e r i c a l oolites, as w e l l as m a n y stalactites a n d stalagmites f o u n d i n c a v e s , a r e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of aragonite. Usually formed from hot a n d cold waters. Argonauts—seafarers on the ship Argo, h e r o e s f r o m t h e a n c i e n t G r e e k legends w h o sailed to Kolchis ( n o w Transcaucasus) under the leadership of J a s o n in q u e s t of t h e g o l d e n fleece. T h e m y t h a b o u t t h e A r g o n a u t s is a r e f l e c t i o n of t h e h i s t o r y of e a r l y G r e e k c o l o n i z a t i o n ( 8 t h 6 t h c e n t u r i e s B. C . ) . Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)—great ancient Greek philosopher. Aristotle's w o r k s c o v e r e d all b r a n c h e s of k n o w l e d g e of h i s t i m e : l o g i c , psychology, n a t u r a l science, history, politics, ethics a n d esthetics. N o n e of his w o r k s h a v e s u r v i v e d ; o n l y separate excerpts cited b y ancient authors are known. Asbestos—group n a m e of a n u m b e r of fine-fibre minerals, magnes i u m s i l i c a t e s . T h e fibres r e a c h 5 a n d m o r e c m . in length. Asbestos is u s e d f o r p r o d u c t i o n of f i r e p r o o f f a b r i c s , for t h e r m a l a n d electric insulation, for v a l u a b l e fireproof materials, etc. Astrophysics—branch of a s t r o n o m y studying the physical state and c h e m i c a l c o m p o s i t i o n of c e l e s t i a l bodies a n d interstellar m a t t e r . Asphalt—hard b r o w n i s h or lustreless black bitumen, frequently

m e r e l y h a r d e n e d o x i d i z e d oil. S o f tens a t 70 t o u o ° C . a n d t h e n melts. T h e r e are native a n d artificial asphalts. Atmosphere—gaseous shell of t h e earth. T h r e e layers are n o w distinguished in t h e a t m o s p h e r e : 1) t r o p o s p h e r e , 2) s t r a t o s p h e r e a n d 3) ionosphere. Atoll—coral-island in the f o r m of a c o n t i n u o u s o r b r o k e n ring surrounding a lagoon. Encountered in t h e o p e n sea, a r r a n g e d singly or in archipelagoes. Atom (from the Greek word m e a n i n g indivisible)—minutest particle of a c h e m i c a l e l e m e n t . U n t i l t h e m i d d l e of t h e 19th c e n t u r y the a t o m was believed to be a n absolutely indivisible a n d invaria b l e p a r t i c l e of s u b s t a n c e . I n t h e beginning of t h e 20th c e n t u r y it w a s d e m o n s t r a t e d t h a t t h e a t o m was indivisible only chemically. Aztecs—one of t h e prominent I n d i a n peoples in Mexico. The c o n q u e s t of M e x i c o b y t h e S p a n i a r d s

in 1519-21 t e r m i n a t e d t h e i n d e p e n d e n t d e v e l o p m e n t of t h i s p e o p l e . Baikalite—dark, dull-green variety of a l i m e - f e r r u g i n o u s s i l i c a t e , d i o p side f r o m L a k e Baikal. Barite or heavy spar—heavy, opaque mineral (BaS04), barium sulphate. Colourless, or m o r e freq u e n t l y coloured yellow, red, bluish a n d o t h e r tints. W i d e l y used in t h e m a n u f a c t u r e of w h i t e p a i n t s , chemical preparations, etc. Barometer ( f r o m t h e G r e e k w o r d s baros—gravity a n d metreo—I measure)—meteorological instrument used in m e a s u r i n g atmospheric pressure. There are mercury and metal {aneroid) b a r o m e t e r s . Basalt—black or black-green igneous rock poured out to the earth's surface or u n d e r water in a m o l t e n state. Consists of minerals rich in m a g n e s i u m and

iron. Forms separate hexagonal columnar structures. Basaltic bed—according to certain m o d e r n p e t r o g r a p h e r s basalts a r e t h e initial m a t e r n a l m a g m a w h i c h f o r m s a b a s a l t i c shell t h a t u n d e r l i e s the h a r d earth's crust. Bauxite—white, sometimes reddish, argillaceous rock consisting of h y d r o u s c o m p o u n d s of a l u m i n a , o x i d e s of i r o n a n d t i t a n i u m . S e r v e s as a r a w m a t e r i a l for t h e p r o d u c t i o n of a l u m i n i u m . Belomorite—moonstone from the p e g m a t i t e v e i n s of W h i t e S e a r e g i o n s ; v a r i e t y of a l b i t e ( f e l d s p a r ) . Bengal light—various slow-burning pyrotechnical compounds producing a bright white or coloured flame d u r i n g c o m b u s t i o n . U s e d in i l l u m i n a t i o n s a n d fireworks. C o l o u r depends on the chemical element used (for instance, s t r o n t i u m imparts a red colour, etc.). Beryl—chief m i n e r a l for t h e prod u c t i o n of m e t a l l i c b e r y l l i u m . C o n sists of silicon, aluminium and b e r y l l i u m ( u p t o 14 p e r c e n t of its o x i d e ) . C o l o u r l e s s o r c o l o u r e d greenish a n d yellowish tints. E n c o u n t e r e d in t h e f o r m of t r a n s p a r ent, well-coloured varieties: emerald (bright green), a q u a m a r i n e (the c o l o u r of s e a - w a t e r ) , vorobievite (pinkish), etc. P u r e a n d well-colo u r e d b e r y l is a p r e c i o u s s t o n e ; e m e r a l d is p a r t i c u l a r l y v a l u a b l e . Beryllium bronze—mixture of c o p p e r a n d b e r y l l i u m (2 t o 2 . 5 p e r cent Be); d u r a b l e , resilient and g o o d c o n d u c t o r of h e a t a n d e l e c t r i c i t y . U s e d i n t h e m a n u f a c t u r e of springs and important springy machine-parts, gears, cogwheels, bushings a n d b e a r i n g s for service at high speeds, high pressures a n d high temperatures. Berzelius Jons Jakob (1779-1848) —famous Swedish chemist and mineralogist. Honorary member of t h e Petersburg Academy of S c i e n c e s . H i s t e x t b o o k of c h e m i s t r y 437

a n d a n n u a l r e v i e w s of c h e m i c a l progress (1820-47) disseminated c h e m i c a l k n o w l e d g e i n t h e first h a l f of t h e 1 9 t h c e n t u r y . Beta rays—stream of electrons emitted during disintegration of a t o m i c n u c l e i . C a p a b l e of i o n i z ing gases, m a k i n g m a n y s u b s t a n c e s luminescent a n d acting on photoplates. Biotite. S e e mica. Bitumen—name of a m i x t u r e of various hydrocarbons encountered i n n a t u r e i n t h e f o r m of g a s e s (oil g a s e s ) , l i q u i d s (oil a n d a s p h a l t ) a n d solid s u b s t a n c e s (ozocerite). Bitumens often impregnate various rocks: limestones, slates a n d s a n d stones; such i m p r e g n a t e d rocks a r e called bituminous. Bituminous coal—black mineral c o n t a i n i n g f r o m 70 t o g o p e r c e n t c a r b o n . S e e Mineral coal. Bolide—fire-ball sweeping across the sky; caused by the invasion of a m e t e o r i c b o d y f r o m i n t e r planetary space into the earth's atmosphere. Borax o r lineal ( N a 2 B 4 0 7 • i o H z O ) — s o d i u m t e t r a b o r a t e . Easily dissolves m e t a l l i c o x i d e s a n d t h e r e f o r e serves f o r c l e a n i n g s u r f a c e s i n soldering. U s e d in ceramics a n d leatherm a k i n g , in m e d i c i n e , etc. Bore-hole—special pit characteri z e d b y r o u n d c r o s s - s e c t i o n of a very small diameter a n d considera b l e l e n g t h . B o r e d b y m e a n s of a percussion or r o t a t o r y tool. M a d e to determine the extent a n d quality of m i n e r a l d e p o s i t s , f o r e x t r a c t i o n of oil, w a t e r , s u l p h u r , e t c . T h e y r e a c h a d e p t h of m o r e t h a n 5 , 0 0 0 metres. Boric acid ( H 3 B 0 3 ) — w e a k a c i d . E n c o u n t e r e d in t h e m i n e r a l sassolite. W h i t e s c a l e - s h a p e d c r y s t a l s . Boulders—fragments of rocks, mainly granites, quartzites, limestones a n d others, m e a s u r i n g f r o m 10 c m . t o 10 m . a n d m o r e i n d i a m e t e r . F o r m e d b y w e a t h e r i n g of
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rocks a n d b y glacial activity. U s e d for p a v i n g streets a n d as a filler in concrete structures; large boulders a r e used for m o n u m e n t pedestals. Boyle, Robert ( 1 6 2 7 - 1 6 9 4 ) — f a m o u s English chemist a n d physicist. Bronze—nowadays an alloy of copper a n d various other elements, mainly metals. O n l y a few dec a d e s a g o t h e t e r m bronze d e s i g n a t e d a l l o y s of c o p p e r a n d t i n a l o n e . Brown coal—variety of m i n e d c o a l . C o n t a i n s 50 to go p e r cent c a r b o n and in c o m b u s t i o n yields quite a l o t of a s h a n d s u l p h u r . W i d e l y u s e d as f u e l . Calcite o r limespar—white, colourless o r s l i g h t l y c o l o u r e d m i n e r a l — calcium c a r b o n a t e ( C a C 0 3 ) , frequently with various admixtures. O c c u r s in excellently f o r m e d crystals, g r a n u l a r a n d c o m p a c t masses, stratified f o r m s , i n s t a l a c t i t e s a n d s t a l a g mites. T h e perfectly t r a n s p a r e n t calcite w h i c h d o u b l e s t h e i m a g e viewed t h r o u g h it is c a l l e d Iceland spar. Some rocks consist entirely or a l m o s t e n t i r e l y of c a l c i t e a s , f o r example, marbles, limestones a n d chalk. Calory—unit of h e a t . L a r g e c a l o r y is t h e a m o u n t of h e a t required t o r a i s e t h e t e m p e r a t u r e of 1 k i l o g r a m m e of w a t e r b y i ° C . ; s m a l l c a l o r y is t h e a m o u n t of h e a t r e quired to raise the temperature of 1 g r a m of w a t e r b y i ° C . Carat—measure of w e i g h t of p r e cious stones; equals 200 milligrams. Carbides—chemical c o m p o u n d s of metals and carbon produced by t h e a c t i o n of c o a l o n m e t a l s o r on their oxides. Carbonates—salts of c a r b o n i c a c i d . V e r y a b u n d a n t in n a t u r e . Carlsbad stone—solid d e p o s i t s of calcium carbonate from hot mineral springs in K a r l o v y V a r y ( C a r l s b a d ) i n C z e c h o s l o v a k i a . (See aragonite.) Carnallite—transparent, reddish m i n e r a l ; h y d r o u s c h l o r i d e of p o t a s -

sium a n d m a g n e s i u m . Deliquesces in t h e a i r . S o u r c e of p o t a s s i u m f e r t i l i z e r a n d of m e t a l l i c m a g n e s i u m . Cassiterite o r tinstone—mineral rangi n g in c o l o u r f r o m b r o w n t o b l a c k ; tin oxide ( S n 0 3 ) containing up t o 79 p e r c e n t t i n . C h i e f t i n o r e . Cation. S e e ion. Cat's eye—greenish transparent q u a r t z s h o t w i t h silk b e c a u s e of the inclusion of a s b e s t o s fibres. Its stripes p l a y beautifully, especially w h e n it is g r o u n d w i t h c a b o chon. Caves o r c a v e p h e n o m e n a — r e l i e f s t y p i c a l of t e r r a i n s f o r m e d b y r o c k s soluble in w a t e r a n d pervious to it—limestones, dolomites a n d gyps u m . A s a r e s u l t of l i x i v i a t i o n of t h e rocks by u n d e r g r o u n d water, craters a n d extensive closed hollows a r e f o r m e d on t h e surface a n d cavities a n d caves in the interior. I n these r e g i o n s r i v e r s f r e q u e n t l y flow i n t o crevices a n d craters, r u n u n d e r g r o u n d anel t h e n c o m e o u t to t h e s u r f a c e again. C a v e p h e n o m e n a a r e well developed in t h e C r i m e a , in the U r a l s a n d i n s o m e r e g i o n s of Siberia. Cavity—natural store-house in p e g m a t i t e veins. Beautifully f o r m e d c r y s t a l s of v a r i o u s m i n e r a l s f r e q u e n t l y g r o w o n t h e w a l l s .of t h e s e cavities. Celestite—beautiful sky-blue mineral; strontium sulphate (SrS04). U s e d f o r p r o d u c t i o n of s t r o n t i u m salts. Cement — c a l c i n e d mixture of limestone a n d clay. W i t h water cement hardens into strong stony mass. M a n u f a c t u r e d in e n o r m o u s q u a n t i t i e s a n d used for b u i l d i n g purposes. Ceramics (from the Greek word ceramos—clay)—articles made of baked clay a n d its compounds with mineral additions. Ceramic w a r e s i n c l u d e b u i l d i n g b r i c k , tile, f a c i n g slabs, clinker, w a t e r and c a n a l i z a t i o n m a i n s , fire- a n d a c i d -

proof articles, pottery, majolica, faience a n d porcelain. Ceramics b e g a n t o b e p r o d u c e d as p r i m i t i v e b a k e d articles in t h e stone age. Chalcedony—mineral of a l l p o s s i b l e colours, a latent-crystalline fibrous v a r i e t y of q u a r t z . E n c o u n t e r e d i n f o r m of n o d u l e s a n d s t a l a g m i t e s . Semi-transparent and translucent. U s e d for technical wares, as a semi-precious stone and in the manufacture of v a r i o u s articles. Its s t r i p e d varieties a r e called agates. Chalcopyrite—brass-yellow mineral c o n t a i n i n g 35 per cent copper, 35 per cent s u l p h u r a n d 30 per c e n t i r o n . O n e of t h e m a i n c o p p e r ores. Chalk—white, s o f t , fine-earth s e d i m e n t a r y r o c k of o r g a n i c origin. F o r m e d b y a c c u m u l a t i o n of m i c r o s c o p i c shells a n d c o n s i s t s m a i n l y of c a l c i u m c a r b o n a t e . U s e d in g l a s s , . c e m e n t , r u b b e r , paper and paint industries, as w r i t i n g m a t e r i a l , etc. Chlorites—minerals; hydrous alum o s i l i c a t e s of m a g n e s i u m in w h i c h part of the magnesium oxide a n d a l u m i n a is r e p l a c e d b y i r o n o x i d e s ; c o l o u r — a l l s h a d e s of g r e e n to b l a c k ; biotites, h o r n - b l e n d e s a n d pyroxenes most frequently change t o c h l o r i t e s . T h e m i n e r a l is l a m e l l a r like m i c a , but is non-resilient. Chwmite—heavy black or b r o w n b l a c k m i n e r a l . E n c o u n t e r e d in d e n s e a n d g r a n u l a r masses. O r e for the p r o d u c t i o n of c h r o m i u m . Chrysoberyl—transparent green mineral containing beryllium and a l u m i n i u m w i t h a n a d m i x t u r e of iron and sometimes chromium (BeAljOj). Rare precious stone (chrysos—golden, beryllos—beryl). Cinnabar—red mineral with adamantine lustre; mercuric sulphide. Chief m e r c u r y ore. Clay—sedimentary rock consisting m a i n l y of h y d r o u s silicic c o m p o u n d s of a l u m i n i u m a n d f r e q u e n t l y c o n 439

t a i n i n g m i n u t e s t p a r t i c l e s of v a r i o u s m i n e r a l s ; p l a s t i c a n d c a p a b l e of forming a putty-like mass w h e n mixed with water. Used in building, p o t t e r y , etc. Cleopatra—last Q u e e n of E g y p t (69-30 B.C.). Cteveite—mineral containing uran i u m a n d c e r t a i n a m o u n t of r a r e earths. W h e n heated liberates large a m o u n t s of h e l i u m i n c l u d e d in t h e m i n e r a l as a r e s u l t of r a d i o a c t i v e d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of u r a n i u m . S c i e n t i s t s d i s c o v e r e d t h e e x i s t e n c e of h e l i u m o n e a r t h f o r t h e first t i m e by s t u d y i n g t h e l i b e r a t i o n of g a s f r o m cleveite. U n t i l t h e n h e l i u m w a s k n o w n t o exist o n l y i n t h e s u n . Columbite—brown-black, opaque, rare mineral—tantalo-niobate of iron a n d manganese. Source of tantalum and niobium. Occurs m a i n l y in p e g m a t i t e veins. Concentrate—the valuable mineral separated from an ore undergoing a specific t r e a t m e n t . Concentration—preliminary proc e s s i n g of a m i n e r a l i n o r d e r t o s e p a r a t e it f r o m valueless rocks (gangue) or other minerals. Concrete—artificial rocky conglomerate material; hardened mixture of a b i n d i n g a g e n t ( c e m e n t ) , w a t e r and natural or artificial rocky fillers ( s a n d , fine s l a g , g r a v e l a n d crushed stone). Coral reefs—rocky u n d e r w a t e r (or rising a b o v e t h e w a t e r ) reefs f o r m e d m a i n l y b y l i m e s t r u c t u r e s of c o r a l colonies. A b u n d a n t only in tropical seas n e a r c o n t i n e n t a l coasts a n d i s l a n d s o r i n s h a l l o w s e c t i o n s of the o p e n sea. Corals—or coral polyps—marine animals, coelenterates. Live principally in colonies a n d lead a s e d e n t a r y life. T h e s k e l e t o n is m a d e of s e p a r a t e l i m e cells. Corundum—mineral c o n s i s t i n g of aluminium oxide (A1203). Exceptionally h a r d ; scratches all m i n e r als e x c e p t d i a m o n d s . I t s t r a n s p a r e n t
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u n i f o r m l y coloured crystals are used as precious stones. R e d c o r u n d u m is k n o w n as ruby, t h e b l u e v a r i e t y — a s sapphire. Cosmic speed—speed at which a celestial b o d y m o v e s t h r o u g h s p a c e ; it is m a n y t i m e s a s h i g h a s t h e k n o w n speeds at which various bodies m o v e on earth. Cosmic rays—rays which penetrate i n t o t h e a t m o s p h e r e of t h e e a r t h , carry enormous energy and, therefore, h a v e high p e n e t r a t i n g p o w e r . T h e n a t u r e of c o s m i c r a y s is n o t very well k n o w n as yet. Cretaceous period—geological period t e r m i n a t i n g t h e mesozoic e r a in t h e formation of the earth's crust. Subdivided into two epochs—lower a n d u p p e r cretaceous epochs. T h e m a r i n e s e d i m e n t s of t h i s p e r i o d a r e especially n o t e d for deposits of p o w e r f u l l a y e r s of w r i t i n g c h a l k . Crocus—natural or artificial a b r a sive m a t e r i a l ; u s e d in polishing metals, optical a n d other glass, building a n d decorative stone. Cryolite—very rare snow-white mineral—aluminium and sodium fluoride (Na3AlF6). In the molten s t a t e it dissolves a l u m i n i u m o x i d e , t h e r e f o r e it is u s e d i n e l e c t r o l y s i s of m e t a l l i c a l u m i n i u m , a s w e l l as i n production o f glass a n d f a i e n c e . I t is n o w manufactured artificially. Crystal—geometrically regular s t r u c t u r e of a t o m s o r i o n s l o c a t e d i n t h e p o i n t s of a c r y s t a l l a t t i c e . T h e w o r d crystal w a s u s e d long before our era a n d m e a n t rock crystal whose origin was then c o n n e c t e d w i t h p e t r i f i e d ice. S u b s e q u e n t l y this w o r d b e g a n to b e u s e d t o s i g n i f y a l l m i n e r a l s of a n a t u r a l polyhedral form. Crystals are studied by crystallography. Crystallography—science a b o u t crystals; studies their shapes, optical, electrical, m e c h a n i c a l and other properties, as well as problems connected with the origin and

g r o w t h of c r y s t a l s a n d t h e i r d e p e n d ence on differences in chemical composition. Curie-Sklodowska, Marie (18671 9 3 4 ) — o u t s t a n d i n g s c i e n t i s t , o n e of t h e f o u n d e r s of t h e t h e o r y of r a d i o active substances. First w o m a n p r o fessor a t S o r b o n n e ( F r a n c e ) . D i s covered polonium and radium (1896;. Cyaniding—method of e x t r a c t i n g g o l d f r o m r o c k s . By t h i s m e t h o d finely-dispersed g o l d is d i s s o l v e d i n aqueous solutions of potassium cyanide. Darwin. Charles Robert ( 1 8 0 9 - 1 8 8 2 ) —great English naturalist, creator of t h e m a t e r i a l i s t t h e o r y of h i s t o r i c a l d e v e l o p m e n t of l i v i n g n a t u r e — D a r w i n i s m . F o u n d e r of s c i e n t i f i c e v o l u tionary biology. Author of the Origin of Species a n d o t h e r b o o k s . H i s historic c o n t r i b u t i o n w a s t h a t his t h e o r y h e l p e d in t h e v i c t o r y of m a t e r i a l i s m over idealism in cognit i o n of l i v i n g n a t u r e . Dernocritus (about 460-370 B.C.) —great G r e e k materialist philosopher. Deoxidizers—materials added to l i q u i d steel a f t e r t h e a d m i x t u r e s h a v e b u r n e d o u t in o r d e r t o r e d u c e t h e a m o u n t of f e r r o u s o x i d e d i s s o l v e d in the metal, this being necessary because ferrous oxide causes red shortness. Deoxidizers usually contain three elements that reduce the ferrous o x i d e — c a r b o n , m a n g a n e s e a r i d silicon. Deuterium (from the Greek word m e a n i n g " s e c o n d " ) — h e a v y isotope of h y d r o g e n H 2 . T h e m a s s of t h e deuterium atom is a b o u t twice t h a t of t h e a t o m of u s u a l h y d r o g e n a n d equals 2.01471. W i t h oxygen forms heavy water D.,0 and perox i d e D 2 0 2 , w h i c h is m o r e s t a b l e than hydrogen peroxide. Discovered in 1932. Diamond—crystalline variety of c a r b o n . T h e h a r d e s t of a l l k n o w n
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m i n e r a l s in n a t u r e . C o l o u r l e s s o r slightly c o l o u r e d ; rarely black. Fine precious a n d technical stone. F o r m e d f r o m m o l t e n rocks at high pressures and temperature. Dialomaceous seaweeds (diatomeae) o r silicious seaweeds—microscopic unicellular seaweeds with a r m o u r (tunic) impregnated with silica. A b u n d a n t in fresh a n d sea-waters throughout the world. Rock-forming organisms; form thick deposits of d i a t o m i t e (diatomaceous sediments) a n d kieselguhr (infusorian earth). These accumulations—dialornites a n d k i e s e l g u h r — a r e of g r e a t e c o n o m i c i m p o r t a n c e as building materials a n d abrasives. Diorite—igneous greenish-grey r o c k . C o n s i s t s of p l a g i o c l a s e a n d horn-blende, sometimes with biotite a n d q u a r t z (quartz diorite). Its great toughness a n d hardness make it a g o o d b u i l d i n g m a t e r i a l . Disthene—mineral. See kyanite. Dokuchayev, Vasily (1846-1903)— great Russian naturalist, founder of m o d e r n soil s c i e n c e a n d c o m p l e x n a t u r e studies. D o k u c h a y e v ' s m e t h ods have formed the b a s i s of s c i e n t i f i c g e o g r a p h y . Russian Chernozem ( 1 8 8 3 ) is his c l a s s i c a l w o r k . Dolomite—white, grey, or slightly coloured mineral; calcium and m a g n e s i u m c a r b o n a t e . C o n t a i n s 54 per cent C a O a n d 44 per cent M g O . T h e t e r m d o l o m i t e a l s o signifies a dense sedimentary rock composed m a i n l y of g r a i n s of t h e m i n e r a l d o l o m i t e . O c c u r s in m a r i n e deposits of d i f f e r e n t g e o l o g i c a l p e r i o d s . U s e d as fireproof m a t e r i a l , a s flux in b l a s t - f u r n a c e s m e l t i n g , in t h e c h e m i cal i n d u s t r y a n d in building. Earth's crust - -lithosphere—the outer h a r d shell of t h e c r u s t w h i c h is theoretically supposed to be only 15 t o 17 k i l o m e t r e s t h i c k ( f r o m t h e surface). S o m e s c i e n t i s t s b e l i e v e it t o b e as m u c h a s 6 0 k i l o m e t r e s t h i c k .
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Electron—elementary particle carrying charge of negative electricity. Component part of atom. In the atom electrons revolve along definite orbits around the positively charged atomic nucleus. T h e number of electrons in an atom corresponds to the atomic number of the chemical element. Electronic microscope—up-to-date microscope using a stream of electrons instead of a ray of light making it possible to magnify the object up to a million times. Electroscope—instrument for detecting or roughly measuring the electric tension between two bodies. Emanation—gaseous products of disintegration of radioactive elements. Emerald. See beryl. Euclase—very rare, transparent, blue or bluish-green mineral of the silicate group; very close to beryl. Beautiful precious stone. Face—wall of a stope being worked upon. Fans—long and gently-sloping deposits of rocks washed and transported by water and carried out to plains. Feldspar—most abundant group of minerals constituting about 50 per cent by weight of the entire earth's crust; chief constituent of most rocks; aluminium silicates of sodium, potassium and calcium. Depending on composition divided into 1) potassium feldspars (orthoclase and microline) and 2) sodium-calcium feldspars ( plagioclases). Fluorescence—luminescence of a substance which is not due to heating, but to irradiation of its surface by solar rays, light of the voltaic arc, ultra-violet or X-rays. Luminescence ceases immediately upon removal of the influence. Fluor spar. See fluorite. Fluorite or fluor-spar—mineral transparent to opaque; most frequently coloured various shades
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of violet, green, blue and grey, with glassy lustre; chemically calcium fluoride. Used in metallurgy as flux which lowers the temperature of metal smelting, in the chemical industry—for production of hydrofluoric acid, for impregnating sleepers, in ceramics and in glass manufacture. Transparent crystals are used in optics and are known as optical fluorite. More beautiful samples are used in the manufacture of various articles. T h e earthy pink-violet variety of fluorite is called ratovkite. Flux—mineral substances added to ore to facilitate smelting of the latter and to separate the metal from the molten gangue (slag). Quartz, limestone, fluorite and other minerals and rocks may serve as fluxes. Foraminifera—unicellular protozoa with a shell made u p in most cases of calcium carbonate (CaCOa); occur in marine sedimentary deposits of all geological periods; some foraminifera are important for estimating the geological age of rocks. Fulgurites—small tubes, the thickness of a finger, burned out or caked in sand by an electric discharge in the form of lightning. Gabbro—Plutonic magmatic rock. Rich in iron, calcium and magnesium and poor in silicious acid. Black, greenish or grey. Excellent building material. Gadolinite—black or greenishblack rare mineral; complex silicate of rare-earth elements. Galaxy or galactic system—accumulation of stellar systems composed of many thousands of redhot stars. Our sun, for example, belongs to the Milky W a y Galaxy, where it forms only one of the luminescent stars among tens of thousands of others. Galena, or lead glance—grey mineral with silver lustre (PbS) containing up to 86 per cent lead. Contains

silver as a constant admixture and is frequently a valuable silver ore. U s e d for the manufacture of red lead, production of lead, white lead and glazing; also used in radio-engineering. Galvanometer—highly sensitive electric measuring instrument. Gamma rays—electromagnetic emanation with very short waves. Arise during disintegration of the atoms of radium and other radioactive substances. Resemble X-rays, but have greater penetrating power. Garnets—very abundant group of hard minerals including many varieties (class of silicates) of different colours with a pronounced glassy lustre. Certain garnets are used as decorations as well as abrasive material.
Gedroits, Konstantin (1872-1932) —

scratches them with fragments of rock frozen into the ice, transports them over considerable distances and deposits tremendous quantities of rock fragments, rounded boulders (moraines), etc. U p o n reaching the region of melting the mountain glacier gives rise to rapid rivers. Gneiss—metamorphic schistous rock. Akin to granite in composition. Used as building material. Goethite—yellow-reddish or blackbrown brittle mineral; hydrous iron oxide. U s e d as an iron ore along with other iron oxides.
Golitsyn, Boris (1862-1916)—Rus-

Soviet soil scientist and agrochemist; academician since 1929. Founder of the theory of soil colloids and their role in the formation of the soil and in its fertility. Geode—round, oval and more rarely, lentil-shaped cavities in rock; minerals crystallize on their walls. Genesis—origin. In mineralogy the theory of genesis (origin of minerals) aims at finding the way and conditions under which minerals are formed and at studying their subsequent changes. Geological era—largest time unit in geological chronology corresponding to a geological group. Four « eras are distinguished: Archaic, Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cainozoic. Geophysics—complex of sciences about the physical properties of the earth and of the physical processes occurring in it. Glacier—natural mass of ice flowing like an ice-river slowly d o w n the slope of a mountain or d o w n a valley by gravity. In its movement the glacier destroys its bed, polishes the projections in its bed,

sian physicist, academician; founder of seismology and author of numerous scientific papers. Granite—igneous rock of crystalline-granular structure. Consists of' quartz, feldspar, mica and sometimes of horn-blende. Has different colours from white to black or from light pink to dark red. Because of its strength, beauty and the ability to produce large monoliths, it is a very valuable building, facing, sculptural and acid-resistant material. Graphite—soft, oily to the touch and soiling mineral; variety of crystalline carbon ranging in colour from black to steel-grey. Melts above 3,000° C.; acid- and alkaliresistant. Used in the foundry for the manufacture of crucibles, electrodes, dry cells, and for paints, pencils, etc. Grey copper ores—name of a group of minerals whose chief representatives are tennantite or copper arsenide and tetrahedrite or copper antimonide. Tetrahedrites are used along with other minerals in smelting copper. Gypsum — mineral and monomineral sedimentary white or slightly coloured rock (CaS04 . 2 H 2 0 ) . Very abundant in nature and widely used for building, decorative and plastic work and for 443

manufacture of cement; also used in medicine for surgical casts and in agronomy for improving the soils. Alabaster and selenite are varieties of gypsum. Half-life—the time required for half the initial number of atoms of radioactive elements to disintegrate. Each radioactive element has its own constant half-life period. These periods range from a fraction of a second to thousands of millions of years. Halite (or c o m m o n salt)—rock salt—NaCi (sodium—39.39 per cent, chlorine—60.61 per cent). Salty to the taste. T h e name "halite" is connected with the Greek word halos meaning salt. Since it is used in the food, it has been given the name of common salt. Deliquescence in humid air is due to the presence of admixtures. Rock salt was formed in the past geological periods on the floors of former water basins. This salt is now found in massive form among rocks. In addition, salt is also deposited on the surface of the earth, mainly in steppe and desert regions, in (he form of films, so-called efflorescences. Heraclilus of Ephesus (about 530-470 B.C.)—outstanding ancient Greek materialist philosopher. His philosophy was exhaustively and scientifically analyzed in the works of the classics of Marxism-Leninism. Herodotus (about 484-425 B.C.) —ancient Greek historian known as the Father of History. Author of the unfinished History of GrecoPersian Wars.

Humic acids—acid part of humin substances constituting the natural humus of the soil. These complex organic substances play an important part in plant growth.
Iceland Igneous spar. S e e calcite. rocks. S e e magmatic rocks.

Hershel, John (1792-1871) —English astronomer, son of William Hershel, outstanding English astronomer. Homer—legendary epic poet of ancient Greece.
Horn-blende. Humboldt, See amphibole. Alexander Friedrich

Wilhelm German 444

(1769-1859)—outstanding naturalist and traveller.

Ilmenite or ferrous titanate—black, opaque, semi-metallic mineral ( I V n 0 3 ) . Important ore for titanium production. Ion—atom, molecule, part of molecule or group of molecules carrying a positive or negative electric charge. In electrolysis positively-charged ions move towards the cathode and are called cations (for example, the metal in a salt, the hydrogen in an acid), while ions, charged negatively, move towards the anode and are known as anions. The mutual attraction of the ions with opposite charges is the reason they combine into molecules. Ionization—transformation of neutral particles (molecules, atoms) in any medium into particles carrying a positive or negative electric charge, i.e., into ions. Iron ores—mineral substances containing from 25 to 70 per cent iron. Include various compounds of iron and oxygen: hematite, magnetite, brown hematite and its varieties (limonite, limnite, hydrogoethite, etc.), goethite, siderite (iron spar), ferruginous quartzite. etc. Compounds of iron and sulphur are not fit for production of the metal. Isotopes—varieties of chemical elements with different atomic weights, differing in mass numbers from the atoms but having the same nuclear charge and, therefore, occupying the same place in Mendeleyev's periodicsystem. Jasper—variety of chalcedony with extensive mixtures in the form of a- finely-dispersed dye. Encountered in large concentrations. T h e durability and hardness of jasper,

the beauty and vat m y of its shades make this stone technically and artistically valuable. Joliot-Curie. Frederic (born in 1900) —outstanding French physicist, one of the most prominent scientists in the field of nuclear physics, eminent progressive public figure and winner of the International Lenin Prize For Strengthening Peace among the Nations. Chairman of the Peace Council. Member of the Communist Party since 1942. Kaolin—porcelain clay; name derived from the Chinese word kaolong (mountain with kaolin deposits) ; light-coloured, more frequently light, loose, fine-grained clay consisting almost entirely of the mineral kaolinite. Pure kaolin is highly fireproof and melts at 1,750° C. Formed by decomposition of rocks rich in feldspar. Used in faience-porcelain, paper, rubber, chemical and other branches of industry. Kaolinite—opaque, lustreless white mineral A l 2 ( 0 H ) 4 ( S i . , 0 5 ) . Contains about 40 per cent alumina (aluminium oxide), silica and water. Kimberlite—dark, almost black magmatic rock, consisting mainly of olivine, brown mica and pyroxene which hardened in large explosion cratcrs; in South Africa and in America it contains crystals of diamond. Kunzite—transparent, light-lilac or pink variety of the mineral called spodumene, a silicate of lithium and aluminium. Used as a precious stone. Kursk magnetic anomaly—vast territory near the city of Kursk where a considerable deviation of the magnetic needle is observed; the deviation is caused by large magnetite deposits. Kyanite or disthene—mineral of beautiful blue shades, nearly transparent. Contains about 60 per cent aluminium oxide. Used as a highly

fire- and acid-proof material, while the transparent and beautifully coloured varieties of kyanite are faceted. Labrador—bluish-grey or black iridescent (resembling a peacock feather) mineral of the feldspar group. Labradorite—mixed crystalline rocks consisting chiefly of labrador. Fine building and decorative stone. Laccolith—shape in • which magmatic rocks are deposited in the earth's crust. i.e., flat-convex bodies resembling a loaf of bread or the cap of a mushroom. M a g m a hardened before reaching the earth's surface and arched the overlying layers. Freed by weathering and erosion of the overlying sedimentary rocks it forms low mountains, for example, Beshtau and Mashuk (North Caucasus), Ayu-Dag (the Crimea), etc. Lagoon—shallow gulf or bay separated from the sea (or lake) by alluvial sand or clay. Depending on the climate of the region the lagoon may have salty or saltish water; the salinity of the water is sometimes due to the fact that sea-water periodically breaks into the lagoons. Organic world of the lagoons is always poorer than that of the sea. Laterite—or red earth—red claylike products of rock disintegration in humid subtropical regions. Contain iron and aluminium oxides. Externally resemble brick and are used in building, hence, the name from the Latin later—brick. Lava—fiery liquid mass (magma) pouring out of volcanic craters or fissures on to the earth's surface. O n hardening forms various volcanic rocks. T h e latter are deposited in the form of streams (on the slopes of volcanoes) or as crusts (when pouring out of fissures) sometimes covering vast areas. 445

Lavoisier Anioine (] 743-1794) —great French chemist. For his work of compiling the mineralogical atlas of France was elected member of the French Academy of Science.
Lead glance. See galena.

composition; in hardening each o them produces a special rock.
Magmatic or igneous rocks—rocks

Leucite—white or greyish mineral of the silicate group containing aluminium and potassium. Frequently forms sphere-like polyhedrons with twenty-four sides. Encountered as a constituent of intrusive rocks. Attempts are now being made to extract potassium and metallic aluminium from leucite. Liebig, Justus von (1803-1873)—one of the most prominent chemists of the 19th century. Founder of agronomii; chemistry and soil science. Made very important contributions to organic chemistry.
Limespar. See calcite.

Limestone—sedimentary rock of white, grey and other colours composed of calcium carbonate ( C a C O , ) : frequently an accumulation of the remains of skeletons and shells. Very abundant in the earth's crust; forms enormous layers. U s e d in building, cement, chemical and metallurgical industries, in agronomy, and in other branches of the national economy. Limonile—colloid precipitate of different hydrates of ferric oxides of variable composition. Used as an iron ore. See iron ore.
Lithosphere. S e e earth's crust.

Lucretius Cams (99-55 B.C.) — brilliant Roman poet and philosopher. In his poem On the Nature of Things he set forth the philosophy of atomistic materialism. Magma—(Greek to dough)—fiery liquid molten mass under the hard crust of the earth. In chemical composition it is a complex molten silicate. O w i n g to changes in temperature, pressure and other factors magma divides into separate sections; these sections differ in
446

formed from molten m a g m a as the latter cooled and hardened. Divided into intrusive or Plutonic rocks, i.e., hardened in the interior of the earth (granite, peridotite, gabbro, etc.) and extrusive rocks, i.e., formed from the m a g m a which poured out to the earth's surface, as during volcanic eruptions (andesite, basalt, liparite, etc.). .Magnesite—white or slightly coloured mineral; magnesium carbonate. Excellent refractory material for metallurgical furnaces, etc. Magnetite or loadstone—black, opaque mineral consisting of ferric and ferrous oxides; highly magnetic, sometimes forms whole mountains (Magnitnaya and Vysokaya mountains in the Urals). Most important iron ore. See iron ores. Manganese ores are various manganese oxides accumulated amid sedimentary rocks. Most important manganese-ore minerals are psilomelane, pyrolusite and manganite. .\latble—general name of fineor medium-crystal granular limestones and dolomites capable of being polished. Marbles are' noted for the diversity of their colours and patterns. Valuable and important building, technical, facing and decorative material. Snow-white and pink marbles are used for sculpture. Marble onyx—veined deposits of variously coloured calcite. Used as beautiful decorative stone. Mar!—sedimentary rock consisting of clay and limestone mixed in various proportions (argillaceous and calcareous marl). Marl containing 75 to 80 per cent calcium carbonate and 20 to 25 per cent clay is fit for production of Portland cement without any

additions (cement marl or natural cement). Mass-spectrograph—instrument by means of which it is possible to estimate the number of isotopes in different chemical elements. Mendclevite—rare black mineral containing niobium and tantalum. Mercury Julminaie—Hg(ONC)2. White or grey poisonous crystalline substance. Explodes readily on being struck, rubbed or heated as well as under the action of certain concentrated acids. Dangerous in use. Used as an explosive. Metamorphic rocks—rocks of magmatic or sedimentary origin, their mineralogical and chemical composition and structure changed (metamorphosed) after their formation ; divided into rocks of Plutonic metamorphism (crystalline shales, micaceous shales, gneisses, etc.), contact metamorphism (corniferous rocks, tourmaline shales, etc.) and partly remelted rocks. Metamorphism. See metamorphic rocks. Meteor—light phenomenon in the form of a shooting star caused by the invasion of a small hard granule weighing a fraction of a gram from interplanetary space into the atmosphere of the earth. Meteoric body—solid iron or stony mass weighing from a fraction of a gram to many thousands of tons and moving around the sun in interplanetary space as an independent celestial body. In invading the atmosphere of the earth the meteoric body produces a meteor or bolide and sometimes ends by falling on the earth. Meteorite—iron or stony mass falling on the earth; remnant of a meteoric body which has not fully disintegrated in the earth's atmosphere. Meteoritics—special branch of science studying meteorites and the

conditions under which they fall on the earth. Mica—group of chemically complex minerals: alumosilicates of alkalis, magnesium and iron. It is a characteristic ability of mica to split into very thin sheets. Chief micas: white mica or muscovite— transparent, light and potassic; black or biotite— from translucent to opaque, rich in iron and magnesium. Encountered in crystals, sometimes of very large size. Valuable electricinsulation material. Micaceous shale—schistous rock consisting mainly of mica and quartz with a small amount of feldspar. Alicron—o.ooi millimetre. Migration of elements—shift and redistribution of chemical elements in the earth's crust as a result of which an element is dispersed in some parts and concentrated in others. Mineial coal—product of large accumulations of various organic (mainly vegetable) remains gradually changed in the course of geological periods. Encountered in layers interspersed with clays, sandstones and other rocks. Layers range from a fraction of a centimetre to several metres thick. Varieties: anthracite, bituminous coal and brown coal. Alineral oil, petroleum or liquid bitumens — brown, dark-green or black, sometimes almost colourless liquid. Easily recognized by odour resembling kerosene. Main constituents of petroleum are carbon and hydrogen which form compounds— hydrocarbons—of extraordinarily diverse composition. Mineral oil occurs in layers and pockets and saturates loose or porous sedimentary rocks. It plays an uncommonly important part in various branches of the national economy and is used chieflv as fuel. Refin447

ing produces various valuable products—benzine, kerosene, gasoline, lubricants, asphalt, explosives, etc., etc. Mineral spring—spring with large amounts of inorganic substances dissolved in its waters. Molecule—minutest particle of substance which cannot be further divided without destruction of its physical and chemical identity. A molecule consists of atoms numbering from one (noble gases) to thousands (proteins). Molybdenite—lead-grey mineral with metallic lustre. Chemically molybdenum disulphide (MoS 2 ). Chief molybdenum ore. Monomineral—consisting of some one mineral. Morion—almost black rock crystal; its fine fragments, however, appear brown. When carefully heated (baked in bread) becomes light, turning yellow; jewellers take advantage of this property. Further heating may deprive it of all colour. Composition of the colour and its origin are still unknown. See quartz. Mosaics—artistic pattern made of particoloured pieces of stone, glass, wood, bone and other materials closely adhering to each other. Mountain sickness (altitude sickness)—morbid state as a result of climbing to high altitudes, due to the action of low atmospheric pressure on man. Murmanite—rare violet-coloured mineral; titanosilicate of sodium from the pegmatites of nepheline syenites. Muscovite. See mica. Narzan—mineral spring in the city of Kislovodsk. T h e salts dissolved in its water and the large amount of free carbonic acid give it valuable medicinal properties. Nephelite, nepheline or eleolite— greyish-white or greenish mineral
448

with glassy or oily lustre; alumosilicate chemically rich in alkalis. Xephelite can be used as an aluminium ore in the chemical industry (production of soda, alums, etc.), in the abrasive, porcelain, glass and leather (it replaces tanning materials) industries, in the manufacture of waterproof fabrics, in impregnating wood, as a fertilizer, etc. Nephelitic syenite—rock erupted from the interior of the earth and containing nephelite, feldspar, pyroxene and amphibole, but never any quartz. Occurs relatively rarely; largest concentration is found on Kola Peninsula. Nephrite—milky-white, grey, applegreen, sometimes dark, almost black-green mineral. I-ime-, magnesium-and iron-containing amphibole. Opaque, but somewhat translucent in thin sheets. Takes polish well. Very valuable, strong and viscous material; consists of microscopically interlaced fibres. Used as building and partly as technical stone. Neptune—i) god of water, rivers, streams and rain water in the mythology of ancient Rome. With the development of sea-trade Neptune became the god of the sea and the patron off seafarers; a) the eighth planet in the solar system: discovered in 1846. Neptunism—theory of the origin of all rocks (including igneous rocks) from aqueous sediments, very popular with geologists at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries. Nero (37-68 A. D.i Roman emperor. Neutron—elementary particle carrying no electric charge; its weight equals that of the proton. T h e atomic weight of a chemical element corresponds to the sum of the protons and neutrons in

the atom. T h e neutrons and protons together constitute the nucleus of the atom. Nontronile—rare apple-green mineral of earthy appcarancc consisting essentially of hydrous iron silicate; product of weathering of primary silicate. Ochre—yellow earthy products of oxidation of heavy metals (for instance, vanadic, tungsten, ferric, chromic, lead and other ochres). In the paint trade—dyes of iron hydrates with different water content and of different shades, from earthyyellow to red. Octane number—conventional measure of resistance to explosion of liquid fuel. Octane number of iso-octane is too; that of the very highly detonating heptane is 0. Most types of fuel arrange themselves between iso-octane and heptane. Olivine or peridot—yellow-green, olive-coloured or yellow-brown translucent mineral with glassy glance. Silicate of iron and magnesium. The transparent golden-green crystals are known as chrysolite and are faceted. Olivinic rocks—igneous rocks from the interior of the earth with the mineral olivine as their chief constituent. Onyx—variety of agate; consists of layers of different colours, white and black, white and red, etc. T h e layers are flat and the bands straight; used for making cameos, etc. Opal—mineral of amorphic (noncrystalline, glass-like) structure; silica with variable water content. Noted for great variety of appearance. Chief varieties—transparent, iridescent and evenly-coloured (noble opal, hyalite, hyclrophane, fire opal, etc.), ordinary opals— non-iridescent and not quite transparent (milky, waxy, etc.! and

semi-opals—slightly translucent or opaque containing mechanical admixtures (agate, jasper, chalcedonic opals, etc). Abundant in nature; precipitated in hot and cold waters. Large amounts of opaline substance accumulate on sea floors as a result of vital activity of marine animals and plants (radiolarians. sponges, diatomaceac, etc.). Ore—mineral or rock containing sufficient useful material to make its processing profitable. Ore deposits—natural accumulations of ore in the earth's crust which by their beds, extent and percentage of metal content render their exploitation profitable. Orpimenl—arsenic sulphide, yellow mineral usually encountered in leafy and columnar masses.
Orthoclase. See feldspar.

Osmic iridium—rare platinum mineral; natural alloy of osmium and iridium. Outcrop—place where rocks, veins and mineral deposits actually come out to the surface of the earth. Outcrops may be natural and artificial (clearings). Paleozoic era—ancient era in the history of the earth or era of ancient life. Subdivided into five periods:
Cambrian, Silurian, Devonian, Carbon-

iferous and Permian. Minerals formed on the territory of the U.S.S.R. during the Paleozoic era are very abundant. Pegmatite—I ) vein rocks of various composition formed from residual part of magma saturated with volatile and fusible elements. Pegmatite formations may be connected with various rocks, but granite pegmatites are particularly well known. They are noted for very large segregations of feldspar, quartz, dark and white mica and not infrequently for accumulations of precious stones and rare minerals; 2) regular growth of quartz through orthoclase with the formation of
449

structures resembling ancient characters. Peridotite—dark-grey or black crystalline igneous rock consisting of olivine and pyroxene. Rich in iron and magnesium. Permian system—layers formed during final period of Paleozoic era; follows Carboniferous period. N a m e stems from Perm Region where this system is most fully developed and where it was first described. Permian Sea—sea of the Permian system. Petrified tree—pseudomorphosis of chalcedony, quartz and opal in a tree. Petrography—division of geology studying the composition and structure of rocks. Phenacite—bright wine-yellow, sometimes pale pink-red, transparent to semi-transparent mineral; beryllium silicate. Phosphates—compounds of phosphorus and various metals. In nature most frequently encountered in combination with calcium and fluorine: apatite, phosphorite, etc. Phosphorite—variety of the mineral apatite of a sedimentary-organogenic origin. Appears as crock- or spherically-shaped concretion with radial structure. Valuable mineral fertilizer if it does not contain much clay and limestone. Plagioclase. See feldspar. Pliny the Elder (24-79 A . D . ) — Roman scientist. Died during the eruption of Vesuvius. His 36-volume .Xatural History, a sort of encyclopaedia, has come down to our days. In addition to books on biology, botany and medicine it also includes books on cosmography, mineralogy and even the history 01" art. Pluto—1) god of the underworld in the mythology of ancient Greece; 2) ninth planet in the solar system; discovered in 1930. 454

Plutonism—theory that all rocks resulted from the action of underground heat, popular at the end of the 18th century. Polarizing microscope—microscope adapted to studies of crystalline substances. Used mainly for studying rocks and minerals. Polaroid—film or plate made of special crystals polarizing natural light. Polymetallic ore—ore containing several metals, most frequently copper, zinc, lead and silver. Porphyries—general name of all rocks with large crystals and large grains of minerals (feldspar, quartz) immersed in the main mass which consists of smaller grains. Proton—elementary particle of substance carrying a positive electric charge. Protons together with neutrons form the nucleus of the atom. T h e number of protons in the nucleus equals that of the negatively charged electrons and, consequently, the atomic number of the chemical element. Protuberances or prominences—projections on the surface of the sun consisting of heated gases, mainly, calcium and hydrogen. Easily observed during full solar eclipse in the form of fire fountains and eruptions near the edge of the solar disk. Outside eclipses they can be observed only by means of a spectroscope. Pseudomorphosis—mineral formations of crystalline structure or form atypical of the given mineral. These minerals assume the external form of other minerals, fossillized trees and shells. Pyrite—iron sulphide; goldcoloured mineral consisting of 46.7 per cent iron and 53.3 per cent sulphur. Very abundant mineral used mainly for the manufacture of sulphuric acid, green vitriol, alum and sulphur.

Pyrites—coloured sulphide compounds of copper and iron (also of nickel and cobalt! with metallic lustre. T h e term came into science from miners w h o distinguished pyrites from glances, i.e.. sulphide compounds of the same metals, but of grey and white colours. Examples — copper pyrite and copper glance (chalcocite). Pyroxenes chemically-complex silicates rich in iron, calcium and magnesium; colours—grey, yellowish and green up to black. Glassy lustre. Pyroxene has many varieties (enstatite. bronzite. hypersthene, diopside etc.). Augite is the usual representative of this group of minerals. Quartz—hard, colourless, white or variously-coloured mineral ( S i 0 2 ) . Important constituent of many rocks; one of the most abundant minerals in the earth's crust. Occurs in excellently formed crystals as well as in granular and continuous masses. Varieties: transparent quarty.es—rock crystal, amethyst, smoky quartz or smoky topaz, citrine; semi-transparent— morion, milky, grey, etc.: opaque—ordinary white, ferruginous, etc. Widely used in the manufacture of physical and optical instruments, in precision mechanics, in radio-engineering, in the glass and ceramics industry, etc.: valuable as a precious and industrial stone. Radioactivity— physical phenomenon whose essence consists in the fact that (he atoms of some chemical elements, found mainly at the end of the periodic system, are capable of spontaneous disintegration. As a result of such radioactive disintegration atoms of one element are transformed into those of another. Radio!arions—microscopically small unicellular organisms belonging to the protozoa. Remarkable for the uncommon variety of their skeletons consisting chiefly of silica.

Raf>a—brine; water saturated with salts dissolved in it in amounts exceeding those in sea-water ; formed in individual closed water reservoirs subject to constant intense evaporation. Ratovkile. See ftuorite. Rock crystal transparent variety of quartz. Occurs in the form of beautiful hexahedra! crystals. Used in radio-engineering. See quartz. Rocks—natural accumulations of minerals united by a common process of formation and possessing more or less constant composition and structure. Divided into magmatic. sedimentary and metamorphic, depending on origin. Rock salt. See Halite. Roentgen, Wilhelm Konrad (18451923)—well-known German physicist. His name won particular fame after his dicovery in 1895 of a special form of radiant energy, the so-called X-rays. Ruby—red variety of corundum used in jewellery, for bearings in watches, meters, etc. Also produced artificially. See corundum. Rutherford, Ernest (1871-1937)— most prominent English experimental physicist who studied the structure of atoms and radioactive processes. Rut He—mineral—titanium dioxide \ T i O , i: forms reddish-brown crystals. Sometimes encountered grown into quartz in the form of fine fibres, so-called "Venus' hair." Saline—soil saturated with salts to the extent that their crusts or crystals colour it white. Saltpetre—potassium or sodium nitrate. Occurs in desert regions in thin white crusts on the earth's surface, on rocks, etc. Used as fertilizer and for production of explosi ves. Samarskite—rare, velvety-black mineral of the niobate and tantalatc group. 455

Sand—disintegrated, loose rock formation consisting of rounded or angular grains of separate minerals (quartz, feldspar, etc.) ranging from 2 to 0.02 mm. in size. Origin —product of disintegration, transport and deposit of formerly existing rocks. Sands are worked for various purposes. Depending on their technical uses the following sorts are distinguished: building, glass, moulding, grinding, filtering sands, etc. Sapphire. See corundum. Sarder—ancient name (sard) of red chalcedony ranging from light to deep shades, as well as from brownred to brown. Scale—crust formed on the surface of a molten metal (iron, copper) when air has access to it while it is being processed. T h e composition of the scale is inconstant and depends on the temperature and the excess of air during its formation.
Scheele, Karl Wilhelm

(1742-1786)

—outstanding Swedish chemist. Discovered oxygen, chlorine and manganese. Scheelite—opaque greyish-yellow mineral with oily lustre, calcium tungstate ( C a W 0 4 ) . Under the action of ultraviolet rays shows beautiful greenish-blue colour. Mined for production of tungsten, one of the most important elements in metallurgy. Secondary minerals—minerals originated in deposits near the earth's surface as a result of the decomposition of primary minerals under the action of subsoil waters and the oxygen of the air. Sedimentary rocks—stratified rocks formed as a result of precipitation of mineral substances chiefly from water under the action of gravity, for example, limestones, sandstones, etc. Seismograph or seismometer—instrument for registering and measuring 456

the waves (shocks) produced in the earth and in engineering structures by earthquakes, explosions, transport, factory machinery, etc. Seismology—science about earthquakes. Serpentine—dense green rock of secondary origin consisting of serpentinite, magnetite, cnromite, etc.; often shows green, black, grey, white, red and yellow spots which make it look like snake skin. Serpenlinite—hydrous magnesium silicate containing small amounts of iron, chromium and nickel; abundant mineral ranging in colour from onion-green to reddish-green. Used as ornamental stone. Shales—rocks which independent of their origin are characterized by a fine-layer structure and wellpronounced slatiness, i.e., ability to divide into more or less thin, flat and parallel layers or sheets; may stem from sedimentary and from magmatic rocks by means of metamorphism. Shors—saline formed in place of a dried-out lake with clearly pronounced lakeside line. Silicates—large group of minerals representing substances containing silicon and a number of other elements (natural salts of various silicic acids). In the earth's crust silicates comprise the largest group of minerals, including feldspars, micas, horn-blendes, pyroxenes, kaolin minerals, etc. Silt—sediment on the floor of water reservoirs consisting mainly of minutest clayey particles less than 0.01 mm. in size. Soft ground with a low viscosity and rich in water is usually called silt. Smaragd—old name of emerald. Soffioni—volcanic gas streams containing hydrogen sulphide and carbon dioxide, as well as a small amount of ammonia and methane. T h e best-known soffioni are found in Toscania (Italy). They contain

boric acid which is extracted for industrial purposes. T h e steam of the soffioni is used for heating. Soil science—science about the origin and development of the soil, the process of development of its fertility and the methods of influencing the soil for crop improvement. Soils —surface formations connected with the weathering of rocks and remade by water, air and various processes in the vital activity of plants and animals. Spectral analysis— highly sensitive method of determining chemical composition of complex substances by studying their spectra. Spectroscope—instrument for studying optical spectra. Sphalerite or zinc-blende —yellow, brown-red, green and black mineral with adamantine lustre. Compound of zinc and sulphur (Zn, Fe)S. Mined for production of zinc. Sphalerite stems from the Greek word sphaleros—deceptive. Stalagmites—formations on the floors of underground caves or galleries formed by drops of water saturated with carbonates falling from the ceiling. Gradually grow from the floor of the cave upward. Stalactites—masses of calcite and other cylinder-shaped minerals (resembling icicles 1 hanging down from the ceilings and tops of walls in lime rock of underground caves and galleries. Step-bearing—support made of a very hard mineral, mainly ruby (natural and synthetic). Used in precision mechanisms. Supports rapidly-revolving parts. Rubies in watches serve as an example. Stibnite. See antimonite. Slope—part of a mine working where minerals are being extracted. Slrabon (63 B.C.-20 A.D.I — famous Greek philosopher and historian. Travelled extensively through Asia Minor. Syria, Egypt, Italy and

Greece. His work Geography in 17 volumes has nearly fully come down to our days: the work has been translated into all languages, including Russian. Sublimation—transformation of substance from crystalline state directly (i.e., without melting) into vapour. Suess, Eduard (1831-1g14 j —Austrian geologist. His basic scientific work Face of the Earth influenced the development of many branches of geology. Superphosphate—mineral fertilizer; mixture mainly of calcium sulphate and calcium phosphate. Superphosphate is the most widespread fertilizer. Supersonic wares mechanical oscillations with a frequency above the upper limit of auditory perception. Syenite —light-coloured igneous crystalline rock consisting mainly of feldspars and horn-blende. Differs from granite by absence of quartz. N a m e d after the city of Syene in Egypt. Talc—magnesium silicate, one of the softest minerals, coloured silverywhite, greenish and yellowish: has oily lustre and is shot with mother of pearl; oily to the touch. Used in the form of powder for hygienic purposes and as a filler in the rubber, paper, paint and other branches of industry; its dense variety is called steatite or soapstone and is used in the form of slabs as fire- and acid-proof material and as an electric insulator. Tectites—small glassy bodies found in many parts of the world. Their origin is still problematic. Some scientists believe them to be meteorites. Tectonics— branch of geology studying rock deposits and their various irregularities. Test pit—shallow, vertical shaftlike excavation sunk for prospecting for mineral deposits. 453

Tiger's eye - y e l l o w - b r o w n and brown-black quartz shot with gold owing to inclusions of horn-blende fibres. Timiryazev. Klementy (1843-1920)— great Russian scientist and revolutionary, prominent botanist and physiologist, ardent propagandist of Darwin's evolutionary theory. Tinstone. See cassiterite. Toluene—chemical compound obtained from coal tar and coke-furnace gases. Basic raw material for production of saccharine: used in manufacture of dyes. Nitrating of toluene produces trotyl, one of the most important explosives. Topaz —transparent, translucent and opaque, colourless, wine-yellow, greenish, blue and pink mineral with glassy lustre. Chemically aluminium fluosilicate. Its transparent beautifully formed crystals are used as precious stones. Tourmaline—mineral of very complex and variable composition— alum-borosilicate of calcium, iron and magnesium. Colours vary extraordinarily. Has several varieties. Used as precious stone and as thermoand piezoelectrical raw material. Tsiolkovsky, Konstantin (1857-1937) —outstanding Russian scientist and self-taught inventor; devoted all his life to scientific work in the field of rocket-flying. Turquoise—beautiful blue and bluish-green opaque mineral with a dull lustre; phosphate of copper and aluminium. Used for decorative purposes. L'ltrabasic rocks—rocks especially rich in such metals (bases) as magnesium, calcium and ferrous oxide; contain 45 per cent silicon dioxide. All noted for dark (green or black) colours, are heavy and formed from melts in the deepest interior of the earth's crust. Ultra-short waves — electromagnetic oscillations with a wave-length of less than 10 metres.

Ultraviolet rays—general term for electromagnetic waves with wavelengths of 40,000 A to 100 A. Uvarovite—chrome garnet of emerald-grecn colour. Vacuum—space devoid of matter in a closed vessel. Vauquelin, Louis Nicolas (17631829)—French chemist. Discovered chromium in Siberian red-lead ore in 1797. T h e same year found the oxide of a formerly unknown metal, beryllium, in the mineral beryl. M a d e extensive studies of substance of plant and animal origin. Vein—fissure in rocks fiiled with some mineral crystallized from the magma or from hot or cold solutions. Venus'' hair—rock crystal, smoky quartz or amethyst including rutile and other fibrous minerals. Vernadskite—very rare mineral belonging to the group of basic hydrous sulphates of copper. Encountered in the crater of Vesuvius. Volcanic (or real) tuff—rock of pressed volcanic ash. Colour ranges from greyish and delicate violet to black. Weathering—destruction of rocks and minerals by the physical and chemical action of the air and water. Wolframite—brownish-black mineral whose composition includes tungsten, iron and manganese. Contains u p to 50 per cent tungsten and yields 95 per cent of its world output. Used in the manufacture of steel and paints. X-rays or Roentgen rays—short-wave electromagnetic emanations discovered by W. K. Roentgen in 1895. Have extraordinarily extensive application in science and engineering. T h e structure of atoms and molecules is studied by means of X-rays. U s e d in analyzing substance for the purpose of discovering particular elements in it. Also widely used in medicine. Zinc-blende. See sphalerite.

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