Mercury was known to humans as far back as the Ancient Egyptians and its name originates from the alchemy movement after the planet Mercury. It’s symbol Hg derives from the Latin Hydragyrum which translates as liquid silver. It is a toxic metal and was used as a medicine for many years. Mercury is good at conducting electricity and is use in electrical switches and also can be used in nuclear reactors. It is also used in the production of chlorine and gold. Mercury exists as an ore in the earth’s crust in the ore Cinnabar. It is a liquid metal at room temperature with a melting point of -38°c and a boiling point of 356°c.
Known to the ancients.
Used in thermometers, barometers, and batteries. Also used in electrical switches and mercury-vapor lighting products.
Virtually all mercury comes from cinnabar or mercury sulfide (HgS). Some sources of red cinnabar are so rich in mercury that droplets of elemental mercury can be found in random samples.