Surprising Places Where Metals Can Be Found

Surprising Places Where Metals Can Be Found

30th July 2020

A huge amount of effort goes into extracting different types of metal from the Earth’s crust and turning them into useful objects. Yet, you might not know that metals can also be found in some strange places. The following are some of the most surprising places where metals have been located.

The Moon

Recent research carried out by the Miniature Radio Frequency (Mini-RF) instrument team working on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft discovered that the Moon might contain more metal than we had thought.

However, this doesn’t mean that the Earth’s natural satellite has buildings or other structures that aliens have built using stainless steel CE marked fabrications. What they found was that the bigger craters on the surface of the Moon have higher electrical properties than smaller ones, with the amount rising in line with the size of the crater.

This led the scientists to consider that this effect may be caused by meteors scraping away the top surface of soil and exposing the metal below it. In this case, it seems possible that the likes of iron and titanium deposits could be lurking under the surface of the Moon. Sadly, their study failed to reveal any cheese surfaces.

In Your Body

Heavy metal poisoning might sound like a side-effect of listening to much Metallica, but it is actually a very real disease that can be caused by the body absorbing too much mercury, arsenic, lead or other toxic metals.

This can be from food or water intake, as well as from industrial exposure, paint and other sources. While it isn’t particularly common in developed countries now, in the past it was to blame for conditions likes Mad Hatter’s Syndrome, as the mercuric nitrate used in hat production caused hat makers to suffer a variety of symptoms.

We all have very small amounts of magnesium and potassium in our bodies anyway. In addition, estimates put the amount of pure gold in the average human body as 0.2mg. For instance, if you have a tattoo, then this can add tiny amounts of cobalt and other heavy metals to your body.

In Sewage

Some studies over the years have looked at the amount of metal found in sewage and sludge. Research in South Africa found a maximum of 21.93 ± 0.38 mg/kg dry mass in the sewage system. When it comes to industrial sludge, the metal content can be even higher than in sewage, as waste materials often include heavy metals.

An earlier study of wastewater in the Campinas Metropolitan Region of Brazil found that toxic metal levels were higher than allowed in some metals, but lower in others. This can cause damage to humans, as well as to the entire ecosystem.

A project in Calgary, Canada will see the city’s sewage treated, to create sustainable biofuels. As part of this, they will be separating useful minerals such as phosphorous and nitrogen, while removing the potentially dangerous heavy metals. This could provide a sensible approach for dealing with the matter in the future.