Sulphur - S
Sulphur is a multivalent non-metal, abundant, tasteless and and odorless. In its native form sulphur is a yellow crystalline solid. In nature it occurs as the pure element or as sulfide and sulfate minerals. Although sulphur is infamous for its smell, frequently compare to rotten eggs, that odor is actually characteristic of hydrogen sulphide (H2S).
The major derivative of sulphur is sulphuric acid (H2SO4), one of the most important elements used as an industrial raw material.
Sulphur in the environment
Life on Earth may have been possible because of sulphur. Conditions in the early seas were such that simple chemical reactions could have generate the range of amino acids that are the building blocks of life.
Sulphur occurs naturally near volcanoes. Native sulphur occurs naturally as massive deposits in Texas and Louisiana in the USA. Many sulphide minerals are known: pyrite and marcaiste are iron sulphide ; stibnite is antimony sulphide; galena is lead sulphide; cinnabar is mercury sulphide and sphalerite is zinc sulphide. Other, more important, sulphide ores are chalcopyrite, bornite, penlandite, millerite and molybdenite.
Back to the periodic table of elements.
For more information on sulphur's place in the environment, move to the sulphur cycle.