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What does it look, feel, taste, or smell like?
Copper is a reddish-orange metal, one of only two metals (the other being gold) which has a color other than silver or gray. It tastes metallic, and feels like salt.
How was it discovered?
As early as 10,000 years ago, people found small deposits of native (pure) copper metal in the ground. This copper was then hammered and used to make weapons, tools and decorations. In Northern Iraq, a copper pendant was found that can be dated back to about 8700 B.C.
Where did its name come from?
Copper gets its name from the Latin word Cuprum, meaning from the island of Cyprus. In the Ancient Roman world (whose common language was Latin), most copper was mined in Cyprus.
Where is it found?
Copper can be found underground in the form of copper ore. The main copper ore producing countries are Chile, United States, Indonesia, Australia, Peru, Russia, Canada, China, Poland, Kazakhstan, Zambia, Zaire, and Mexico. Copper is usually obtained from the ores cuprite (CuO2), tenorite (CuO), malachite (CuO3*Cu(OH)2), chalcocite (Cu2S), covellite (CuS), and bornite (Cu6FeS4).
What are its uses?
As copper is a great conductor of electricity it is used to make wires that carry electricity into homes, schools and businesses. In addition, copper is used to make locks, pipes, doorknobs, pots, bronze and jewelry. Most coins also contain copper, not just pennies (in fact pennies are now mostly zinc due to rising copper prices, but other coins are mostly still copper.)
Is it dangerous?
A little copper is necessary for many living things. However, copper in higher levels can be toxic.