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Re: magnetized bits in soil

Steve P. wrote, via James Purchase:

> Hong Sungmin asked: "What's the micronized iron? They don't sell it in
> gardening shops here S.Korea. is it the 'iron powder' that chemical company
> make, or the same one we can gether from the soil by a bar magnet?"
> If you are finding magnetizeable bits of iron in the soil, I'm not sure
> what that means. Probably that there is iron filings in the soil and
> perhaps you should consider the soil contaminated as there could be other
> metal filings such as zinc, lead or copper.

Magnetite is a magnetic mineral that occurs in small quantities in many
different rocks and some soils.  It can be found in some locations in
quantities large enough to be gathered with a magnet.  Also...

As children we used to run magnets through our dry soil and gather little
bits out of the dust.  We later learned in science class (thank you,
George Fishbeck) that the magnetic dust was the result of a more-or-less
continuous fall of meteorite debris out of the atmosphere.  We even went
through the exercise of placing a pie plate lined with white paper out in
the open on a still night, checking it in the morning with a magnifying
glass and magnet. Yup.  Magnetic dust accumulated over night.

I don't know if that works everywhere, but it worked well in 1964 on the
parched floor of the Pecos Valley.

At any rate, I wouldn't worry too much about the magnetic dust indicating
contaminated soil.

Roger Miller

In Albuquerque, where we are daily stalked by great blue thunderstorms
that aim to pounce upon us from the western desert.