What do many elements found in nature exist as?

1 Answer
Nov 24, 2016
  1. A pure, natural form of itself.
  2. In radioactive decay.
  3. In compounds.
  4. Man-made.


Elements that are discovered in nature appear in multiple ways:

  1. A pure, natural form of itself, like gold or copper. Known as ore in this state. Less than 100 of the 116 or so elements are found like this.

  2. In radioactive decay - daughter elements like uranium.

  3. In compounds. Some elements are extremely reactive and are never found by itself, always with an accompanying element. These two (or more) elements react and create a compound. Scientists then extracts and isolates the elements within the compound. Alkaline Earth metals are found this way.

  4. Man-made. Plutonium can occur in natural geological circumstances, but very rare, "Scientists discovered that, by allowing fast neutrons to collide with the common isotope of uranium known as U-238 in a nuclear reactor, the ‘new’ element plutonium was made".

Hope this helps :)