Metal particles in dirt, amazing !!

Discussion in 'Photos & Videos' started by Biased turkey, Feb 6, 2008.

  1. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    My brother in law is a mechanical engineer and kindly offered me some dirt samples from his big ( 100+ ) collection.
    As suggested by various threads on this forum, I baked the dirt ( about 2 cups ) in the oven and run a very powerful magnet to remove any metal particles. I used a very very strong magnet ( removed from a computer hard disk ) .
    I was amazed by the huge quantity of magnetic particles attracted by the permanent magnet.One can see those vertical "needles" in the right corner.
    Is it normal to have such a high quantity of magnetic particles in a dirt sample , or was I offered a soil sample from an abandoned steel mill :) ?

  2. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    Depends. If you collect sand on the side of a river, sometimes it is loaded with magnetic particles, sometimes your magnet will come clean. It just depends on where you collect from.

  3. CNJ999

    CNJ999 Member

    Most unfortunately, in this day and age, living anywhere down wind of a wide variety of industrial complexes can result in a surprisingly high level of contamination from metallic particles. In spite of "scrubbers" and other devices, smoke/vapors released by their manufacturing processes often contains considerable particulates, including iron. This I learned first hand from a friend who worked for the EPA.

    Of course, their are also a number of regions in the country where iron is a common component of the soil. Although few folks know it, southeastern NYS has considerable iron deposits, some of which were mined until as late as the close of the 19th century.

  4. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    When we lived in Wickenburg we had a rather large wash behind the house and several smaller ones. There was a vein of black sand and thought that would be neat somewhere on my layout, maybe as an N scale coal pile or even ballast.:thumb: I carried a bucket of it up the hill and thought it was kind of heavy. I have a large magnet taken out of a radar magnetron and found that just about all of the sand was attracted to it. I guess it's called magnetite and it's about five times heavier than water.:eek: I neither used it nor carried it back down the hill.:cry: Ahh, the things you learn from being in this hobby.tooth1:p:rofl:
  5. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    Thanks to all the nice members on this subforum who took some of their time to reply.

    I checked with my Brother in Law and he confirms that the sample comes from the area where he is living , the Laurentian Mountains north of Montreal. This area is known to have a high concentration of iron oxyde.
    First, I should have been warned by the reddish color of the sample.

    Here is a picture. I wanted to use the sifted particles for a dirt road, but they are too big. At least I can use the sample for making gravel roads or a Team track.

    To ezdays: I'm glad you didn't ruin all your engines permanent magnets by using that magnetite.

  6. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Yeah, me too. I did ruin my disposition though since I had to carry the bucket up the hill for nothing.wall1wall1

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