Native Element

native element

[′nād·iv ′el·ə·mənt]
Any of 20 elements, such as copper, gold, and silver, which occur naturally uncombined in a nongaseous state; there are three groups—metals, semimetals, and nonmetals.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Native Element


any of the chemical elements encountered in nature in the form of more or less stable minerals. Native elements are classified as nonmetals (polymorphic modifications of carbon—diamond and graphite—native S, Se, Te), semimetals (native As, Sb), and metals (native Au, Ag, Cu, Pt, Pd, Ir, Fe, Ta, Pb, Zn, Sn, Hg, Bi). Since the solid solutions of native metals are mineralogically and genetically closely related to the metals, they are usually grouped with native elements, as are, sometimes, intermetallic compounds. For example, minerals of the platinum group include, in addition to rare platinum itself, ferroplatinum and polyxene. Gases that exist in an uncombined state in nature include nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, argon, helium, krypton, xenon, and radon.

Most native elements are rarely encountered, and only under unusual conditions do they form large aggregations (deposits). Of the metals, native gold and elements of the platinum group have great industrial importance. Native copper, which is a component of ores in several types of deposits, is less important to industry, and native silver has even less significance. Of the nonmetals, diamond, graphite, and sulfur have great importance. Native iron and nickeliferous iron occur in lunar rock and meteorites but are rarely found in the earth’s crust.

Polymorphic modifications are typical of certain minerals making up the native elements. Native elements, like all minerals, are characterized by the presence of admixtures and by a variety of forms, both of which reflect the conditions under which the native elements were formed. The origin of native elements derives from magmatic, hydrothermal, metamorphic, and supergene processes. Many native elements are found in placers.


Mineraly: Spravochnik, vol. 1. Moscow, 1960.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
We have been treated to the spectacle of what are practically keeled racing-planes driven a clear five foot or more above the water, and only eased down to touch their so-called " native element" as they near the line.
Soon the Nautilus returned to her native element, and the manometer showed that she was about thirty feet deep.
But out of his native element the ape-man was too greatly handicapped to do more than excite the monster to greater speed as it dragged its prey swiftly through the water.
Most of them walked into the water as though into a native element. The sea was quiet now, and swelled lazily in broad billows that melted into one another and did not break except upon the beach in little foamy crests that coiled back like slow, white serpents.
Inflamed beyond the bounds of discretion at the sight, and forgetful of the season, the wood-chopper rushed to his middle into the water, and began to drive the reluctant animals before him from their native element.
I like the plan of sending 'em with the peel on; there's a charm in drawing a poato from its native element (if I may so express it) to which the rich and powerful are strangers.
Cobb felt like a fish removed from his native element and left panting on the sand; there was no evading the awful responsibility of a reply, for Rebecca's eyes were searchlights, that pierced the fiction of his brain and perceived the bald spot on the back of his head.
He should have been at peace with himself and all the world, for was he not in his native element surrounded by game in plenty and rapidly filling his belly with the flesh he loved best?
The principle of reliance and unquestioning faith, which is its foundation, is more a native element in this race than any other; and it has often been found among them, that a stray seed of truth, borne on some breeze of accident into hearts the most ignorant, has sprung up into fruit, whose abundance has shamed that of higher and more skilful culture.
The last thing Miss Jenny saw, as she looked back before closing the room door, was Mr Fledgeby in the act of plunging and gambolling all over his bed, like a porpoise or dolphin in its native element. She then shut the bedroom door, and all the other doors, and going down stairs and emerging from the Albany into the busy streets, took omnibus for Saint Mary Axe: pressing on the road all the gaily-dressed ladies whom she could see from the window, and making them unconscious lay-figures for dolls, while she mentally cut them out and basted them.
They look pretty enough when they sit upon a rock, twanging their harps and combing their hair, and sing, and beckon to you to come and hold the looking-glass; but when they sink into their native element, depend on it, those mermaids are about no good, and we had best not examine the fiendish marine cannibals, revelling and feasting on their wretched pickled victims.
Newman was fond, under all circumstances, of the society of women, and now that he was out of his native element and deprived of his habitual interests, he turned to it for compensation.

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