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Mercury, or quicksilver, is a dense, silvery chemical element named after the Roman god of commerce and trading. It has fascinated humans for centuries, in part because it is something of an oddity—it is the only metal that remains a liquid at body temperature. Its abbreviation in the periodic table, Hg, is derived from its Greek name, hydrargyrum, which means “water silver.” In German, mercury is called Quecksilber, while in French it is known as mercure, from which the English word is derived.

Mercury is most commonly found in a reddish ore called cinnabar. When the ore is heated, the mercury liquefies and oozes out of the crevices of the cinnabar. The world's largest deposit of cinnabar was located in southwestern Spain in a mine named ...

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