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Sulfur is usually produced near volcano sulfur vents or hot springs. It has a distinctive sulfurous smell and appears yellow in color with white striations. Sulfur is usually semi-transparent and brittle with a hardness of 1.5 ~ 2.5 and specific gravity between 2.05 and 2.09. Sulfur is a poor conductor of heat and electricity. It has a low melting point, is inflammable and produces poisonous sulfur dioxide gas when burnt. Sulfur does not tend to retain its original state after it forms on the surface of the Earth and easily combines with other metals.

Sulfur has a wide variety of applications and was used in ancient China for medicine, pesticides, sterilization and making gunpowder. Sulfur and sulfur dioxide is widely used in the manufacturing of many everyday items and is critical in industrial development. 

Mineral Formation
(1) forms mainly near volcano mouths and hot springs through volcanic sublimation, the process where sulfur crystallizes directly out of sulfur gas.
(2) As a breakdown product of metal sulfides in sulfide deposits' oxidation zone. 
Geographic Distribution
(1) Near sulfur gas vents in the Datun Volcano range and Gueishan Island.
(2) In gold-copper veins at Jinguashih.
(3) In crystallized limestone on the eastern slopes of the Central Range.
Mining History
When Spain occupied northern Taiwan between 1626 and 1642 it mined sulfur near what is today Jinshan and Sanchongchiao. In 1697, the Chinese mining of sulfur in Taiwan began when Yu Yong-he was dispatched from China. Sulfur mining was carried out around the Dahuanjuei (Sulfur Valley) area. Yu Yong-he's sulfur mining activities are commemorated by a stele for "Sulfur Mining by Yu Yong-he during the Manchu Dynasty" at the entrance of the Longfong Valley visitor center. After the Yu Yong-he expedition, the frequency of illegal sulfur mining to make gunpowder for private use led to Emperor Kangxi ordering a ban on sulfur mining during the 1860's. Sulfur mining did not resume until 1887 when Liu Ming-chuan was appointed the provincial magistrate of Taiwan. Liu proposed a government monopoly on sulfur mining and set up a Directorate-General of Sulfur Mining in Taipei.

During the Japanese colonial period, licenses were issued to private companies for sulfur mining. The British company Tait & Co., with rights to Dayoukeng, was the largest producer. After World War II the mining of sulfur was suspended at one point because its high price and low quality could not compete against sulfur from the U.S. and Japan. Sulfur production in Taiwan did not resume until the outbreak of the Korean War. In 1952, declining international sulfur prices meant that Taiwanese sulfur with its higher production costs could not compete against imported sulfur so mining gradually petered out in 1970. When the Yangmingshan National Park was set up in 1985 sulfur mining was banned within the park boundaries. Today, sulfur production in Taiwan is a byproduct of oil refining. 
In 1945 sulfur production totaled 35 tonnes per year. In 1982 it was 20,080 tonnes and in 1991 it was 125,819 tonnes.

In 2005, annual sulfur production was 267,790 tonnes and in 2006 it was 245,789 tonnes. 
(1) Main raw material for making hydrochloric acid.
(2) Can be used in making paper, leather making and agriculture. Sulfur is also used for making antiseptics, pesticides, fumigation agents and medication for treating skin diseases.
(3) Mixed with saltpeter and carbon for making matches and explosives.
(4) Used in rubber vulcanization to improve its strength, hardness and elasticity.

National Museum of Natural Science