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Mercury was once commonly known as "quicksilver," due to its appearance.

Mercury is a chemical element with the symbol "Hg" and atomic number 80 on the periodic table. It is a heavy metal that was liquid under standard temperature and pressure.

Compared to other metals, it is a poor conductor of heat, but a fair conductor of electricity. It has a freezing point of −38.83 °C and a boiling point of 356.73 °C. Solid mercury is malleable and ductile and can be cut with a knife.
Mercury does not react with most acids. Like silver, mercury reacts with atmospheric hydrogen sulfide. It dissolves many metals such as gold and silver, and iron flasks have traditionally been used to trade mercury.

Once used commonly on Earth in barometers, fluorescent lamps, and scientific equipment, concerns about the element's toxicity led to its use being phased out in favor of safer alternatives.

Mercury poisoning can result from exposure to water-soluble forms of mercury, by inhalation of mercury vapor, or by ingesting any form of mercury.

On Earth, mercury occurs in deposits throughout the planet mostly as "cinnabar" (mercuric sulfide).