Magnesium fire-starting tool

Magnesium fire-starting tool

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Magnesium fire-starting tool. This device consists of a toothed steel blade (dark) chained to a block (grey) of the alkaline earth metal magnesium (Mg). Embedded in the magnesium is a strip of flint. The steel blade is used to shave off flakes of magnesium, and then to strike a spark off the flint to ignite the magnesium. Solid blocks of magnesium won't ignite, but small slivers will. This equipment is typically found in emergency survival kits to help people start fires to keep warm and cook food.

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