Alchemists used the metal magnesium in the form of ''magnesia alba'' (white magnesium), which was hydrated magnesium carbonate 4MgCO3.Mg(OH)2.5H2O) was magnesia alba levis, and MgCO3.Mg(OH)2.4H2O was magnesia alba ponderosa.The British chemist Joseph Black (1728 - 1799) distinguished quicklime (calcium oxide, CaO) from magnesia alba in 1755. Humphry Davy isolated the metal, with some impurities in 1808 using electrolysis. He named the metal "magnium".
Magnesium reacts with water to create an alkaline solution
Magnesium is found in sufficient quantities in sea water for this to be an important source for the metal. Magnesium is a common element within the crust of the earth . It is thought that Magnesium is abundant within the Earth''s mantle. Its occurrence within a class of minerals known as super-conductors, may mean it will have a wide range of future applications. It is believed that super-conductors will allow for further advances in microprocessor technology. This in turn is likely to have implications for energy demand such that devices will run more efficiently than is presently the case.