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Its immediate decay product is the dense radioactive noble gas radon, which is responsible for much of the danger of environmental radium.
A sample of radium metal maintains itself at a higher temperature than its surroundings because of the radiation it emits – alpha particles, beta particles, and gamma rays.
One ton of pitchblende typically yields about one seventh of a gram of radium.
Uranium had no large scale application in the late 19th century and therefore no large uranium mines existed.
Radium, in the form of radium chloride, was discovered by Marie and Pierre Curie in 1898.
Currently, other than its use in nuclear medicine, radium has no commercial applications; formerly, it was used as a radioactive source for radioluminescent devices and also in radioactive quackery for its supposed curative powers.
Today, these former applications are no longer in vogue because radium's toxicity has since become known, and less dangerous isotopes are used instead in radioluminescent devices.
More specifically, natural radium (which is mostly All isotopes of radium have half-lives much shorter than the age of the Earth, so that any primordial radium would have decayed long ago.
Radium nevertheless still occurs in the environment, as the isotopes Thus, radium is found in tiny quantities in the uranium ore uraninite and various other uranium minerals, and in even tinier quantities in thorium minerals.
In the beginning the only large source for uranium ore was the silver mines in Joachimsthal, Austria-Hungary (now Jáchymov, Czech Republic).