Iron is one of the most important metalliferous ores used globally for construction, the automobile industry, and a number of other commodities. Most iron ore is found in Precambrian-banded iron formations (BIFs), such as in the Hamersley Basin of Australia, and include finely layered sequences of sedimentary rocks with thin layers of iron oxide minerals, typically interlayered with chert or other silica-rich layers. most banded iron formations are Archean or Proterozoic in age, and many models suggest that they required special environmental conditions to form, including an oxygen-poor atmosphere, and a setting in which submarine volcanic eruptions were able to help transport the iron to seafloor settings where it was deposited. many of these deposits were later weathered so that the magnetite in the original deposits was altered by oxidation to hematite, a form of iron more easily mined and used by the steel industry.

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