Lodestones are rocks that are magnetized. They are made of Magnetite , a type of iron ore. Magnetite itself is not necessarily magnetic. A piece of magnetite that is magnetic qualifies as a lodestone.
For a piece of magnetite to become magnetized it must be exposed to a magnetic field. The weak magnetic field of the earth is not strong enough so another source must be looked to. One way it may occur is by lighting strikes on magnetite causing the magnetite particles to align in the right way to produce a magnetic field.
The first compasses were made over 2000 years ago using lodestones. If a long piece of lodestone is freely suspended it will rotate until it lines up with the Earth's poles. Early navigators were able to use lodestones to help them find their way.
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