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Naquadah is the most prized mineral in the galaxy. Both the Ancients (who built the network of Stargates) and the Goa'uld (who exploit the network) used naquadah in the creation of their advanced technology.

The Ancients made the first practical application of the mineral with the creation of their network of interplanetary Stargates, constructed from refined naquadah ore, similar to quartz. Naquadah is a stable mineral, capable of many applications and uses, including the creation of weapons of mass destruction and the generation of seemingly limitless amounts of clean energy. In its refined state, a Stargate's naquadah only reacts with neutrinos – an electrically neutral particle – converting and storing energy as a large superconductor. Neutrinos are not affected by the electromagnetic forces that act on electrons and thus able to pass through great distances and through matter without noticeable effect. This energy is stored within a crystal lattice structure built into each Stargate.

Most Asgard energy sources stem from naquadah fusion-reactors which power their formidable motherships and hyper-space drives. The Asgard have constant dependable sources of naquadah within their home systems in the galaxy of Ida. The Asgard flagship 'O'Neill' – destroyed in battle with the Replicators – was constructed of a naquadah-trinium-carbon alloy which would have made it the most advanced design in the galaxy (4.01 "Small Victories").

The Goa'uld eventually discovered the mineral's potential and absorbed it into their technology. It is a staple of many of their devices and a cornerstone of their powerbase. Worlds rich with naquadah - such as Abydos - are therefore highly prized.

Naquadah is used to power all Goa'uld devices, providing an efficient source of energy. Jaffa staff and other weapons, Goa'uld motherships and other space vessels, communications and sarcophagi are all powered by naquadah. It is even found in the bloodstream of the Goa'uld, though it is not known how it came to be part of the symbiote genetic make-up. In excavations conducted by Dr. Daniel Jackson and Dr. Robert Rothman on P3X-888, the homeworld on which the primordial Goa'uld evolved, symbiotes survive to the present day and none have naquadah in their blood.

Those taken as hosts by Goa'uld symbiotes absorb some of the naquadah into their bloodstream. The presence of naquadah in the blood is the key which unlocks the most vital Goa'uld technology, including the controls of a mothership, and both the ribbon and healing devices. The energy contained within the mineral is tremendous: portable naquadah reactors can power cities (3.05 "Learning Curve" and 4.09 "Scorched Earth") and also construct explosives of terrible destructive power (4.09 "Scorched Earth" and 4.15 "Chain Reaction"). Allied with the host body's bio-electrical impulses, the energy contained within the naquadah in the bloodstream of host and symbiote renders these Goa'uld devices operable when touched (2.01 "The Serpent's Lair" and 2.06 "Thor's Chariot").

Goa'uld can detect the presence of naquadah within a host body. Hathor (3.01 "Into The Fire") and Seth (3.02 "Seth") both detected that Samantha Carter had been taken as a host. It can also be sensed within the Stargate itself. Hathor was drawn to the Stargate even though it was buried beneath Cheyenne Mountain (1.14 "Hathor").

Those taken as hosts by Goa'uld symbiotes absorb some of the naquadah into their bloodstream and even if freed from the parasite, retain the ability to sense that presence in others. This was first demonstrated by the orphaned Cassandra Fraiser, who sensed the Tok'ra symbiote Jolinar of Malkshur within Samantha Carter (1.02 "In The Line Of Duty") some time after a naquadah bomb constructed within her body by the System Lord Nirrti decayed and was absorbed into her bloodstream. Carter too has sensed the presense of naquadah within other beings. (2.05 "Need" and 5.08 "The Tomb")

Thus, the Goa'uld dependency on naquadah has become an inextricable part of their physiology and genetic makeup.

Col. Samantha Carter is Earth's foremost expert on the technological applications of naquadah. Working with the young Orbanian scientist Merrin, Carter developed the first Earth device powered by the mineral: a naquadah reactor. (3.05 "Learning Curve") Over time, Carter has perfected the design of the reactor to be an extremely portable as well as powerful power device. However, she has also been instrumental in more destructive experiments, firstly in overloading the reactor to make a bomb (4.09 "Scorched Earth") and secondly in enhancing the payload of a nuclear warhead (4.15 "Chain Reaction"). Naquadah has also made it possible for the United States Air Force to construct its first interstellar starship, the X-303, named Prometheus.

Stargate: the Movie

The Stargate was constructed of a mineral unlike any found on Earth. When the US Air Force team led by Col. Jack O'Neill and Dr. Daniel Jackson went through the Stargate to the world of Abydos, they discovered the entire indigenous slave population working a vast, and by Earth standards, primitive mine. Geological scans determined that the material the Abydonian people were mining was the same as that used to construct the Stargate.

Abydos was the principal world of the Supreme System Lord Ra. It may be deduced that much of his power over his fellow Goa'uld was derived from his control over vast deposits of this mineral.


Hathor is apprehended by the SGC's security forces attempting to penetrate Cheyenne Mountain: she knows the Stargate is there. Questioned by General Hammond, Col. Jack O'Neill and Dr. Daniel Jackson, she reveals that she was "drawn" to the Stargate. Or rather, to the naquadah it was constructed from. She confirms that access to the Stargate network was what gave Ra his power among the System Lords.


Cassandra is the only survivor of a bioweapon used by the System Lord Nirrti to wipe out the people of Hanka. Rescued by SG-1, she is brought back to the SGC where Dr. Janet Fraiser finds traces of naquadah in her blood. When Cassandra collapses with a marked potassium deficiency and pain in her chest, the medical team discover an odd mechanical pump-like sound in her heart. X-Ray reveals a device which had not been present only hours earlier. Capt. Samantha Carter contacts a microscopic particle of iron and potassium with naquadah. The result is a massive nuclear explosion. A similar biochemical reaction is occurring with Cassandra as the fatty layer separating the two sides of the device decays. The resultant explosion would be a million times more powerful. Deducing that the device would be triggered by taking Cassandra through the Stargate, SG-1 instead transport her to an abandoned nuclear facility. Safely away from the Stargate, the bomb dissipates and the naquadah is reabsorbed into Cassandra's system.

In The Line Of Duty

Capt. Samantha Carter is possessed by the Tok'ra symbiote Jolinar of Malkshur. Cassandra Fraiser, the Hankan orphan adopted by Dr. Janet Fraiser, is the first to sense something is wrong with Carter when the two meet up in Fraiser's office. Cassandra insists to Col. Jack O'Neill that Carter is a Goa'uld. It is the naquadah now within Carter that Cassandra can sense.


On P3R-636, SG-1 observe as a shipment of mineral Teal'c believes to be naquadah is ceremonially despatched through the Stargate. Though SG-3 had previously discovered a small sample of the mineral previously, Carter reminds O'Neill of its importance to Stargate Command. Tailing the procession, SG-1 become entangled with Princess Shyla as she attempts suicide and are captured when Dr. Daniel Jackson rescues her. Shyla's father Pyrus sentences SG-1 to labour in his naquadah mines.

Duplicating Cassandra's ability to sense naquadah within others, Carter reveals that she senses no 'presence' within Pyrus or any of his so-called 'Jaffa' guards. They are all human, though Pyrus has used the sarcophagus technology to prolong his life and rule for more than 700 years. Periodically, they send shipments of naquadah through the Stargate in order to fool the Goa'uld into leaving their world in peace.

After being injured, it is through Shyla's manipulations that Daniel becomes addicted to the narcotic effects of the sarcophagus. Ultimately he and his friends are freed, taking back a sample of the precious naquadah with them, because Shyla believes Daniel will be forced to return to her or die from his withdrawal.

Out Of Mind

When SG-1 are taken prisoner by Hathor, they are revived from cryogenic suspended animation, convinced that they are 70 years into their own future and interrogated. As Carter has naquadah in her blood and can sense its presence within others, she is kept more dosed than either O'Neill or Daniel.

Into The Fire

Hathor senses from the naquadah particles in Carter's bloodstream that since their last meeting, she has been host to a Goa'uld.

Learning Curve

In an exchange of knowledge between the SGC and the people of Orban, the young scientist Merrin presents Carter with an advanced naquadah reactor to study. With the aid of cross-sections Merrin draws of the reactor, Carter is able to begin construction of a clean, powerful and portable generator.


Carter proves resistant to anaesthesia as a result of the naquadah in her blood.

The First Ones

In an excavation on P3X-888, Dr. Daniel Jackson and Dr. Robert Rothman discover the fossilised remains of primordial predatory Goa'uld and deduce this is the world where the parasites evolved. They test the fossils for the presence of naquadah and find none, concluding that it must have become part of the Goa'uld genetic makeup later in their evolution. As Carter cannot sense the presence of the Goa'uld teeming in the bodies of water on P3X-888, it appears the aboriginal symbiotes do not have naquadah in their blood in the present day. The Goa'uld who have become the dominant parasitical species in our galaxy had the mineral introduced into their genetic makeup after leaving P3X-888.

Scorched Earth

The SGC provides a working naquadah generator to the Enkarans, giving them heat and power as they struggle to establish themselves on a new world. When a technologically advanced alien ship begins terraforming the planet and threatening the Enkarans' survival, O'Neill orders Carter to make the reactor into a bomb. She theorises that if she creates a feedback loop, the energy would build up instead of being released as intended, creating a massive explosion.

Chain Reaction

Carter has made progress on her research into naquadah reactors: large-scale application is theoretical but the mineral has incredible potential as an alternative power source. General Bauer, Hammond's replacement at the SGC, is more interested in the ability of naquadah to increase the explosive effect of nuclear ordinance. When weapons grade naquadah is obtained, Carter must enhance a nuclear warhead in order to determine the destructive capabilities of naquadah.

She is shocked and furious when Daniel discovers that the planet chosen to conduct the weapons test has an old Goa'uld mine and thus naquadah present in its soil which would cause a chain reaction and possibly destroy the entire planet. For Bauer, this is the point: Goa'uld occupied worlds tend to have significant levels of naquadah and this could prove a very effective weapon against them.

Carter warns that the effects of the chain reaction could be translated back through the wormhole to the SGC. The explosion caused by the naquadah chain reaction is immense and as predicted, the Stargate does not disconnect. Ultra-high frequency gamma radiation bombards the gate room, slowed only by closing the iris. Even destroying the SGC and Cheyenne Mountain would not be enough to stop the Stargate pumping through radiation from what Carter theorises to be the test world reduced to a ball of super-heated plasma capable of powering the Stargate for months.

Earth is saved only by the 38-minute window: the longest period for which a wormhole may remain engaged.

The Tomb

Carter and Teal'c are able to sense the presence of the Goa'uld symbiote Marduk when SG-1 and a Russian team are trapped with it inside an ancient ziggurat.

Desperate Measures

A kidnapped Carter proves resistant to anaesthesia and unusually strong for a human, a legacy of the naquadah in her bloodstream.


When Earth is threatened with destruction by a giant asteroid on a collision course, it is revealed that the experiment Bauer forced Carter to conduct was not in vain. The SGC's response is to despatch SG-1 in a captured Goa'uld cargo vessel to destroy the asteroid with a 1200 megaton naquadah-enhanced nuclear warhead. It's the most powerful warhead ever created, the equivalent of 1 billion tons of TNT.

The cargo vessel's final approach to the asteroid proves to be faster than expected leading Carter to discover its gravity field is far stronger than it should be. The core of the asteroid is made of something denser than nickel and iron: naquadah, 45% of its total mass. As naquadah does not occur naturally in Earth's solar system, SG-1 realise that the asteroid is not a natural phenomenon but a Goa'uld set-up.

By simulating a natural disaster, the attacking Goa'uld could circumvent the Asgard Protected Planets Treaty shielding Earth. The naquadah-enhanced explosion resulting from SG-1's deployment of the nuclear weapon would have the force of a small nova, setting Earth's atmosphere on fire and boiling the oceans.

SG-1's radio signals can't penetrate that much solid naquadah.

Daniel's solution to this problem is ingenious: a hyper-space jump through the Earth, towing the asteroid along with the cargo ship.


On Kelowna, SG-1 learn of the existence of naquadria, a highly unstable, intensely radioactive variant of naquadah with the potential for great bursts of energy. The Kelownans were using the naquadria to construct a bomb of similar destructive capability as a naquadah-enhanced nuclear warhead. After doing some calculations, Carter explains the incredible potential of naquadria:

CARTER: The potential's astronomical, sir. Even a very small amount of the unstable element they're working with emitted a pulse of energy far greater than anything I've ever believed possible. Much more than weapons grade naquadah would have. It would require a massive nuclear reaction to even approach this level.


CARTER: Sir, this could be the missing link we've been looking for in terms of generating the kind of energy I believe is necessary to create a hyperspace window. Or, to generate and sustain the kind of shields the Goa'uld have been using to protect their ships. Sir, we have to get some of this element.

When the bomb malfunctions, Dr. Daniel Jackson gives his life to save the Kelownans, going into the laboratory and exposing himself to a fatal dose of radiation to shut down the bomb. The Kelownan government blame him for the disaster and it is only through O'Neill's intervention to clear Daniel's name that Kelownan ethicist Jonas Quinn comes to the Earth seeking sanctuary, insight into the threat posed by the Goa'uld (a Goa'uld civilisation was destroyed on his world ironically through a catastrophic naquadria explosion) and bearing a small sample of the rare and precious naquadria which the SGC is seeking in order to build defence shields.


Master Bra'tac and Teal'c's son Ry'ac are recruiting rebel Jaffa working a naquadah refinery on Erebus when they are captured by the System Lord Ba'al's forces. Erebus is a death camp – Jaffa unwilling to serve Ba'al are literally worked to death there, slaving on the construction of a Ha'tak mothership. Only Jaffa prisoner labour is used to purify the naquadah, as they are the only ones who can stand the intense heat and toxic gases of the blast furnaces fed by underground volcanic systems. Eventually even the Jaffa succumb.

Enemy Mine

On P3X-403, the SG-11 survey team headed by Colonel Edwards discovers a naquadah mine that could yield enough of the rare, off-world mineral to build numerous X-303 interstellar battle cruisers like the Prometheus. The loss of one of his men prompts him to send for SG-1 and SG-3. Dr. Daniel Jackson finds artefacts suggesting the presence of Unas and he is proven correct when the SG teams clash with a large, aggressive clan. With the aid of the Unas Chaka, Daniel communicates with Iron Shirt, leader of the Unas clan, discovering that the mine is sacred to them. However, the mine is viable, with the potential to yield 53,000 metric tons of naquadah.

When Iron Shirt is revealed to be the leader of an enormous population of Unas, the Pentagon's plan to forcibly relocate them is aborted. Facing imminent massacre, Daniel negotiates with Iron Shirt: the Unas will work the mine in which their ancestors died for naquadah which the SGC will use to build weapons and ships to destroy the Goa'uld, their enslavers and common enemy.


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