I believe you have to rub two very specific
materials together to produce sparks to make fire.
One of the materials has to be flint, a kind of
mineral quartz, and the other material has to
contain iron (it could be some other kind of rock
or steel). When we strike flint quickly across the
iron-containing material, it exposes fresh
un-oxidized iron and the friction induced by the
action results in heating of the material above
its ignition temperature. If oxygen is present
(which it is in the atmosphere), then this
produces sparks. These sparks can be used to
ignite tinder to get a fire going.
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