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The initiation and growth of iron metal dusting in CO-H2-H2O gas mixtures at 700 °C were investigated by surface observations of very early stages of the reaction. At first, iron was supersaturated with dissolved carbon and its surface became facetted. The nucleation of graphite and cementite depended on the surface crystallographic orientation. A fine grain structure at ground surfaces and a high carbon activity accelerated cementite nucleation. Further carburisation resulted in the formation of particulate areas mixed with deposited graphite, which accelerated the spallation of cementite and the protrusion of round particles. In some areas, large graphite mounds and bulk graphite were formed on the surface. Filamentous carbon was found in particulate areas and surrounding the graphite mounds. Based on these observations, a possible process of iron metal dusting was discussed.