Barite

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Barite (1).jpg
Barite, Wood County, Ohio; N 5733

The name barite comes from a Greek word meaning heavy. This refers to its relatively high specific gravity (see below), a characteristic that helps in distinguishing barite from other similar minerals such as calcite, fluorite and celestite. In natural settings, barite frequently replaces other minerals such as celestite. Also, it sometimes replaces organic materials such as wood, shells and fossils. As an ore, barite is the primary source of barium. Barite also is used in the manufacture of paper, paint and glass, in medical radiology, and in drilling oil wells.

Facts

Chemical composition:Barium sulfate (BaSO4)
Mineral class:Sulfates
Crystallization:Orthorhombic
Crystal habit:Commonly, with bladed crystals and tabular crystals most common; but may be massive
Specific gravity:4.3 - 4.6
Hardness:3 - 3.5
Color:Variable, frequently colorless or white; also brown, yellow, blue, green or tints of red.
Transparency:Crystals Transparent to translucent.
Luster:Vitreous
Streak:White
Occurence:<img height="172" width="195" src="images/naturalHistory/minerals/baritemap.gif" alt="Image of barite occurence" title="Image of barite occurence" />

Barite occurs widely in Australia, Europe, Africa and North America. It has been found in 26 of Ohio's counties. In the northwestern and southwestern parts of the state crystalline or granular barite may be found in cavities and fractures of dolostones . Sometimes these deposits are associated with calcite or other minerals. In the black shales of central and eastern Ohio, barite is found in concretions such as limestone, ironstone and pyrite.

Resources

  • Carlson, Ernest H., ed. Minerals of Ohio; Ohio Division of Geological Survey, Columbus, OH; Bulletin 69; 1991.
  • Pough, Frederick H. A Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals; Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA; 1976.
  • Sorrell, Charles A. Rocks and Minerals; Golden Press, New York, NY; 1973.

See Also