Barium Sulfate BaSO4

Barite is a sulfate mineral with a chemical formula of BaSO4, sometimes called heavy spar. Its chemical name is barium sulfate. It is the primary source of the element barium.

It is soft 3.5 on the Mohs scale and surprisingly heavy.

Barium sulfate crystallizes in the orthorhombic system in tabular or prismatic form. It can be white, yellow, blue, red, brown, and clear. It has a white streak.

It is formed in hydrothermal veins often found with copper, silver, and lead ores. It is also associated with limestone.

The desert rose popular with mineral collectors is made up of tabular barite crystals.

This mineral has many uses, from the manufacture of paints, cooling the bits in oil drilling operations, and because it is opaque to x-rays it has medical applications.

Barite is widespread in occurrence. The Czech Republic is noted for its large and beautiful crystals. In the U.S. yellow crystals are found in South Dakota, blue crystals in Colorado and colorless crystals from California.

Mineral Properties
Chemical formula: Barium Sulfate BaSO4
Color(s): colorless, white, yellow,gray, red, blue, brown
Streak: white
Luster: vitreous, greasy
Transparency: transparent to translucent
Crystal system: orthorhombic
Specific Gravity: 4.4
Hardness (Mohs): 3-3.5
Cleavage: very good
Fracture: conchoidal
Uses: medical applications, used in paints, oil drilling lubricants
Location: Barite is widespread in occurrence.

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