Baryte: Properties and Occurrence

Baryte or barite (BaSO4) is a mineral consisting of barium sulfate. It is well-known for its great range of colors and varied crystal habits. It is easily identifiable by its heavyweight since most similar minerals are much lighter. The baryte group consists of baryte, Celestine, anglesite, and anhydrite. It is generally white or colorless and is the main source of barium. Baryte and Celestine form a solid solution (Ba, Sr)SO4.

The radiating form sometimes referred to as Bologna Stone, attained some notoriety among alchemists for the phosphorescent specimens found in the 17th century near Bologna by Vincenzo Casciarolo.

General Information

  • Category: Sulfate mineral, barite group
  • Formula: BaSO4
  • Crystal system: Orthorhombic
  • Crystal class: Dipyramidal (mmm).

Properties

  • Color: Colorless, white, light shades of blue, yellow, grey, brown
  • Crystal habit: Tabular parallel to base, fibrous, nodular to massive
  • Fracture: Irregular/uneven
  • Tenacity: Brittle
  • Mohs scale hardness: 3-3.5
  • Luster: Vitreous, Pearly
  • Streak: White
  • Diaphaneity: transparent to opaque
  • Specific gravity: 4.3–5
  • Density: 4.48 g/cm3

Occurrence

Baryte occurs in a large number of depositional environments and is deposited through a large number of processes including biogenic, hydrothermal, and evaporation, among others. It occurs in various depositional environments being deposited through a number of processes like hydrothermal, biogenic, and evaporation. Its commonly occurs in lead-zinc veins in limestones, in hot spring deposits, and with hematite ore. It is often associated with the minerals anglesite and Celestine. It has also been identified in meteorites. Barite is commonly found in hot spring deposits and lead-zinc veins of limestone. It is frequently found along with hematite ore. This mineral has also been found in meteorites.

Baryte has been found at locations in Brazil, Nigeria, Canada, Chile, China, India, Pakistan, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Iran, Ireland, Liberia, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Romania (Baia Sprie), Turkey, South Africa (Barberton Mountain Land), Thailand, UK and in the US from Cheshire, Connecticut, De Kalb, New York and Fort Wallace, New Mexico. It is mined in Arkansas, Connecticut, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Nevada, and Missouri.

 

Information Source: