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Barite: Barite from emperors Creek, south Carolina. Specimen is roughly 4 inches (10 centimeters) across.

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What is Barite?

Barite is a mineral composed of barium sulfate (BaSO4). It receives its name from the Greek native "barys" which means "heavy." This surname is in solution to barite"s high particular gravity of 4.5, i m sorry is superior for a nonmetallic mineral. The high certain gravity the barite makes it perfect for a wide selection of industrial, medical, and manufacturing uses. Barite likewise serves together the major ore of barium.


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Barite Rose: This "barite rose" is a cluster of bladed barite crystals that have actually grown in sand, incorporating countless of the sand seed within each crystal. Specimen and also photo by Arkenstone / www.iRocks.com.


Barite Occurrence

Barite frequently occurs together concretions and void-filling crystals in sediments and also sedimentary rocks. That is especiallycommon together concretions and also vein filling in limestone and also dolostone. Wherein these carbonate rock units have actually been heavily weathered, big accumulations the barite are sometimes uncovered at the soil-bedrock contact. Plenty of of the commercial barite mines create from this residual deposits.

Barite is additionally found as concretions in sand and also sandstone. These concretions grow as barite crystallizes in ~ the interstitial spaces between sand grains. Periodically crystals the barite flourish into exciting shapes within the sand. These frameworks are known as "barite roses" (see photo). They deserve to be increase to number of inches in length and also incorporate large numbers that sand grains. Occasionally barite is so plentiful in a sandstone the it serves together the "cement" for the rock.

Barite is likewise a typical mineral in hydrothermal veins and also is a gangue mineral connected with sulfide ore veins. It is found in association with ores of antimony, cobalt, copper, lead, manganese, and also silver.In a few locations barite is deposited together a sinter at hot springs.


Physical properties of Barite
Chemical Classification Sulfate
Color Colorless, white, light blue, irradiate yellow, light red, light green
Streak White
Luster Vitreous come pearly
Diaphaneity Transparent to translucent
Cleavage Very good, basal, prismatic
Mohs Hardness 2.5 come 3.5
Specific Gravity 4.5
Diagnostic Properties High specific gravity, 3 cleavage directions at right angles
Chemical Composition Barium sulfate, BaSO4
Crystal System Orthorhombic
Uses Drilling mud; high-density filler because that paper, rubber, plastics

Physical nature of Barite

Barite is generally easy to identify. It is among just a couple of nonmetallic minerals through a specific gravity of 4 or higher. Incorporate that with its low Mohs hardness (2.5 come 3.5) and its three directions of right-angle cleavage, and also the mineral deserve to usually it is in reliably identified with simply three observations.

In the classroom, students frequently have an obstacle identifying specimens of enormous barite v fine-grained crystals. Lock look in ~ the specimen, check out the sugary appearance, appropriately attribute it come cleavage, and apply a fall of dilute hydrochloric acid. The mineral effervesces and they think the they have calcite or a piece of marble. The problem is that the effervescence is caused by contamination. The students tested the hardness that the barite through a piece of calcite from your hardness kit. Or the specimen that barite have the right to naturally contain calcite. However, any student who tests the details gravity will find that calcite or marble are incorrect identifications.

Barite is additionally a an excellent mineral to use as soon as teaching about particular gravity. Offer students several white mineral specimens that are about the very same size (we indicate calcite, quartz, barite, talc, gypsum). Students should be able to easily determine barite utilizing the "heft test" (placing Specimen "A" in their ideal hand and Specimen "B" in your left hand and "hefting" the specimens to determine which one is heaviest). Student in third or fourth grade are capable of using the heft test to recognize barite.


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Barite native Canada: Barite indigenous Madoc, Ontario, Canada. Specimen is roughly 4 inch (10 centimeters) across.

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Uses that Barite

Most barite developed is supplied as a weighting agent in drilling muds. This is what 99% of the barite spend in the United states is provided for. This high-density muds room pumped down the drill stem, leave through the cutting bit and also return to the surface between the drill stem and the wall of the well. This flow of fluid does 2 things: 1) that cools the drill bit; and, 2) the high-density barite mud suspends the rock cuttings produced by the drill and carries them up to the surface.


Barite is additionally used together a colors in paints and also as a load filler for paper, cloth and rubber. The record used come makesome play cards has actually barite packed in between the paper fibers. This offers the record a an extremely high density that enables thecards to be "dealt" easily to players approximately a card table. Barite is offered as a weighting filler in rubber to make "anti-sail" mudflaps for trucks.

Barite is the primary ore of barium, i m sorry is offered to do a wide range of barium compounds. Few of these areused because that x-ray shielding. Barite has the capacity to block x-ray and gamma-ray emissions. Barite is provided to makehigh-density concrete come block x-ray emissions in hospitals, power plants, and laboratories.

Barite link are likewise used in diagnostic medical tests. If a patient drink a little cup of liquid that contains a barium flour in a milk shake consistency, the liquid will certainly coat the patient"s esophagus. An x-ray of the throat taken immediately after the "barium swallow" will photo the soft organization of the stomach (which is generally transparent to x-rays) because the barium is opaque come x-rays and also blocks their passage. A "barium enema" can be provided in a similar way to picture the shape of the colon.


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Barite from Australia: Barite native Edith River, northern Territory, Australia. Specimen is approximately 2 inch (5 centimeters) across.

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Barite from Utah: Barite from Mercur, Utah. Specimen is roughly 4 inch (10 centimeters) across.


Barite Production

2015 Barite Production
Country Thousand Metric Tons
China 3,000
India 900
Iran 300
Kazakhstan 300
Mexico 220
Morocco 900
Pakistan 120
Peru 100
Thailand 130
Turkey 200
Vietnam 90
United States 700
Other Countries 500
Barite manufacturing is from the USGS Mineral Commodity Summary.

The oil and also gas sector is the main user of barite worldwide. Over there it is offered as a weighting agent in drilling mud. This is a expansion industry, as an international demand for oil and natural gas has been ~ above a permanent increase. In addition, the long-term drilling trend is much more feet that drilling per barrel that oil produced.

This has caused the price that barite come increase. Price levels throughout 2012 were in between 10% and 20% greater than 2011 in plenty of important markets. The usual price that drilling mud barite is about $150 every metric ton in ~ the mine.

Substitutes because that barite in drilling mud encompass celestite, ilmenite, stole ore, and also synthetic hematite. None of this substitutes have actually been reliable at displacing barite in any kind of majormarket area. They are too high value or perform not do competitively.

China and India are the leading producers of barite, and they also have the largest reserves.The United says does not create enough barite to supply its residential needs. In 2011 theUnited states produced about 700,000 metric loads of barite and imported about 2,300,000 metric tons.


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