Reference work entry
The composition of barite is BaSO 4, and it is a sulphate mineral. It crystallises in an orthorhombic crystal system and always forms very large crystals. It can also form small sand-containing rosette nodules that are called ‘Desert Rose’. Its aggregates can be granular, platy, fibrous, coxcomb, earthy or prismatic. It can be colourless, white, grey, light yellow, brown, light red, light blue or light green. It has a vitreous, resinous or pearly lustre, a specific gravity of 4.5, a Mohs hardness of 3–3.5, and uneven fractures. It mainly forms in hydrothermal or sedimentary ore deposits. Barite is widely used in the petroleum, chemical products, rubber-making, paper-making, ceramics, enamel, glass, leather-making and sugar refining industries. It is also used for the extraction of the metal barium (Fig. 8).
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