AskDefine | Define barite

Dictionary Definition

barite n : a white or colorless mineral (BaSO4); the main source of barium [syn: heavy spar, barytes, barium sulphate]

User Contributed Dictionary



From Greek βἀρος "weight".


  1. A mineral, barium sulphate, with the chemical formula BaSO4.

Derived terms


a mineral
  • Croatian: barit

See also


Extensive Definition

Baryte (BaSO4) is a mineral consisting of barium sulfate. It is generally white or colorless, and is the main source of barium. Barite is the unofficial American spelling. The mineral is also called heavy spar or tiff. The radiating form, sometimes referred to as Bologna Stone, attained some notoriety among alchemists for the phosphorescent specimens found in the 1600s near Bologna, Italy by one Mr. Vincenzo Cascariolo. Its Mohs hardness is 3, the refractive index is 1.63 and it has a specific gravity of 4.3-5. Its crystal structure is orthorhombic.
Baryte 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.
The name baryte is derived from the Greek word βαρύς (heavy). In commerce, the mineral is sometimes referred to as "barytes." When the International Mineralogical Association formed in 1959 the American spelling "barite" was chosen as the official over the older "baryte". This decision was reversed in 1978. The term "primary baryte" refers to the first marketable product, which includes crude baryte (run of mine) and the products of simple beneficiation methods, such as washing, jigging, heavy media separation, tabling, flotation, and magnetic separation. Most crude baryte requires some upgrading to minimum purity or density. Baryte that is used as an aggregate in a "heavy" cement is crushed and screened to a uniform size. Most baryte is ground to a small, uniform size before it is used as a filler or extender, an addition to industrial products, or a weighting agent in petroleum well drilling mud.
The worldwide oil field barytes market is currently faced with shortages of API grade baryte. The specification for oil field barytes is a minimum density of 4.2 specific gravity. When drilling wells with a lower specific gravity barytes causes the addition of unwanted solids to be added to the drilling fluid system. This causes slower penetration rates and creates many problems with the drilling fluid.
There have been very few new discoveries of high grade barytes deposits throughout the world. Currently there is one company working on a large deposit in Mexico that may relieve the supply issues for the North and South American markets (Blackfire Exploration Ltd). The problem is it takes many years to bring a deposit from discovery to production. The worldwide oil industry will have to adjust to the rising costs of barytes as the demand grows and the supply decreases.
Baryte is used in the manufacture of paints and paper. Although baryte contains a "heavy" metal (barium), it is not considered to be a toxic chemical by most governments because of its extreme insolubility.


barite in Bosnian: Barit
barite in Catalan: Baritina
barite in Czech: Baryt
barite in German: Baryt
barite in Spanish: Baritina
barite in French: Barite
barite in Galician: Barita
barite in Icelandic: Barít
barite in Italian: Barite
barite in Hebrew: בריט
barite in Lithuanian: Baritas
barite in Hungarian: Barit
barite in Japanese: 重晶石
barite in Polish: Baryt
barite in Portuguese: Barita
barite in Romanian: Baritină
barite in Russian: Барит
barite in Slovak: Barit
barite in Slovenian: Barit
barite in Serbian: Барит
barite in Swedish: Baryt
barite in Turkish: Barit
barite in Ukrainian: Барит
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