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Formula: BaSO4
System: Orthorhombic Colour: Colourless, white
Lustre: Vitreous, Pearly Hardness: 3 - 3½
Name: Named from the Greek βάρος, weight, for Barite; and βάρσς, heavy,
for Barytes, due to its unusual heaviness for a non-metallic mineral.
Isostructural with: Anglesite

Baryte Group. Baryte-Celestine Series. The barium analogue of Celestine.

Typically found as thick to thin tabular crystals, usually in clusters with the
crystals growing parallel to one another, or nearly so. Also as bladed, white

Baryte, or barite, (BaSO4) is a mineral consisting of barium sulfate. The barite

group consists of baryte, celestite, anglesite and anhydrite. Baryte itself is
generally white or colorless, and is the main source of barium. Baryte and celestite
form a solid solution (Ba,Sr)SO4 together.

Names and history

The radiating form, sometimes referred to as Bologna Stone, attained some
notoriety among alchemists for the phosphorescent specimens found in the 1600s
near Bologna by Vincenzo Cascariolo.
The name baryte is derived from the Greek word βαρύς (heavy). The American
spelling barite is used by USGS and more often used in modern Scientific journals.
The International Mineralogical Association adopted "barite" as the official
spelling when it formed in 1959[citation needed], but recommended adopting the
older "baryte" spelling in 1978, notably ignored by the Mineralogical Society of
The American Petroleum Institute specification API 13/ISO 13500 which governs
baryte for drilling purposes does not refer to any specific mineral, but rather a
material that meets that specification, in practice this is usually the mineral baryte.
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 "heavy" cement is crushed and
screened to a uniform size. Most baryte is ground to a small, uniform size before it
is used as filler or extender, an addition to industrial products, or a weighting agent
in petroleum well drilling mud.

Other names
Baryte has gone by other names such as barytine, barytite, scbwerspath, barytes,
Heavy Spar, or tiff.

Mineral associations and locations

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. Baryte commonly occurs in lead-zinc veins in
limestone, in hot spring deposits, and with hematite ore, and in some meteorites. It
is often associated with the minerals anglesite and celestine. It has also been
identified in meteorites.
Baryte has been found in locations in Cheshire, Connecticut, De Kalb, New York,
Fort Wallace, New Mexico as well as quarried in Connecticut, Virginia, North
Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri in the USA. Outside of the
USA, localities include Baia Sprie, Romania, Westmoreland, Cornwell,
Cumberland, Derbyshire, and Surrey in the UK, and Barberton Mountain Land,
South Africa.

Some 77% worldwide is used as a weighting agent for drilling fluids in oil and gas
exploration. Other uses are in added-value applications which include the car,
electronics, TV screen, rubber, and glass ceramics and paint industry, radiation
shielding and medical applications (barium meals). Baryte is supplied in a variety
of forms and the price depends on the amount of processing; filler applications
commanding higher prices following intense physical processing by grinding and
micronising, and there are further premiums for whiteness and brightness and
color. Baryte is used in the manufacture of paints and paper.
Historically baryte was used for the production of barium hydroxide for sugar
refining, and as a white pigment for textiles, paper, and paint.
Although baryte contains a "heavy" metal (barium), it is not considered to be a
toxic chemical by most governments because of its extreme insolubility.