Barite is a mineral composed of barium sulfate (BaSO4). It receives its name from the Greek word “barys” which means “heavy.” … Barite Rose: This “barite rose” is a cluster of bladed barite crystals that have grown in sand, incorporating many of the sand grains within each crystal.
Barite is generally easy to identify. It is one of just a few nonmetallic minerals with a specific gravity of four or higher.
Combine that with its low Mohs hardness (2.5 to 3.5) and its three directions of right-angle cleavage, and the mineral can usually be reliably identified with just three observations.
Physical Properties of Barite
|Color||Colorless, white, light blue, light yellow, light red, light green|
|Luster||Vitreous to pearly|
|Diaphaneity||Transparent to translucent|
|Cleavage||Very good, basal, prismatic|
|Mohs Hardness||2.5 to 3.5|
|Diagnostic Properties||High specific gravity, three cleavage directions at right angles|
|Chemical Composition||Barium sulfate, BaSO4|
|Uses||Drilling mud; high-density filler for paper, rubber, plastics|
Most barite produced is used as a weighting agent in drilling muds. This is what 99% of the barite consumed in the United States is used for.
These high-density muds are pumped down the drill stem, exit through the cutting bit and return to the surface between the drill stem and the wall of the well.
This flow of fluid does two things: 1) it 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 also used as a pigment in paints and as a weighted filler for paper, cloth, and rubber. The paper used to make some playing cards has barite packed between the paper fibers.
This gives the paper a very high density that allows the cards to be “dealt” easily to players around a card table. Barite is used as a weighting filler in rubber to make “anti-sail” mudflaps for trucks.