Baryte

baryte

foggite

witherite

pyrolusite

Images

Formula: Ba(SO4)
Sulphate
Specific gravity: 4.48
Hardness: 3 to 3½
Streak: White
Colour: Colourless, white, yellowish, reddish, blue
Solubility: Insoluble in water, hydrochloric and nitric acid; soluble in sulphuric acid if heated
Environments:

Carbonatites
Sedimentary environments
Metamorphic environments
Hydrothermal environments
Basaltic cavities

Baryte is a common and widely distributed mineral. It is a typical mineral in epithermal (low temperature) and mesothermal hydrothermal veins in metamorphic rocks and in limestone with calcite and associated with ores of silver, lead, copper, cobalt, manganese and antimony. It is also found as residual masses in clay overlying limestone. Also as concretions in sandstone. and other sedimentary rocks. In places acts as a cement in sandstone but it may also be found as lenses or replacement deposits in sedimentary rocks, both of primary and secondary origin.
Baryte precipitates with decreasing temperature from oxidised fluids with moderate salinities over a temperature range up to 300oC. At low salinities baryte becomes more soluble (retrograde solubility) above about 100oC (AofA).

Localities

The Two Mile and Three Mile deposits, Paddy's River, Paddys River District, Australian Capital Territory, Australia, are skarn deposits at the contact between granodiorite and volcanic rocks. Baryte is a primary sulphate that occurs in veinlets in dacite, and associated with sphalerite (AJM 22.1.38).

At the Mount Lyell Mines, Queenstown district, West Coast municipality, Tasmania, Australia, baryte is common, and often associated with hematite. Very well formed crystals of baryte are sometimes found in veins with quartz, dolomite, siderite, hematite and chalcopyrite; these crystals are formed very late in the paragenesis. A rarer habit is small sprays and rosettes of bladed crystals of baryte predating some of the quartz and dolomite (AJM 21.2.21).

At Bundoora, inner Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, baryte occurs in cavities in basalt associated with calcite (AJM 20.1.30).

At the Mount Deverell variscite deposit, Milgun Station, Western Australia, baryte has been found rarely at the centre of a vein of foggite in variscite. The variscite deposits are hosted by marine sedimentary rocks (AJM 20.2.24).

At the Blue Points mine, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, baryte occurs with quartz variety amethyst (R&M 94.4.318).

At the Dorion Amethyst Mine, Thunder Bay District, Ontario, Canada, baryte occurs on quartz variety amethyst (R&M 94.4.338).

At the Ontario Gem Mine, Thunder Bay District, Ontario, Canada, baryte occurs on quartz variety amethyst (R&M 94.4.338).

In the Democratic Republic of Congo malachite pseudomorphs after baryte have been found (R&M 95.3.275).

At Mount Kahoven, Semnan Province, Iran, snow white crystals of baryte are found on quartz coloured deep red by hematite. The lack of hematite staining the baryte shows that it, the baryte, was formed later than the quartz (R&M 92.6.542).

At Tsumeb, Namibia, baryte has been found with smithsonite (R&M 93.6.540).

At the Randfontein Estates Mine, West Rand District, Gauteng, South Africa, pale yellow baryte has been found associated with sphalerite crystals. Minerals commonly associated with baryte are galena, quartz, pyrite, pyrrhotite and sphalerite (R&M 96.4.320).

At the Kusasalethu Mine, Carletonville, Western Sector, Far West Rand, West Rand District Municipality, Gauteng, South Africa, giant crystals of baryte have been found, up to 83 cm long and weighing 76.5 kilograms. They were found in a cavity together with galena, sphalerite and quartz (R&M 96.4.319-320).

At the Kopanang Mine, Klerksdorp, Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality, North West, South Africa, pale yellow to amber coloured baryte occurs sometimes with inclusions of pyrite (R&M 96.4.320).

At the Black Rock Mine, Black Rock, Kalahari manganese field, Northern Cape, South Africa, sturmanite pseudomorphs after baryte have been found (KL p194).

At the Dalmellington mine, Frizington, Cumbria, England, UK, baryte occurs on hematite and dolomite (SY p132).

At the Pallaflat mine, Bigrigg, Egremont, Cumbria, England, UK, baryte occurs reddened by hematite (SY p129).

At the Mowbray mine, Frizington, Cumbria, England, UK, large blue crystals of baryte occur on dolomite (SY p127-130).

At the Parkside mine, Frizington, Cumbria, England, UK, baryte occurs on dolomite (SY p132).

At the limestone quarry, Crich hill, Derbyshire, England, UK, baryte occurs with fluorite (RES p99).

At Dirtlow Rake, Castleton, Derbyshire, England, UK, baryte occurs in a calcite matrix (RES p122).

At Croft quarry, Leicestershire, England, UK, baryte occurs as crystals to 5 mm forming aggregates to 8 mm across on analcime, sometimes with a coating of hematite. The baryte is later in the paragenetic sequence than both of the two generations of analcime found here that occur here (JRS 20.9).

At Earl Ferrers mine, Staunton Harold, Leicestershire, England, UK, baryte occurs with galena and sphalerite (RES p217).

At Hicks Lodge open cast coal mine, Moira, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, England, UK, baryte has been found in a septarian nodule with chalcopyrite and calcite (RES p227).

At Snailbeach mine, Shropshire, England, UK, baryte is associated with witherite, and also replaces it (RES p272, 271).

At the Burgam mine, Shelve, Shropshire, England, UK, baryte has been found associated with pyromorphite (RES p283).

At the Wotherton mine, Chirbury, Shropshire, England, UK, baryte is associated with calcite and chalcopyrite (RES p286).

At the Ecton mine, Staffordshire, England, UK, baryte has been found associated with chalcopyrite, pyrite and pyrolusite (RES p302).

At Dudley Port, Tipton, Staffordshire, England, UK, baryte has been found on dolomite (RES p330).

At the Magma mine, Pioneer District, Pinal county, Arizona, USA, baryte occurs in a contact between quartzite and limestone, where the mineralisation has replaced the limestone with the hematite - chalcopyrite - bornite - chalcocite - pyrite assemblage that comprises all the replacement orebodies here. Common asssociates include gypsum, chalcocite, sphalerite and galena, and many of the baryte crystals have inclusions of pyrite or hematite (R&M 95.1.79-80).

Near Fruita, Mesa county, Colorado, USA, pseudomorphs of chalcedony variety agate after baryte have been found (KL p261).

The Cartersville Mining District, Bartow county, Georgia, USA, used to be a major source of baryte for use as a whitener in paint, a filler in rubber and plastic and a source of barium chemicals. Most of the mines are no longer in use, and they are all closed to collecting. The baryte occured in dolostone and in the underlying quartzite, emplaced by hydrothermal void filling and carbonate replacement of the dolomitic limestone. Well formed baryte microcrystals have been found with drusy quartz in vugs in massive baryte and in breccia (R&M 96.3.270-276).

At Cookes Peak mining district, Luna county, New Mexico, USA, baryte is sometimes found in association with fluorite and quartz (R&M 94.3.225-226).

Alteration

calcite, Ba2+, H2S and O2 to baryte, Ca2+, CO2 and H2O
CaCO3 + Ba2+ + H2S + 2O2 = BaSO4 + Ca2+ + CO2 and H2O
Baryte may be precipitated by the action of ore fluid and groundwater on calcite (DHZ 5B p16).

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