Baryte

sulphate

limestone

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
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).

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

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).

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 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 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 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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