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A mineral is a naturally occuring, homogeneous, solid with a crystalline atomic structure. Crystallinity implies that a mineral has a definite and limited range of composition, and that the composition is expressible as a chemical formula. Some definitions of minerals give them as inorganic materials, however both diamonds and graphite are considered minerals, and both are primarily comprised of carbon, which would make them organic. So this leads me, as an engineer, to believe that mineralogists do not have a good, precise definition of a mineral, but rather a loose definition. The definition above, is the most inclusive and would include all substances currently described as minerals. The key items that make something a mineral are occurring naturally, and the definite crystal structure, that is expressible as a chemical formula. Rocks that do not meet this criteria are referred to as amorphis - not having a definite structure or expressible as a chemical formula. Some elements that occur naturally and are minerals are arsenic, bismuth, platinum, gold, silver, copper, and sulphur.

THE DEFINITION OF ORGANIC: Organic chemistry is the study of those substances containing carbon in combination with hydrogen (H), and a few other non metals, namely oxygen (O), nitrogen (N), sulfur (S) and the halogens (F2, Cl2, Br2, and I2).







Barite is a barium mineral, is orthorhombic, has tabular and prismatic crystals. It has a hardness of 2.5 to 3.5 mhos, a SG of 4.3 to 4.7, is colorless, white, yellow, blue, brown or red. It ranges from transparent to opaque. The barite in the photo is a reddish brown, almost orange in color. When it burns it gives a green flame. It is associated with galena, sphalerite, fluorite, chalcopyrite and manganese and iron minerals.

From the USGS:

"Barite, a name that was derived from the Greek word "barus" (heavy), is the mineralogical name for barium sulfate. In commerce, the mineral is sometimes referred to as "barytes." The term "primary barite" refers to the first marketable product, which includes crude barite (run of mine) and the products of simple beneficiation methods, such as washing, jigging, heavy media separation, tabling, flotation, and magnetic separation. Most crude barite requires some upgrading to minimum purity or density. Barite that is used as an aggregate in a "heavy" cement is crushed and screened to a uniform size. Most barite 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 specification barite. Although barite contains a "heavy" metal (barium), it is not a toxic chemical under Section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986, because it is very insoluble."