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Halite

| Types of Minerals | November 1, 2012

Halite

Halite is also known as Rock Salt

Halite is the mineral form of sodium chloride (NaCl). Halite forms isometric crystals. The mineral is typically colorless or white, but may also be light blue, dark blue, purple, pink, red, orange, yellow or gray depending on the amount and type of impurities.

Halite occurs in vast beds of sedimentary evaporite minerals

It is found in those areas as a result of the drying up of enclosed lakes, playas, and seas. Salt beds maybe hundreds of meters thick and underlie broad areas. In the United States and Canada extensive underground beds extend from the Appalachian basin of western New York through parts of Ontario and under much of the Michigan Basin. Other deposits are in Ohio, Kansas, New Mexico, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan. The Khewra salt mine is a massive deposit of halite near Islamabad, Pakistan. In the United Kingdom there are three mines; the largest of these is at Winsford in Cheshire producing half a million tons on average in six months.
Halite

Halite is used for managing ice

Halite is often used both privately and municipally for managing ice. Because brine (a solution of water and salt) has a lower freezing point than pure water, putting salt or saltwater on ice that is near 0°C will cause it to melt. (This effect is called freezing-point depression.) It is common for homeowners in cold climates to spread salt on their walkways and driveways after a snow storm to melt the ice. It is not necessary to use so much salt that the ice is completely melted; rather, a small amount of salt will weaken the ice so that it can be easily removed by other means. Also, many cities will spread a mixture of sand and salt on roads during and after a snowstorm to improve traction.Salt is also used extensively in cooking as a flavor enhancer and to cure a wide variety of foods such as bacon and fish. Larger pieces of Halite can be ground in a salt mill or dusted over food from a shaker as finishing salt.

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