Borate Minerals


Borate minerals contain oxygen and boron.

Most of them are rare, but borax, kernite, colemanite and ulexite are quite common and form large deposits.





Borax

borax crystals
Borax crystals. By Annouk via Flickr.com

Borax is a sodium borate hydrate. It forms tabular or prismatic crystals, but can also be massive in habit. It is most often white but can also be colourless, grey, blueish or greenish. It is an evaporative mineral and forms in evaporative deposits in desert lakes that dry out. It can also be found in hot springs.




Colemanite

colemanite
Colemanite, Ian Geoffrey Stimpson via Flickr.com

Colemanite
is a calcium borate hydrate, which can form monoclinic crystals or be compact, granular or massive. It can be white, grey or yellowish brown in colour. Like many other minerals in this group, it forms in evaporative deposits from other minerals. It was named after the owner of a Californian mine where it was first discovered.


Kernite

kernite
Kernite. By David Casteel via Flickr.com

Kernite is a sodium borate hydrate, which can form short, prismatic, transparent, colourless, very large crystals, but is more commonly found in cleaved masses with a fibrous structure. It is a colourless mineral when white, but can be white when its crystals are covered by tincalconite - a dehydration product of borates that builds a white, opaque surface film on the crystal surface. It forms in mineral veins and irregular masses in evaporative deposits, where it is usually associated with other boraten minerals. It can also be found as crystals in shale.

Ulexite

ulexite
Ulexite. By Kathy__ via Flickr.com

Ulexite is a sodium calcium borate hydrate. It is most often found in white, silky, acicular lenslike or rounded crystal aggregates, but can also form colourless, vitrous, fibrous, parallel crystals or tufted masses.  It is found in evaporative deposits in desert lake beds, where it forms from boron rich fluids.














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