Geology And Geophysics

Rocks Formed from Evaporation



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Water is an amazing compound without it life on Earth would not exist. It also plays a key role in the formation of certain types of sedimentary rocks. These rocks are often referred to as evaporates. Minerals are common in water as it evaporates the minerals are left behind. These minerals crystallize and begin to collect together. Over time these crystals will form together tightly or with other elements creating rocks. There is a wide variety of rocks formed as the result of evaporation.

Rock salt is formed as seawater evaporates leaving behind halite or sodium chloride. Essential to sustaining human life salt has been used for thousands of years. Common uses are for seasoning and preserving food. Rock salt is used in the winter to melt snow on both sidewalks for personal use and by governments to keep roads clear.  Halite can be found in a variety of colors although clear and white is the most common.

Sylvite is a mineral also known as potassium chloride. It forms through the same process as rock salt. The difference is the chemical composition is far less common. This rock is highly sought after due to its high potassium contest which is widely used in fertilizers. Modern farming relies heavy on farming and as a result this rock has significant commercial value. It is often used as a substitute for table salt to much lower sodium levels although the taste is bitter.

Anhydrite is closely related to Gypsum and forms when calcium sulfate is left behind as water evaporates. This mineral is very common and can be found in regions all over the world. Due to its relative softness it is often used in carvings, decorations, and crafts. Deposits are usually associated with tidal beds. Waves from the ocean bring water ashore. As it evaporates the minerals calcium and sulfate are left behind. They form together to create Anhydrite.

Gypsum also known as hydrated calcium sulfate is the most common of the sulfate minerals. It forms from waters with high concentrations of salt evaporating. As a result it can often be found in salt beds where seas once were. Gypsum is highly versatile and can be used in a wide variety of products. Gypsum plays a major role in construction where it is used in drywall, plaster, and in quick drying cements. It can also be found in many health care products such as foot powders, shampoos, and conditioners. It even lends its services to the medical industry in the form of casts and splints.

Dolomite or calcium magnesium carbonate is very common and can frequently be found in massive beds of rock. It is not common to find dolomite deposits hundreds of feet think. One of the more puzzling rocks for scientist to figure out and that creates uncertainty about the exact nature of its formation. Dolomite is sometimes used as a calcium and magnesium supplement. Dolomite is used in steel, iron, ceramic production as well as mined for its high magnesium content.

There are just a few of the rocks created through evaporation. While each rock goes through a similar process, the chemical composition makes them very unique.

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ARTICLE SOURCES AND CITATIONS
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/532232/sedimentary-rock/80293/Evaporites
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.galleries.com/Halite
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.galleries.com/Sylvite
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://stoneplus.cst.cmich.edu/anhydrite.htm
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.galleries.com/Gypsum
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://wanttoknowit.com/uses-of-gypsum/
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.galleries.com/Dolomite
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.internetchemistry.com/news/2012/jun12/dolomite-formation.html