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March 24, 2018 Weekly Geology Guest, Nahcolite

March 25, 2018
Greetings from the Bluff Park Back Porch, way up yonder on Shades Mountain (1,109′) in Alabama:
Pass me another one of those Nahcolite biscuits and the butter.  Please
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>    See, I was a budding geologist and didn’t even know it.  But I like mine with either Blackburn’s Cane Syrup, or Yellow Label Syrup, or Golden Eagle (Fayette, AL)

This week’s industrial mineral is Nahcolite.

Nahcolite is a soft, colourless or white carbonate mineral with the composition of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) also called thermokalite.
Nahcolite is the natural mineral most familiar to us as Sodium Bicarbonate or Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate or (most commonly) Baking Soda. Yes, there’s probably a box of nahcolite in your pantry, possibly another in your refrigerator.
Nahcolite, as ordinary baking soda, is used to make cookies, cakes, biscuits, and similar pastries “rise” during baking. In the presence of an acid, it easily decomposes into carbon dioxide and a sodium salt of that acid, and the trapped bubbles provide the textures we enjoy in those foods. Note that “baking powder” is a simple mixture of baking soda and a dry acid such as cream of tartar, often with a starch added to provide bulk.
It occurs as a hot spring and saline lake precipitate or efflorescence; in differentiated alkalic massifs; in fluid inclusions as a daughter mineral phase and in evaporite deposits.  in the U. S. from Searles Lake, San Bernardino County, California; in the Green River Formation, Colorado and Utah; in the Tincalayu deposit,

Nahcolite Locality: California, USA (Locality at An exceptional large specimen with crystals to 2 cm! Old material not readily obtainable, even in local collections…In fact, I can honestly say that I haven’t even SEEN one for sale in the 8 years I have lived in Southern California. These were collected several decades ago. 9.5 x 8 x 4 cm
Rob Lavinsky, – CC-BY-SA-3.0

Nahcolite deposition model


Ronald C. Johnson, Tracey J. Mercier, Michael E. Brownfield, and Jesse G. SelfAssessment of In-Place Oil Shale Resources in


Halite – Nahcolite
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Halite on Nahcolite
Halite on Nahcolite from Searles Lake, San Bernardino Co., California [db_pics/pics/na800a.jpg]

100 pounds of Sodium Bicarbonate
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Editors Note:  It is the intent of this site to keep this discussion as simple as possible, so as to educate the interested general public and not to discuss with the geology crowd the latest geologic theories and nuances.  Thanks, R
“No copyright infringement intended.
The rights belong to their respective owners”



We will now continue down the Industrial Mineral dusty trail and continue with Novaculite.
Enjoy the adventure!


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