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March 17, 2018 Weekly Geology Guest, Natron

March 26, 2018
Greetings from the Bluff Park Back Porch, way up yonder on Shades Mountain (1,109′) in Alabama:

This week’s industrial mineral is Natron.

>    Wow!  Lot more pictures (X10), The Good-The Bad-The Ugly, than I would have thought.

Natron is a naturally occurring mixture of sodium carbonate decahydrate (Na2CO3·10H2O, a kind of soda ash) and around 17% sodium bicarbonate (also called baking soda, NaHCO3) along with small quantities of sodium chloride and sodium sulfate.

Decline in Use:
Most of natron’s uses both in the home and by industry were gradually replaced with closely related sodium compounds and minerals. Natron’s detergent properties are now commercially supplied by soda ash (pure sodium carbonate), the mixture’s chief compound ingredient, along with other chemicals. Soda ash also replaced natron in glass-making. Some of its ancient household roles are also now filled by ordinary baking soda, natron’s other meaningful ingredient.

Natron deposits in the Era Kohor crater in the Tibesti Mountains, Chad
Stefan ThüngenOwn work


A faience vase fabricated in part from natron, dating to the New Kingdom of Egypt (ca. 1450-1350 BC).

Natron: Na2CO3·10(H2O)

Large Natron Image

Modern Hi Tech Delivery.
<strong>Natron</strong> being unloaded along the eastern shore of Lake Chad near Baga Sola, Chad.
Natron being unloaded along the eastern shore of Lake Chad near Baga Sola, Chad.© Jacques Jangoux/Peter Arnold, Inc.

Tanzania’s Lake Natron has a killer reputation. Said to turn local wildlife to stone, its bright red waters certainly seem to signal danger. But in fact, the concentration of harmful chemicals in this alkaline lake supports a rich ecosystem. The water of Lake Natron reaches scalding temperatures of more than 40°C (104°F).
Travel: 10 amazing pics of Lake Natron, the Mummifying Blood Waters of Tanzania  (Lake That Turns Animals to Stone)

Natron, for use with food.

Related image

Natron for Sale.  e-rocks Mineral Auctions.

Lake Natron, TanzaniaLake Natron, Tanzania

Mummified Flamingo in Lake Natron
© Nick Brandt. Courtesy of Edwynn Houk Gallery, NY


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 Nahcolite.
Enjoy the adventure!


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