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April 29, 2018 Weekly Geology Guest, Phosphates

April 30, 2018

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

We will now continue down the Industrial Mineral dusty trail and continue with Phosphate.

Not an easy rabbit to chase down with organic and inorganic phosphates.  “Phosphates are the naturally occurring form of the element phosphorus, found in many phosphate minerals

Okay?  A phosphate (PO3−
) is an inorganic chemical and a salt-forming anion of phosphoric acid.

1 a (1) : a salt or ester of a phosphoric acid
(2) : the trivalent anion PO43− derived from phosphoric acid H3PO4

b : an organic compound of phosphoric acid in which the acid group is bound to nitrogen or a carboxyl group in a way that permits useful energy to be released (as in metabolism)
2 : an effervescent drink of carbonated water with a small amount of phosphoric acid flavored with fruit syrup


3 : a phosphatic material used for fertilizers

Most phosphate mining is not very glamorous and is a bulk commodity.

Phosphate mine near Flaming Gorge, Utah, 2008


Apatite.  Ca5(PO4)3(F,Cl,OH)
Chris Ralph of Nevada Outback Gems (Reno Chris at English Wikipedia). Later version uploaded by Skoot13 at English Wikipedia.Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.

Monazite, (Ce,La)PO4
Monazite-(Ce) Locality: Siglo Veinte Mine (Siglo XX Mine; Llallagua Mine; Catavi), Llallagua, Rafael Bustillo Province, Potosí Department, Bolivia (Locality at Size: 3.2 x 3.1 x 2.2 cm. Ex. Brian Kosnar.
Rob Lavinsky, – CC-BY-SA-3.0


Pyromorphite (Pb5(PO4)3Cl) Locality: Daoping Mine (Tangping Mine), Gongcheng City, Gongcheng County, Guilin Prefecture, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China (Locality at Size: 6.8 x 5.3 x 3.3 cm.
Rob Lavinsky, – CC-BY-SA-3.0

Lazulite ((Mg,Fe2+)Al2(PO4)2(OH)2)[2] is a blue, phosphate mineral containing magnesium, iron, and aluminium phosphate
Lazurite, afghanite et pyrite sur calcite (Sar-e-Sang, Koksha Valley, Badakshan - Afghanistan).jpg
Lazulite ((Mg,Fe2+)Al2(PO4)2(OH)2)[2] is a blue, phosphate mineral containing magnesium, iron, and aluminium phosphate.   Parent Géry

wavellite Al3(PO4)2(OH)3·5H2O
Wavellite Locality: Mauldin Mountain Quarries, Mauldin Mt., Montgomery County, Arkansas, USA (Locality at Size: 8.4 x 5.9 x 5.1 cm. Deep green balls of wavellite to 1.3 follow the contours of this exposed pocket. The balls that are incomplete show their concentric structure. A few areas in Arkansas together represent the prime worldwide source for good specimens of this species.
Rob Lavinsky, – CC-BY-SA-3.0

turquoise CuAl6(PO4)4(OH)8·5H2O
“Big Blue”, a large turquoise specimen from the copper mine at Cananea, Sonora, Mexico
Mike Beauregard from Nunavut, Canadaturquesa es muy azul Uploaded by PDTillman

phosphophyllite Zn2(Fe,Mn)(PO4)2•4H2O
Phosphophyllite Locality: Cerro de Potosí (Cerro Rico), Potosí City, Potosí Department, Bolivia (Locality at Size: 5.2 cm x 5 cm x 4.9 cm
Rob Lavinsky, – CC-BY-SA-3.0

fluorapatite Ca5(PO4)3F
Fluorapatite. São Geraldo do Baixio, Doce valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Rob Lavinsky, – CC-BY-SA-3.0

Our next industrial mineral challenge will be PotashPotassium minerals.
Enjoy the adventure!


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