How to describe salt as a mineral

More than just the spice

Fa­mil­iar kitchen salt, or as it is also called, halite, is a vi­tal min­er­al, the only one ex­ist­ing in na­ture which peo­ple use in food. It took hun­dreds of years to be­come a per­ma­nent at­tribute in ev­ery kitchen.

It got its name from two words in An­cient Greek: gal­la, which means nut-gall and lithos — stone. In its pure form, halite, con­tains many im­pu­ri­ties and is not suit­able for use in food. Only af­ter it is pro­cessed do we get or­di­nary rock salt.

[Deposit Photos]

Ge­net­ic fea­tures

This in­ter­est­ing min­er­al is a sed­i­ment rock and lies in nat­u­ral brines, grad­u­al­ly crys­tal­liz­ing. Its fields have not yet been stud­ied. It is also found in the craters of vol­ca­noes. Fields of salt rocks are en­coun­tered in dif­fer­ent re­gions of the coun­try. Nat­u­ral halite in its nat­u­ral state has around 8% im­pu­ri­ties and varies in col­or from white to yel­low, blue and even red. Many min­er­als have a thick coat­ing of plas­ter on top.

Chem­i­cal com­po­si­tion

Halite con­sists of 39 % na­tri­um Na and 60.6% chlo­rine Cl. Also present are KCl, CaCl, Mg­Cl2, their con­tent de­pends on the field.

Vari­a­tions of the min­er­al

In na­ture, halite is di­vid­ed into cer­tain cat­e­gories:

  • de­posit­ed salt — a com­plete­ly nat­u­ral rock which is formed in evap­or­it­ic fields with fine-grained in­crus­ta­tions of drusen;

  • salt marsh­es – wide­spread in steppe and desert re­gions. A lay­er of salt on the very top of the soil, like an en­crus­ta­tion;

Salt mounds in Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia [Wikipedia]
  • vol­canic – formed as a re­sult of vul­can­iza­tion. By ap­pear­ance, it looks like ag­gre­gates of as­bestos. It is mined in vol­canic craters;
  • rock salt – con­sol­i­da­tions of sed­i­ment con­glom­er­a­tions of halite in rock for­ma­tions and lay­ers.

Dif­fer­ent types of halite are formed as a re­sult of de­posits of salts. In the past, peo­ple be­lieved that the min­er­al was formed as a re­sult of the de­posit of sea salt and the evap­o­ra­tion of mois­ture from it on the sur­face. But over time this the­o­ry was dis­cred­it­ed. Cer­tain phys­i­cal prop­er­ties, chem­i­cal bonds and ge­o­log­i­cal fea­ture af­fect the for­ma­tion of halite rock. You can learn chem­i­cal prop­er­ties of salt by con­duct­ing easy ex­per­i­ments even at home.

Salt tal­is­mans

For many cen­turies, mirac­u­lous qual­i­ties were as­cribed to salt. At first glance, the sim­ple min­er­al serves as a re­li­able source for ban­ish­ing neg­a­tive things from your life and your home, and over­com­ing ill­ness­es. Many omens are at­trib­uted to salt to this day: if you spill it, there’ll be an ar­gu­ment, if you pour it on the ground in the form of a cross, it will serve as a pro­tec­tion against evil spir­its, and will also show the evil eye. These tal­is­mans had to be made on cer­tain days, which you can read about in old books of rit­u­al.

It is be­lieved that the min­er­al in­creas­es good­ness in the hands of peo­ple with good in­ten­tions. Bags with salt ab­sorb neg­a­tive qual­i­ties that are em­anat­ed by strangers, thus pro­tect­ing their own­er from them.

Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines (Poland) [Deposit Photos]

Heal­ing qual­i­ties

Be­sides mag­i­cal qual­i­ties, halite is also known as a heal­ing min­er­al. It is ex­cel­lent for virus­es. It is used to rinse the throat and nose in angi­na and colds. It is also ef­fec­tive for pharyn­gi­tis, si­nus in­fec­tions, toothache and ton­sil­li­tis.

Mak­ing halite salt for rins­ing is very sim­ple: take 1 ta­ble­spoon of salt and dis­solve it in a glass (200 ml) of warm boiled wa­ter. You can add a few drops of io­dine to the glass. Stir it un­til the crys­tals dis­solve. It helps with in­fec­tions and in­flam­ma­tions.

Salt heat­ed in a bag is used for radi­culi­tis and si­nus in­fec­tions – it should be used very care­ful­ly. Ion-en­riched halite is rec­om­mend­ed for bron­chi­tis and pneu­mo­nia. Spe­cial equip­ment is re­quired for this.


The wide ap­pli­ca­tion of halite comes from its avail­abil­i­ty in min­ing. The main field is the food in­dus­try. The nat­u­ral min­er­al is cleaned of im­pu­ri­ties and pack­aged for sale. Io­dine is some­times added, or it is sub­ject­ed to ad­di­tion­al crush­ing, mak­ing re­fined salt.

In the chem­i­cal in­dus­try, halite is used for ex­tract­ing sodi­um and chlo­ride, to make soda, con­cen­trat­ed al­ka­lis and even hy­drochlo­ric acid. Halite can also be found in pa­per, glass and in wash­ing agents. For an ad­di­tion­al lay­er of dura­bil­i­ty, halite sin­gle-crys­tal film is used in mak­ing lens­es for glass­es. Con­cen­trat­ed halite is used to clean de­posits and fur­naces of wa­ter-heat­ing units. Halite is a good agent against frozen roads, and con­struc­tion work in places where the soil is frozen.

From pure rocks of the min­er­al, salt sculp­tures, lamps, in­te­ri­or items and amulets are made. Re­mem­ber that the min­er­al is quite frag­ile and can be eas­i­ly dam­aged. It can­not be washed or dropped, and should only be used ac­cord­ing to the man­u­fac­tur­er’s in­struc­tions.