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.
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.
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;
- 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.
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.
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.