Baryte

Baryte


Composition: BaSO4
Crystal System : Orthorhombic
Colours: Honey-brown, orange-brown, brown
Lustre : Vireous, pearly
Hardness (H) : 3.0-3.5
Specific Gravity (S.G) : 4.5
References: Gebhard (1999)

Distribution

Rare. Found sparingly in the upper part of the first oxidation zone. Also recorded from the second oxidation zone by Strunz et al. (1958).

Occurrence

  • Hypogene
  • 1st Oxidation Zone
  • 2nd Oxidation Zone

Notable Finds

Attractive specimens of baryte with smthsonite were found in the first oxidation zone, notably on 6 Level.

Paragenetic and General Notes

Baryte is an early-formed mineral at Tsumeb; much of it appears to be of hypogene origin. 

Baryte was first encountered in the upper levels of the mine (notably on 6 Level) where it is associated with smithsonite and quartz, with the smithsonite clearly post-dating the baryte.

Baryte also occurs in the second oxidation zone, as part of a rare mineral assemblage on 31 Level, with prosperite, gaitite, adamite, austinite, cuprite and quartz. 

A specimen of baryte with ludlockite - a very rare association - has been recorded from the second or, possibly, third (?) oxidation zone.

Baryte has also been found with quartz and in relatively unoxidised sulphide ore between the two upper oxidation zones, on 25 Level, providing circumstantial support for the view that much of the baryte at Tsumeb is of hypogene (rather than supergene) origin.