Barite (spelled baryte in British publications) was named from the Greek word baros, which means weighty, a reference to its unusually high specific gravity.

Barite is a mineral composed of barium sulfate, BaSO4. It is usually colorless or milky white, but can be almost any color, depending on the impurities trapped in the crystals during their formation. Barite is relatively soft, measuring 3-3.5 on Mohs' scale of hardness. It is unusually heavy for a non-metallic mineral.

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