Also spelled “barite,” this mineral is recognized by its high specific gravity and characteristic cleavage and crystals. It is a common mineral of wide distribution, occurring as a gangue mineral in hydrothermal veins and limestone. More than 80% of this mineral is used in the oil and gas industry as a drilling mud. It is named from the Greek word meaning "heavy," in allusion to its high specific gravity.

Mineral Photos courtesy of R.Weller/Cochise College