A “1” on Mohs hardness scale, this mineral can be identified by its softness and greasy feel. It is formed from the hydrothermal alteration of mafic rocks and during low-temperature metamorphism. It is used for laboratory table tops, electric switchboards, and as soapstone. The name comes from the Arabic word for "pure," probably alluding to the color of its powder.

Mineral Photos courtesy of R.Weller/Cochise College