Apatite Facts

Apatite Facts
Apatite is the name of a group of phosphate minerals that have a familiar chemical composition and share the same physical properties. They are a significant component of phosphorite and used to make chemicals, acids, and fertilizers. Apatite has a consistent hardness and serves as the index mineral for a hardness of 5 in the Mohs Hardness Scale. Those specimens that are found to have excellent clarity and color are cut and used as gemstones. Those that are extremely translucent are cut as cabochons. Apatite is most often found to be violet, pink, yellow, blue, brown, green and colorless. The diagnostic properties are found in color, hardness, and crystal form. They become brittle, scratched with a steel knife blade, and easily fractured. There are numerous ways that Apatite is used in the world today.
Interesting Apatite Facts:
Apatite forms under a wide variety of conditions and is most often found in sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks.
The most important apatite deposits are found in sedimentary rocks formed in marine and lacustrine environments.
Apatite on occasion is discovered as well-formed hexagonal crystals in pegmatite pockets and in hydrothermal veins.
Mineral collectors really like to discover these well-formed crystals and the price paid for them exceeds their value.
As a gemstone, apatite is more popular with gem collectors than it is with jewelers.
Because of the brittle nature of apatite, it is most often too fragile for use in most types of jewelry.
Apatite is one of the few minerals produced and used by biological micro-environmental systems.
Hydroxylapatite is the major component in both bone mineral and in tooth enamel.
There is a rare form of apatite which contains many carbonate and acid phosphate substitutions named bone material.
Fission tracks in apatite are often used to establish the thermal history of orogenic belts and sedimentary basins.
The most common use of apatite is in the manufacturing of fertilizer because it is such a prominent source of phosphorus.
When apatite is mixed with sulfuric acid, phosphoric acid is produced. When a fluorapatite content is then added the outcome is hydrofluoric acid.
In the United States, fertilizers that contain apatite are used to supplement the nutrition of many agricultural crops by providing the much needed mineral phosphate.
Apatite is also a host material for the storage of nuclear waste.
If the crystals of rutile have grown in the crystal of apatite and viewed in the correct light source, a cat's eye effect is displayed.
Apatite now and then is found to contain large amounts of rare-earth elements and can be used as an ore for some metals. Because this apatite is non-radioactive, it does not pose an environmental hazard.
Moon rocks collected by during the Apollo program were found to contain traces of apatite.

Related Links:
Minerals Facts
Animals Facts
Phosphoric acid Formula - Phosphoric Acid Uses, Properties ...
Quartz Facts
Sodium Thiosulfate Formula - Sodium Thiosulfate Uses, Properties ...