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The chemical formula of mineral Borax is indicated by Na2B4O7-10H2O or Hydrated Sodium Borate. Borax is actually a Carbonate mineral. The name of the mineral species Borax is traceable to the Medieval Latin word borax, which comes from the Arabic word buraq that also comes from either the Middle Persian burak or the Persian burah. The Arabic word buraq means white. This is an allusion to the white color of the mineral specimen. Borax is also called Tincal, a Sodium Tetraborate Decahydrate. Tincal is a Sanskrit word for the mineral. The mineral Borax was first discovered at the dry lakebeds in Tibet. The Tincal that was discovered from these deposits in the 8th century was transported in ancient caravans along trade route that is now called the Silk Road. This time also indicated the first usage of Borax by the Arabian goldsmiths and silversmiths. Borax is commonly considered as a complex borate mineral. The basic chemical structure of mineral Borax usually contains chains of interlocking BO2(OH) triangles and BO3(OH) tetrahedrons, which are bonded to chains of sodium and water octahedrons. The appearances of most old Borax mineral specimens are chalky white because of the chemical reaction from dehydration. Borax minerals are commonly found altered, at least on their surface, to the mineral Tincalconite whose chemical formula is indicated by Na2B4O7-5H2O, usually with water loss. This kind of alteration from one mineral to another is usually found leaving the original shape of the crystal. Most mineralogists usually refer to this mineral as a pseudomorph or false shape. This is because the Tincalconite mineral has the crystal shape of the predecessing borax.

 

            Mineral specimen Borax is usually found white to clear in appearance. Borax mineral specimens are commonly found exhibiting vitreous luster in reflected light of petrographic polarizing microscope used in the field of optical mineralogy. The fracture found when Borax mineral specimen is evaluated under several adjustments on the aperture diaphragm of polarized microscopes used in optical mineralogy. The hardness measure for mineral Borax using the Mohs scale method is commonly found ranging from 2 to 2.5. Borax is usually found leaving a white streak when specimen is rubbed on a white porcelain streak plate. The specific gravity measure of mineral specimen Borax usually gives an approximate value of 1.7 grams per cubic centimeters, which is commonly considered very light. Borax minerals are known to crystallize in the monoclinic system of crystal formation. In the field of optical mineralogy, the monoclinic system of crystal formation comprises crystals having three axes of unequal lengths. Two of which are usually found in a position that is oblique or not perpendicular to one another. However, both of which are commonly found perpendicular to the third axis. Crystals of Borax are commonly found transparent to translucent in appearance. The crystal habit of Borax mineral commonly includes blocky to prismatic crystals with a nearly square cross section, which is usually exhibiting a splendid microscope image under a polarizing light microscope used in optical mineralogy. Prismatic crystals are those crystals that are shaped like slender prisms. They can be also found in tabular formations that are usually found in shapes like a book, which forms dimensions that are thin in one direction. They can be also found in massive forms and also as crusts, which are really interesting to view under a petrographic polarizing microscope used in the field of optical mineralogy. Massive forms are usually found as uniformly indistinguishable crystals that are commonly found forming large masses. Borax crystals are usually found in disorganized groupings and sometimes striated. Generally, these minerals have well-formed crystals that can be found as quite large masses. Borax is also considered brittle, a property that is often displayed by glasses and most non-metallic minerals. These minerals are commonly associated with other interesting minerals such as halite, colemanite, calcite, hanksite, ulexite and other borates mineral.

 

            Borax mineral specimens are usually found having biaxial negative figure when viewed with the aid of polarizing microscopes for mineralogists. They usually show moderate surface relief between crossed nicols of petrographic polarizing light microscope used in optical mineralogy. It commonly shows distinct dispersion when viewed in transmitted light of polarized microscopes. Specimens of Borax minerals are usually found as diamagnetic. Borax minerals are slightly soluble in cold water. However, they are found insoluble in acids and are very soluble in hot water. Borax mineral also readily effloresces more especially on heating. Borax is found as not radioactive mineral after several chemical evaluations. Borax crystals are rarely twinned as found exhibited when mineral specimen is evaluated under a polarizing microscope used in optical mineralogy. There is no specific data on the toxicity and health dangers for mineral Borax. However, Borax specimens should be treated with great care and use of sensible precaution is advised upon handling them. Borax minerals have a sweet alkaline taste. They are commonly found altering to a chalky white tincalconite with dehydration. Borax mineral crystals are usually found as white powder, which is commonly consisting of soft colorless crystals that are easily soluble in water. Borax minerals have wide variety of uses. They are commonly used as components of many detergents, enamel glazes and cosmetics. They are also used as a precursor for other boron compounds, as anti-fugal compounds for fiberglass, also as fire retardant, as an insecticide and as a flux in metallurgy. They can be also used to make buffer solutions in biochemistry. Those Borax minerals that are commercially sold are usually partially dehydrated. When Borax mineral is burned, it is commonly found producing a bright orange-colored flame. Because of this, Borax is sometimes used for homemade pyrotechnics.

 

            Borax minerals are usually found in playa lakes and other evaporite deposits. They are directly deposited in regions, specifically arid, which are from the evaporation of intermittent lakes called playas. The playas are commonly found forming only during the rainy seasons due to runoff from adjacent mountains. The runoff is usually rich in the element boron content. It is commonly found highly concentrated by evaporation in the arid climate. Because the concentration of element boron is so great, there is a formation of Borax crystals and many other boron minerals. Borax is also a salt of boric acid. Borax minerals are usually found in dry lakebeds in desert country. Borax minerals commonly occur in arid regions and are commonly found forming from the evaporation of saline lakes. They can be also produced and synthetically formed as a by-product of mining operations of borate deposits. Actually, most of the specimens from Boron, California are formed in this manner. The best field indicators of Borax mineral usually include color, crystal habit, density, locality, hardness and its wonderful association with other interesting minerals. Borax minerals notably occur at some types of localities that commonly include some areas in California, the Andes Mountains, Tibet and Turkey as well as Trona, Boron, Death Valley.

 



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Friday, January 15th, 2010 at 4:43 am
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The Carbonates and Borates Mineral Class
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