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A Stone to Protect from Radiation

барит
Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Горный музей

This stone is the only mineral in the world that can practically entirely neutralize radiation. In order to recover from serious illnesses, many people are even ready to eat it.

For the first time, barite attracted attention at the beginning of the 17th century. Then its unusual properties made alchemists particularly interested. When one of the medieval scholars accidentally found this stone in the mountains nearby the Italian city of Bologna, he thought that it contained gold. The young man made such an assumption for a reason: the small sample he found was very heavy. In an attempt to melt the precious metal from the mineral, the alchemist discovered that after cooling, the stone glows in the dark in red. After that, for a long time, barite was the subject of thorough research and experimentation for numerous scientists. Due to its high density, and as a consequence of its great weight, barite in ancient Rome was used as ammunition for a throwing gun.

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Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Горный музей

The Egyptians considered the mineral a guide to the world of the dead. They believed that if a piece of stone was put in the tomb, then the soul would find a way into the afterlife without any obstacles. Native American priests used barite during séances and conversations with departed ancestors. A special effect on the participants of the action was produced by the moment when a fire was brought to the barite, and the flame instantly turned yellow-green.

Over time, it became clear that the mineral has no precious properties and is broadly distributed around the world. However, this fact did not prevent barite from gaining popularity and becoming a sought-after mineral in many areas, including life-threatening ones.

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Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Горный музей

The fact is that barite is a material capable of trapping destructive X-radiation, which is present both in X-ray machines and in nuclear power plants. Mineral is used as a part of protective screens. Such devices reduce the dose of radiation or completely neutralize it. This allows a person to work near a radiation source, and stay safe at the same time. Therefore, barite is used in the design of many medical institutions. A special solution containing the mineral is used to cover the walls of X-ray rooms and tomography rooms. A barite-based composition is used for oral administration. It is recommended to drink to people who have diseases of the digestive system before radiography. Such a drink, being harmless to the body, stains tissues, which usually remain in the shade in the pictures. The result is a sharper and clearer picture of the state of internal organs. Barite has also found its application in cosmetology. Numerous masks and scrubs made from crushed minerals help smooth wrinkles and tone the skin.

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Фото © pixabay.com

The spheres of barite use are diverse and are not limited exclusively to medicine. The stone is indispensable in the confectionery industry, where it serves as filler for food products and increases their weight. In the oil industry, barite also increases the density, but in this case, of drilling fluids.

барит
Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Горный музей

The only area where the stone has not fully realized itself is jewelry. Due to the difficulty of processing, products from it are quite rare. However, in the skilled hands of the master, the stone is able to turn into a precious mineral. Single barite samples are greatly appreciated by collectors. It is believed that souvenirs from it bring good luck in business. With careful storage, such crafts can survive even the ice age or nuclear war. Mineral practically is not affected by any external influences.

No wonder that in ancient times, people considered barite to be a mysterious stone. Until now, a huge number of bats are found in the workings in which it is mined. Scientists cannot explain why this mineral is so attractive to animals, because it has even no smell. In turn, mystics believe that bats, themselves shrouded in mystery, feel a related energy in the stones.