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phosphate

phosphate

SRI Petrography ID: 233

Names

[de] Phosphat
[en] phosphate

Description

The two major varieties of natural phosphates are the mineral apatite and phosphorite sedimentary rocks such as phosphate, carbonate phosphates, guano, bone phosphorite, etc., without constant chemical composition. Phosphate rocks are formed in shallow marine areas and are often a mixture of chemical, biochemical and organogenic sediments in the marine area. Phytoplankton is of great importance in the formation of the phosphate-rich waters, while sulphate bacteria lead to the precipitation of phosphate minerals, and these together with clayey-silty and carbonate sediments are diagenetically formed in phosphorite.

Color

brown, white, gray-white, yellow-brown or black

Grain Size

crypto-cristallin

Texture

radiating, fibrous, spherulitic, rough, nodular, earthy, granular, unconsolidated, crypto-crystalline

Minerals

The phosphates include apatite, also pyromorphite, monazite, xenotime; phosphorites are usually a mixture of impure minerals composed of carbonate apatite and other phosphates with lime, sand or clay

Occurences

Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Florida, Russia (Kola Peninsula), China, Nauru (as guano)

Comments

In phosphorite deposits apatite is often the petrification substance of fossil bones and fecal (guano).
Phosphates are very important in the production of fertilizers, the chemical industry and other industries. Phosphates are no longer added so frequently to detergents due to the eutrophication of water bodies and are therefore increasingly replaced by zeolites.

Classification

Class

SEDIMENTARY ROCKS

Broader Terms

non-carbonate salts