Random Crystal of the Day: Halite

in STEMGeeks2 months ago

         Here's a piece of "rock" from a friend's collection. It's actually the mineral form of salt, or halite. It's also referred to as rock salt. I won't disclose where this particular piece originates.

         Of course, this is different from the salt you use in food or the curing thereof. It's pretty much a piece of rock. You could eat it, but I wouldn't recommend it. There are other practical uses for halites, but this one is for the collection.

         One of the most surprising things I learned about rock salts is that some things can actually live in it. I mean, I am a clinical microbiologist, so I tend to veer towards that direction.

         There exist archaea (bacteria-like prokaryotes) that would thrive in it. I guess life finds a way. Lucky for us, archaea tend to be either mutualistic or commensal organisms to humans. It's interesting to learn that a lot of our gut microbes are actually in this group.

         Back to the rock, it can come in different colors. This all depends on other "impurities" mixed in with it. Wikipedia shows some green and pink ones, I'm sure there are more on the internet.

         Just food for thought.

Posted with STEMGeeks


I got my start in the mineral world thanks to pink halite and my daughter. Long story but many years ago my daughter said her science teacher told her to go out to Trona for a weekend field trip to dig pink halite & hanksite. So Saturday morning we got up early and went out. It was a life changing experience and now I am a mineral dealer in Tokyo & the US. Here is a piece from 3 years ago. Unfortunately Searles Lake where we would collect suffered catastrophic damage after the Ridgecrest earthquake and hasn't been open since. I hope one day we can go out and collect again.


 2 months ago 

Oh look at that, that's really pretty!

About 5 years ago I could get blue, but the mineral company closed the area it came from so only pink.

There is an older dealer named Sibel Minerals who always joked that pink halite paid for his house!

Interesting. More tidbits of knowledge to store in my brain that someday might just find their way to the surface again in some conversation. I am NOT a microbiologist so...not sure what more to say. lol

 2 months ago 

I guess what I was trying to get at about the microbiology was that what people think of as inhospitable environment may not be so when we actually examine it.

After all, the universe is a vast place.

As a clinical microbiologist do you work more in the lab or in the wards ?

 2 months ago 

I work in the labs.

cool, the US does things differently some times and I imagined that maybe you need to greenlight some antibiotic therapy in more difficult cases and thus be present during the rounds for example

 2 months ago (edited)

I think that's a pharmacist's job.

To be frank, my actual title is “medical laboratory scientist”. I just so happen to specialise in micro.

I do run the antibiotic tests which they base their decisions on though.

We have clinical pharmacists here as well, but I haven't seen any in a hospital like ever :))

We are using pink salt in some of the dishes but yes using after the processing it....

 2 months ago 

Does the color makes a difference or is it purely aesthetic?

As per my knowledge rock salt and pick salt are same...
In powder form it colored pink...

Thanks for sharing your friends rocks.. always fun seeing what other people have found around them.

 2 months ago 

They go on trips every now and then.

As for rocks, you should really check out what @rt395 finds.

Ah yeah I think I have seen his posts on minerals before. I used to post rocks alot, now I need to find some new ones to share.

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