How are rock salt deposits formed? Rock salt, which can also be found under a more professional name such as “halityte”, is extremely popular. It accompanies us, for example, in the form of table salt or industrial salt, which is used in the case of icy sidewalks and roads. Currently, it is hard to imagine functioning without salt, the use of which is extremely wide both in the chemical and food industries, and even in the construction of measuring equipment. It is also used in natural medicine and cosmetics. So it looks like salt is ubiquitous!
It is assumed that information about salt could already be found in Egyptian documents. Few people, however, are probably aware of the benefits of this mineral.
Characteristics of rock salt
Halite is a mineral whose main component is sodium chloride. It is formed as a result of the crystallization of salty lakes and sea waters. Its characteristic features are solubility in water and good thermal conductivity. Under the influence of a properly selected temperature, it can even undergo deformation. Most often, however, we can meet it in the form of a crystal in the form of a cube. In turn, due to pressure, this mineral is able to change its physical properties.
Where can we find deposits of this mineral? They occur e.g. in Kujawy, Lower Silesia, Wielkopolska or Małopolska (in this case, however, they are no longer exploited). It happened that while searching for deposits of other raw materials, deposits of rock salt were discovered! This does not mean, however, that the deposits occur only in Poland. They are also extremely common in countries such as Italy, France, Spain, India, etc., i.e. in regions that are characterized by a dry climate.
The most popular object that every Pole associates with the salt mine is, of course, the one located in Wieliczka. Currently, the mine is not functioning, and is only a tourist attraction in the form of a museum. According to statistics from 2013, 4.2 million tons of this mineral were extracted in Poland alone.
Deposits – what does it involve?
The search for mineral deposits undoubtedly requires effort. Currently, in order to detect them, so-called deposit research , which is necessary if we are considering starting our own mine.
Geological exploration of deposits is a process that includes a wide range of activities such as prospecting, testing and appraisal of deposits. This requires specialist knowledge, which unfortunately we do not always have, especially since these activities are also associated with the preparation of documentation.
However, nothing is lost, because on the market we can meet numerous companies that offer, among others, drilling, preparation of appropriate documentation of deposits , or execution of geological works projects. In the case of rock salt, its extraction takes place in about a hundred countries around the world! It used to be an extremely dangerous process, but with the development of technology, this activity has been improved thanks to machines, while ensuring exceptional efficiency. The equipment that is used is of the highest quality and emphasis is placed on being, above all, precise. Investments related to this are actively supported by geological companies.
The field called geology…
Any form of extraction of raw materials requires the help of a geologist. In other words, without his participation, the activity has no right to exist. It is such specialists who will be able to specify the size of the deposits and whether it is worth considering and extracting the desired mineral from them at all. In this case, it is also important for the geologist to determine what impact the mine may have on the surroundings in which it will be located.
Geology is a field well known in the world of science. Without it, we would not know the minerals we are interested in so well, including rock salt. Due to the huge demand for this type of services, a special geology department was established, namely deposit geology, which is designed to search for specific minerals. We can also come across such fields as mine geology and mineral geology. If this topic is interesting for us and we want to become specialists in this field, universities and polytechnics have expanded their educational offer with a field of study such as mining geology. We can undertake studies at the AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków or at the Silesian University of Technology.
The process of formation of rock salt deposits
Geologists believe that rock salt deposits are formed by the accumulation of sodium chloride, coming from the above-mentioned seas and lakes. The process of evaporation, i.e. evaporation of water, is necessary for this. In addition, there must be a suitable climate, namely a dry and warm climate. As a result, precipitation of poorly soluble components occurs. The concentration gradually increased, and in the end it was rock salt that crystallized. It is believed that the deposits were formed about 250 million years ago. One of the oldest traces of the exploitation of rock salt deposits was found in Inowrocław. Most likely, it took place between the 7th and 8th centuries BC