The Mineral Gypsum


gypsum mineral picture

mineral gypsum

The mineral Gypsum is chemically named as “calcium sulfate dehydrate”. The composition of Gypsum is sulfur attached to oxygen, calcium and water. Gypsum is in abundance; it attains forms like alabaster – the element that was used for construction and decoration which dates back to early Egypt. The world’s biggest dune field of Gypsum is the White Sands National Monument in Mexico. This mineral is not toxic and is used by human beings for plant life and animals and also the environment. Most of the Gypsum manufactured in North America in made use either in building plaster or in the manufacture of Gypsum boards. Gypsum has multiple uses.

Natural Gypsum is obtained in the formation of sedimentary rock, available in more than 85 countries. A great quantity of the reserve of superior-quality Gypsum is with the United States, Mexico and Canada. The mining of Gypsum is done in 17 states which are the main manufacturers of gypsum

Among them are Utah, Texas and Iowa and also New Mexico


The usual mineral Gypsum having a thick and wide spread evaporite beds linked with deposits of sedimentary rock, are believed to appear in the form of strata, which dates back to an indefinite period. Gypsum is obtained from the deposits of sea water and lakes and also in hot springs, solutions of sulfate in veins, and in volcanic vapors. Ground water normally hydrates hydrothermal anhydrite seen in veins into gypsum. When out in the open surface, it is frequently linked with Sulfur and Halite. Pure Gypsum though, is white in color, but local deposits may show a variety of colors due to the influx of impurities. You can also find them In deposits and sedimentary rocks; oxidized areas of deposits of ores, saline lakes; deposits from volcanic activity, and in Michigan; Utah; South Dakota; Colorado; New York; New Mexico; Kansas and other states.

Derivation of Name

Gypsum is the derivation of the Greek word γύψος (gypsos), "plaster or "chalk".

In the earlier English, Gypsum was considered as spærstān, or "spear stone”, taking into consideration its crystalline projections. (Therefore, in mineralogy, the word spar is compared to gypsum, with reference to minerals that are not-ore or in the form of crystals in projections resembling a sphere).

Chemical Formulae

CaSO4•2 (H2O)

Physical characteristics

  • Color is - White, Yellowish white Colorless, Brown and Greenish white

  • Luster-Pearly

  • Transparency- Translucent to Transparent.

  • Fracture - Fibrous - Thin, intersecting cleavages (e.g. Asbestos). Elongated fractures produced by crystal forms.

  • Associated minerals

  • Hardness - 2 - Gypsum

  • Density - 2.3


Gypsum is used for many other purposes.

  • Gypsum in the form of cement blocks for building construction or for Gypsum boards.

  • Plaster ingredient (surgical splints)

  • Fertilizer and soil conditioner: In the late 18th and early 19th centuries

  • As alabaster, a material for sculpture

  • A common ingredient in making mead

  • Gypsum mortar

  • A binder in fast-dry tennis court clay

  • A component of Portland cement used to prevent flash setting of concrete

  • In foot creams, shampoos and many other hair products

Mythical Uses Chinese medicine

Gypsum even though not an herb, it is by all means an important constituent of the Chinese medicine. In fact Gypsum is a mineral whose constituents are sulfur, calcium and little quantities of many other elements. The usual variety of Gypsum is fibrous; it is translucent, having a satin, silky appearance.


The huge alabaster, which is of fine-grains is carved into shapes and polished for ornament and statuary purposes. Gypsum in its translucent and pure form is Gypsite that consists of crumbly, powdery and fine particles (called pulverulent).

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