Anhydrite is a mineral—anhydrous calcium sulfate. The colour is white, sometimes greyish, bluish or purple.
Anhydrite is most frequently found in salt deposits with gypsum; it was, for instance, first discovered, in 1794, in a salt mine near Hall in Tirol. In this occurrence depth is critical since nearer the surface anhydrite has been altered to gypsum by absorption of circulating ground water. From an aqueous solution calcium sulfate is deposited as crystals of gypsum, but when the solution contains an excess of sodium or potassium chloride anhydrite is deposited. This is one of the several methods by which the mineral has been prepared artificially, and is identical with its mode of origin in nature, the mineral is common in salt basins.
The name anhydrite was given by A. G. Werner in 1804, because of the absence of water of crystallization, as contrasted with the presence of water in gypsum. Some other names for the species are muriacite and karstenite; the former, an earlier name, being given under the impression that the substance was a chloride (muriate).
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