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Bauxite From Arkansas


Bauxite is not a mineral, but rather a group of aluminum oxides. The term is generally used to describe the economically important mixture of these minerals, which form a mass of the individually classified members of Gibbsite, Boehmite, and Diaspore. Bauxite does not make aesthetic or interesting specimens as far as collectors are concerned, but it holds importance as being the primary ore of the metal aluminum. Bauxite is named after the French village of Les Baux, where it was first recognized as an aluminum ore.
Chemical Formula Al(OH)3 with possible additional Al and (OH)
Composition Basic aluminum hydroxide
Color Beige, yellow, white, gray, brown, reddish-brown, pink
Streak White
Hardness 1 - 3
Crystal System Amorphous
Crystal Forms
and Aggregates
Most often as pisolitic and oolitic spherical masses within a matrix. Also massive, botryoidal, and in clay-like masses. Sometimes in nodules with tiny crystals lining cavities within the nodules.
Transparency Opaque
Specific Gravity 2.0 - 2.6
Luster Dull
Cleavage None
Fracture Earthy
Tenacity Brittle
In Group Oxides; Hydroxides
Striking Features Formation habits and mode of occurence
Environment As a secondary mineral forming in the weathered surface zones in clay deposits and limestones, as well as low-silica igneous rocks.
Rock Type Igneous, Sedimentary
Popularity (1-4) 2
Prevalence (1-3) 2
Demand (1-3) 1


Bauxite is mined extensively for its economical value as the principle ore of aluminum.

Since Bauxite specimens are not well-represented in collections due to their lack of aesthetics, this guide will not list specific localities but will rather list countries that are important producers. These include Australia, China, Brazil, Jamaica, Suriname, Guyana, French Guiana, Venezuela, Vietnam, India, and Russia. In the U.S., the leading Bauxite producer is Arkansas, which even has a town called Bauxite named after its once-famous reserves. Other states with Bauxite deposits are Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Gibbsite, Boehmite, Diaspore, Goethite

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