Barite deposits are known to be present in 23 counties in Kentucky, principally in the Central Kentucky Mineral District and the Western Kentucky Fluorspar District. Field investigations and a literature search indicate the presence of barite at more than 170 outcrops, prospects, and abandoned mines.
Geologically, most of the Kentucky barite deposits are classified as vein or residual deposits. The vein deposits are cavity and breccia fills along faults and joints, commonly in limestone. Residual deposits occur in an unconsolidated clayey residuum formed by weathering of preexisting vein or breccia deposits. Most deposits are mixed ores commonly containing calcite, fluorite, galena, and sphalerite. Host rocks are almost exclusively formations of Ordovician and Mississippian ages.
Barite production in Kentucky has been small, and most has been from residual or "gravel'' deposits in weathered material above fault zones. Since barite is commonly associated with fluorspar and the two minerals have been difficult to separate in milling operations, mixed ores have been bypassed in a number of instances and little quantitative information is available on them. Further evaluation will require additional exploration, and, particularly, more core drilling. There were no active barite mines in Kentucky at the time of this investigation.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Anderson, Warren H.; Trace, Robert D.; and McGrain, Preston, "Barite Deposits of Kentucky" (1982). Kentucky Geological Survey Bulletin. 2.