Kentucky Geological Survey Information Circular


Barium is a silver-white alkaline earth metal that is not found free in nature because it is highly reactive with sulfate and carbonate. Barium compounds can be naturally occurring or man-made. The most common natural occurrence of barium is in the mineral barite (barium sulfate), which has many uses in industry, such as a filler in the making of rubber, plastic and resin, white pigment, drilling lubricants used in the oil and gas industry, paint, bricks and glass (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 2004). Barium sulfate is very slightly soluble in water and absorbs X-rays, making it an excellent material for producing X-ray images of the intestinal tract (patients drink a barium sulfate mixture prior to being X-rayed).

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Series XII

Report Number

Information Circular 11

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© 2006 Kentucky Geological Survey, University of Kentucky

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