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celestine(sĕl`əstĭn, –tīn), mineral appearing in blue-tinged or white orthorhombic crystals or in fibrous masses. The natural sulfate of strontium, SrSO4, it is important as a source of strontium and of certain of its compounds, e.g., strontium hydroxide, used in refining beet sugar, and strontium nitrate, used in red signal flares. It occurs in England, in Sicily, and in the United States on islands in Lake Erie and also in Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio.
a mineral of the sulfate class, with the composition SrSO4. Celestite often contains admixtures of Ca and Ba. It crystallizes in the orthorhombic system, forming tabular or columnar crystals. Its segregations are often in the form of nodules or concretions, in which the mineral forms fibrous or granular aggregates. Celestite’s color, which is due to various point defects of the crystal structure, may be light blue or gray-blue, with a red or yellow tinge, but it disappears upon heating. The density is about 4,000 kg/m3, and the hardness is 3.0–3.5 on Mohs’ scale.
The primary deposits usually occur in limestones, dolomites, and gypsum, in which celestite is associated with sulfur, rock salt, aragonite, and calcite. The principal deposits in the USSR are located in Middle Asia, the Volga Region, and the southern Urals. There are also major deposits in Great Britain, the Federal Republic of Germany, the United States, and Italy. Celestite is a raw material for the production of strontium compounds, which are used in the sugar, glass, ceramics, and pharmaceutical industries, in the production of pyrotechnics, and in metallurgy for the manufacture of special alloys.