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Ulexite Hydrated Sodium Calcium Borate Hydroxide

Ulexite is a mineral which occurs in a silky white rounded crystalline masses or in parallel fibers. The name, Ulexite has been given after a German chemist G. L. Ulex of the 19th century, who discovered the mineral.

The structure of Ulexite is a bit complex. The basic structure contain chains of sodium, water and hydroxide octahedrons. The chains have been linked together by calcium, water, hydroxide and oxygen polyhedra and massive boron units. The basic boron unit's formula is B5O6(OH)6 and has a charge of -3. It is composed of three borate tetrahedrons and two borate triangular groups.

Ulexite is found with the borax mineral and is directly deposited in the arid regions from the evaporation of water in intermittent lakes known as playas. Playas forms during the rainy seasons only due to the runoff from the nearby mountains. These runoffs are rich in element boron.

Ulexite is also found in the vein-like bedding habit composed of closely-packed fibrous crystals. This varity of ulexite is called TV Rock. It is very popular in many of the rock shops, particularly with children. The fibers of the TV Rock is like fiber optics. It transmits light along its lengths by internal reflection. A well polished flat cut TV Rock displays an image of whatever surface is adjacent to its other side.

Ulexite decomposes in hot water.

Physical Properties of Ulexite

Color White of gray to colorless
Luster Silky
Transparency Crystals are transparent to translucent
Crystal system Triclinic; bar 1
Crystal habits Tufts of acicular crystal known as "cotton balls." It is also as vein-like masses of parallel fibrous crystals.
Cleavage Perfect in one direction
Fracture Fibrous
Hardness 2 (more soft than a fingernail)
Specific gravity Approximately 1.97 (very low density)
Streak White

Associated Minerals of Ulexite

Uses of Ulexite

Occurrences of Ulexite

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