Halite (salt)

Conveyor belt in Reno County salt mine
Salt mine conveyor belt, Reno County.


Also called table or common salt, halite is an evaporite because it precipitates (settles) out of water as the water evaporates. (Gypsum and anhydrite are also evaporites.) As seawater evaporates, the precipitated halite settles on the sea floor. Halite is easy to identify because it tastes salty and dissolves easily in water. Broken fragments of halite may be nearly cube-shaped.

In Kansas, salt is found in thick beds deep underground. Salt in these thick layers is known as rock salt. Extensive salt beds that are, on average, about 250 feet thick and between 500 and 1,000 feet deep are mined in central Kansas.

Chemical compound: sodium chloride
Chemical formula: NaCl (Na = sodium, Cl = chlorine)
Color: usually colorless or white when pure but may be colored by impurities
Specific gravity: 2.16
Luster: glassy
Hardness: 2.5
Amount of transparency: transparent to translucent



Buchanan, R., 2010, Kansas Geology: An Introduction to Landscapes, Rocks, Minerals, and Fossils (2nd ed.): Lawrence, Kansas, University Press of Kansas, 240 p.

Buchanan, R., and McCauley, J. R., 2010, Roadside Kansas: A Traveler's Guide to Its Geology and Landmarks (2nd ed.): Lawrence, Kansas, University Press of Kansas, 392 p.

Kansas Rocks and Minerals, Kansas Geological Survey Educational Series 2