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Gypsum (hydrated calcium sulfate)

An evaporite is a type of sedimentary rock that forms when a body of water evaporates leaving behind the minerals that were dissolved within. Evaporites result from numerous water-soluble minerals. They are inorganic chemical sediments that have precipitated out of solution when there became is insufficient solvent to keep the minerals soluble. The crystallization of minerals ultimately happens upon extensive or total evaporation of a body of water.

The precipitation of evaporites happens because solvents can only hold a limited amount of dissolved substances. This limit is known as the saturation point. A solvent, like water, will eventually reach the saturation point if solutes continue to be added, or when the water evaporates sufficiently. Most evaporites are derived from bodies of salt water, such as seas or saline lakes. Examples of evaporites include rock salt (Halite) and gypsum pictured at right.

Vast Quantities of Evaporites

Gypsum - White Sands National Monument

Evaporites are a clear testament of the Biblical flood. They prove that vast bodies of water once covered all continents, much of which evaporated leaving behind extensive crystalline deposits. Evaporite deposits, such as gypsum, can be found all over the world. The largest gypsum deposit is the White Sands National Monument located in South Central New Mexico. Massive dunes of gypsum engulf 275 square miles of what is now the New Mexico desert.

Locations of Gypsum mines.

Related References

See Also