Geopic of the week: Salt

Salt

Everyone is familiar with salt, but have you ever seen it up close?  The picture above is a magnified image of table salt.  Notice that each piece is a near-perfect cube.  This is no coincidence.  Salt, which has the chemical formula NaCl (sodium chloride), is a mineral and as such, it has a regular internal structure (a crystalline structure).  The arrangement of the atoms that make up salt form cube-shaped molecules; when a piece of salt is broken down into smaller fragments, it tends to break into cubes.

Salt is not currently produced commercially in Arkansas, but there are abundant salt deposits in the state both at the surface and underground.  Salt from shallow wells in Saline County was produced locally by settlers to the area in the early 1800’s, and by Native Americans prior to that.  The majority of Arkansas salt is extracted with petroleum from deep wells in southern Arkansas.  

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