Baryte

Weighty mineral

Some of the Triassic rocks of East Devon contain nodules filled with quite rare and exotic minerals. Baryte is composed of barium sulphate. It is a very important commercial mineral that is particularly used as a component of drilling fluids in oil wells. Because baryte is extraordinarily heavy, it creates the hydraulic pressure required to keep gas, oil and water contained under the ground. Without that weight, the oil and gas would displace the fluids in the oil well and burst out at the surface forming a blowout which could easily destroy the oil rig and cause massive pollution.

Find out more on the rocks and pseudofossils page.

Common name

Baryte

Type

Rocks and Pseudofossils


Strata

Otter Sandstone

Time period

Triassic

Age

225 million years

Where found

In cliffs below Peak Hill, Sidmouth

Found by

Unknown

Museum

Sidmouth Museum

Accession number

SID.G147.2009