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                                         Information @ a Glance
General
  • Soapstone (also known as steatite or soaprock) is a metamorphic rock, a talc-schist. It is largely composed of the mineral
    talc and is rich in magnesium. It is produced by dynamothermal metamorphism and metasomatism, which occurs at the areas where tectonic plates are subducted, changing rocks by heat and pressure, with influx of fluids, but without melting.
  • It has been a medium for carving for thousands of years. It is relatively soft, and may feel soapy when touched, hence the
    name.

Process

  • Talc, which is a soft, hydrous magnesium silicate , is used in a wide range of industries including the  manufacture of ceramics, paints, paper, and asphalt roofing.
  • The end-uses for talc are determined by variables such as chemical and mineralogical composition, particle size and shape, specific gravity, hardness, and color. There is no Source Classification Code (SCC) for the source category.
  • Mining operations usually consist of conventional drilling and blasting methods.

Application

  • Soapstone is used for inlaid designs, sculpture, coasters, and kitchen countertops and sinks.
  • Traditional Inuit carvings often use soapstone, and some Native American groups made bowls, cooking slabs, and other objects from soapstone, particularly during the Late Archaic archaeological period.
  • Soapstone is sometimes used for fireplace surrounds and woodstoves because it can absorb and evenly distribute heat while being easy to manufacture. This is found in many upscale Alaskan homes.
  • It is also used for griddles and other cookware.

Report

  • An Island off the coast from Los Angeles has extensive steatite outcrops and an aboriginal industry that is over 4,000 years
    old.
  • Steatite was widely used for labrets, earspools, and pendants and to a lesser extent, bowls by 5,000 years ago.
  • Steatite and talc-carbonate rocks are a result of the partial or total transformation of serpentinite by metamorphic
    processes.

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