These deposits, in addition to common salt, include the following minerals: sylvine, KC1; carnallite, KC1 MgC12.6H20 (transparent, deliquescent crystals, often red with diffused oxide of iron); kainite, K 2 SO 4 MgSO 4 MgC1 2 6H 2 O (hard crystalline masses, permanent in the air); kieserite MgS04 H20 (only very slowly dissolved by water); besides polyhalite, MgSO 4 K 2 SO 4.2CaSO 4.2H20anhydrite, CaSO 4; salt, NaC1, and some minor components.
These potassium minerals are not confined to Stassfurt; larger quantities of sylvine and kainite are met with in the salt mines of Kalusz in the eastern Carpathian Mountains.
It was obtained as a by-product in many chemical reactions, and subsequently used to be extracted from kainite, one of the Stassfurt minerals, but the process is now given up because the salt can be produced cheaply enough from the chloride by decomposing it with sulphuric acid and calcining the residue.
Magnesium is found widely distributed in nature, chiefly in the forms of silicate, carbonate and chloride, and occurring in the minerals olivine, hornblende, talc, asbestos, meerschaum, augite, dolomite, magnesite, carnallite, kieserite and kainite.
The mother-liquor now falls to a specific gravity of 1.3082 to 1.2965, and yields a very mixed deposit of magnesium bromide and chloride, potassium chloride and magnesium sulphate, with the double magnesium and potassium sulphate, corresponding to the kainite of Stassfurt.