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Re: Potash

On Fri, 19 May 2000 Paul Krombholz wrote:

> The Murate of potash I bought was heavily contaminated with a reddish
> substance that doesn't dissolve, and is probably iron oxide.  It will
> settle out of solution, or it can be filtered out.

Possibly the product you bought is mill-run potassium chloride (called
sylvite in Geology lingo), possibly from the mines in southeast New
Mexico.  I toured one of those mines a few (Ok, more than a few) years
ago.  Sylvite is colorless until it hits humid air and turns white, but
there was always a small amount of pink to red stuff between the crystals
of sylvite, giving the whole deposit an over-all pinkish hue.  I think the
reddish contaminant is actually clay rather than iron oxide.  Either way
it's harmless.

One of the problems with using agricultural-grade chemicals is that
contaminants like the red stuff in sylvite should be common.  Hopefully
the contaminants will not be harmful.  The alternative is to use more
expensive, higher quality material like USP grade chemicals from which
most of the contaminants have been removed.

Roger Miller