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Sources of Potash

Naturevolume 100pages344347 (1918) | Download Citation



AS is well known, the world's supply of potash during the last three years has been greatly curtailed owing to the present isolation of Germany, and compounds of potassium have, con sequently, greatly increased in price. This, of course, has acted adversely on the interests of agriculture, of medicine, and of numberless pro cesses in the arts which are more or less dependent upon the use of potash compounds. Up to within comparatively recent times such potash as the world needed was obtained from sea-water, either directly, or indirectly through the medium of seaplants (kelp or varec); by the incineration of land-plants (wood-ashes); from vinasse, or the residue left on distilling fermented beetroot molasses; from suint, or the “yolk” of sheep's wool, etc. These still continue to be sources of potash, but they are of comparatively subordinate importance when compared with the relatively enormous output of the Stassfurt deposits. AH these sources, includ ing those of the Stassfurt beds, are ultimately dependent on the primitive rocks of the earth—that is, to the decomposition of such minerals as potash felspar, potash mica, and the vast number of zeolites and other silicates which make up much of the rock-forming material.

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    Cf. Prof. Lunge, in Thorpe s “Dictionary of Applied Chemistry."

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