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What Is Soapstone?

What is soapstone

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What is soapstone? Soapstone is a metamorphic rock. It largely consists of talc, therefore, rich in magnesium. It is formed by dynathermal metasomatism and metamorphism, which occurs where tectonic plates are, subducted thereby changing the rocks by pressure and heat, with fluids influx, but without melting. It is also known as steatite or Soaprock. This stone has been used for carving for in excess of a thousand years. It is mined like Marble and Granite. It primarily comprises of dolomite, magnesium, chlorite and talc. The age can be from 300 to 400 million years depending on which region of the world it is quarried.

Soapstone is very soft to touch and gives a smooth feeling as if you are rubbing a piece of dry soap, which is described as being “soapy” thus the name Soapstone. It has a unique history and is regarded as the original stone countertop. By the 19th century, it was already being used as countertops, bed warmers, hearthstones as well as other applications. Even before this period, by 2000 BC, it was already being used to create cookware.

Today, a good volume of the Soapstone is quarried in Brazil, which has a huge deposit of it. The oldest cookware formations and carvings made in Soapstone can be found in Brazil. The famous state called “Christ the Redeemer” in Rio de Janeiro is made with Soapstone. Finland is the home of one of the world’s oldest sculpture, which dates back to the 7000 BC is made of a soapstone elk head. A lot of architectural buildings dating back to 12th century in India were built with Soapstone. This gives credence to the durability of the stone.

Original soapstone is inert. Acids and alkalis cannot affect it as it does marbles and granites or slate. For more than one hundred years, it was used in the making of tiles and sinks also in science laboratories along with counter tops and work tables. Because of Soapstones texture and aesthetic appeal, it is very popular among architects and designers to build windows sills, stair treads, island tops, and balusters.

So, when considering, what is soapstone used for, it is always good to note thatis has great heat retention capabilities, Soapstone is popularly used for wood stoves, masonry heater fireplaces, pizza ovens and fireplace liners. Heaters and fireplaces made of Soapstone heat up very fast from burning pellets, coal or wood, and the Soapstone will radiate this heat evenly for many hours, even after the fire has long gone out.

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