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apatite (ăpˈətĪt) [key], mineral, a phosphate of calcium containing chlorine or fluorine, or both, that is transparent to opaque in shades of green, brown, yellow, white, red, and purple. Apatite is a minor constituent in igneous and metamorphic rocks. Yellow-green asparagus stone and blue-green manganapatite are used in jewelry. Apatite is mined to make phosphatic fertilizers and is used in fission track dating of rocks (see dating). Commercial deposits are mined in Idaho, Tennessee, and Wyoming, and in N Africa and Russia.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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