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borate mineral, hydrated sodium borate (Na2B4O74H2O), that was formerly the chief source of borax (q.v.). It forms very large crystals, often 60 to 90 centimetres (2 to 3 feet) thick; the largest observed measured 240 by 90 cm. The crystals are colourless and transparent but are usually covered by a surface film of opaque white tincalconite. Kernite is associated with other borate minerals as veins, irregular masses, and crystals embedded in shale, as in Kern County, Calif., and Catamarca province, Argentina. For detailed physical properties, see borate mineral (table)

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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