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WikiProject Rocks and minerals (Rated C-class, Low-importance)
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This sentence coudl use a rephrasing as Natron does not exactly 'eat' does it?

It ate the flesh-eating bacteria that would decompose the body.

Natron kills microbes through both its severe drying action and high pH. Gwen Gale 01:13, 31 March 2007 (UTC)


The "Use in Antiquity" section mentions "At the same time the bicarbonate...". What bicarbonate? The foreward for Natron only describes sodium carbonate decahydrate; no bicarbonate at all. However, the Wikipedia entry for Sodium Carbonate refers to natron as "a combination of sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate" (which is more in line with what I thought natron is). Which is correct? Is natron exclusively Na2(CO3)•10(H2O)? Or is it a blend of sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate? (If so, is this combination what I sometimes see referred to as sodium sesquicarbonate?) 15:44, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

It's mostly a mixture of these two minerals, I've put this in the text. Gwen Gale 08:49, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
I've seen some "mineral buff" websites which describe natron as simple hydrated sodium carbonate, they're mistaken. Gwen Gale 03:41, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Not mistaken, just using a different nomenclature/jargon. When geologists or mineralogists refer to compounds, they use different terms or terms differently than chemists or historians. The term natron derived of course historically, referring to a deposit of sodium carbonate mineral in egypt. As a natural deposit, it was mixture of the decahydrate and bicarbonate (see e.g. geology section). In modern times, mineralogists started naming the individual minerals in a deposit - and natron was chosen as the mineral name of the chemical compound sodium carbonate decahydrate. And this term is used in this way in the respective text books, journals and other scientific publications. This might annoy the linguistic purist, but this is how language is used. Sodium bicarbonate as a mineral is called nahcolite (derived from the chemical formula NaHCO3) - the historical natron is composed of the minerals natron, nahcolite as well as traces of halite, thenardite, calcite, etc.Mirkano (talk) 09:49, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

Yes, it's true, I'd since learned there are parallel nomenclatures. Thanks for writing this clarification. Gwen Gale (talk) 15:09, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

The mineral deposits are more likely in general to be sodium sesquicarbonate dihydrate Na2CO3. NaHCO3. 2H2O. This crystallises out fairly easily from water solutions, particularly hot water. A mixture of sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate is much less likely to form, because the solubility of the two is different.

Confusion of Nitre, Natron and other salts[edit]

In ancient times, it was difficult to distinguish between different substances of similar appearance. Sodium chloride (rock salt) was sometimes confused with Sodium nitrate (nitre,saltpetre) and Sodium Carbonates (natron). References to Egyptian tomb scribes using "ntrj" mixed with oil in their lamps to reduce smoke must refer to Sodium nitrate (which is a strong oxidising agent). Carbonates are not oxidising agents, in fact, potassium carbonate was extracted out of wood ash (leading to the name "potash").


Deposits of sodium sesquicarbonate in Africa were sometimes known as Trona (word presumably derived from Natron).

Misleading image[edit]

The picture (Natron-3.jpg) shows a Norwegian bag labeled "natron", but the Norwegian term natron is equivalent to what the rest of the world calls baking soda, so the picture is misleading. This is also stated in its description, which translates to "Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) leavening agent".Johslarsen (talk) 21:54, 4 June 2013 (UTC)

Thanks. Removed the image. Brycehughes (talk) 22:48, 4 June 2013 (UTC)


I've moved the following text here:

Typical impurities include 1.2% silica, 1.5% lime, 0.6% potash, 0.6% magnesia, 0.6% alumina and 0.7% iron oxide.

These seem so precise as to be limited to a single geographical location or region. Either way, is there a supporting citation? Gwen Gale (talk) 19:43, 11 February 2008 (UTC)


which derived from the Ancient Egyptian word netjeri meaning Sodium

The ancient Egyptians had a word for sodium? I seriously doubt that. I imagine that the word meant "natron", which is quite different. (talk) 11:28, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for spotting that, yes, the text got muddled somewhere along the way. Gwen Gale (talk) 13:26, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

The ancient Egyptian ntr.j means "divine", "sacred" occasionally "pure" and the cognate ntrj means natron. The hieroglyphic orthography given in the main article is childish and incorrect. (For the correct form see: A. Erman - H. Grapow, Wörterbuch der aegyptischen Sprache, Bd. II. p. 366.) --St. Palamon (talk) 13:22, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

Yep, hadn't looked at this article in a long time, I've rm'd the hieroglyphic as unsourced. Gwen Gale (talk) 17:17, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

True or not?[edit]

I removed this:

nahcolite[1] or

on the idea that the mineral name refers to a crystal mineral form that was first described in 1928, so it doesn't refer to just any occurrence of bicarbonate of soda. (talk) 23:02, 23 October 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^, "Nahcolite", retrieved 5 July 2008