Alabaster is a mineral or rock that is soft and often used for carving, as well as being processed for plaster powder. The term is used in different ways by archaeologists and the stone processing industry on the one hand, and geologists on the other. The first use is in a wider meaning, covering varieties of two different minerals: the fine-grained massive type of gypsum, as well as the fine-grained banded type of calcite. Geologists only define the gypsum variety as alabaster. Chemically, gypsum is a hydrous sulfate of calcium, while calcite is a carbonate of calcium. MORE
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