Soapstones are crystalline-textured, talc-rich metamorphic rocks.  Essentially pure talcose soapstone is called steatite ("soapstone" and "steatite" are sometimes considered synonyms).  Being composed of talc (magnesium hydroxy-silicate - Mg3Si4O10(OH)2), soapstone has a soapy feel and is very soft - it is easily scratched.


Soapstone (steatite) (5 cm across) - this is commercial-grade steatite.  This rock comes from a quarry owned by Steatite of Southern Oregon, apparently located near the crest of Elliott Creek Ridge (sections 9-11, T41S, R3W, Squaw Lakes 7.5' USGS topographic quadrangle) in far-southwestern Jackson County, southwestern Oregon, USA.

Location: apparently at about 42 0' 57" North, 123 2' 11" West.

Steatite in the Elliott Creek Ridge area has a metamorphic date of 141 million years (early Early Cretaceous). It formed by metamorphic alteration of serpentinized peridotites/ultramafites.




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