The phosphorous cycle filters through both the biological and geological worlds, and sedimentary phosphates exist at the interface between these two portions of the global phosphorous cycle. Sedimentary phosphates form only when the proper physical conditions and biological activity coincide. Once deposited, the phosphate (PO43−) crystallizes into the mineral carbonate-fluorapatite (CFA). This mineral, with substitution of CO32− for PO43−, compositionally falls between the familiar forms of fluorapatite found in igneous and metamorphic rocks and the apatites found in biological material, including our own bones and teeth. Finally, through mining and processing, it...

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