Soapstone is a metamorphic rock
rich in magnesium and iron. It is produced by dynamothermal metamorphism, which occurs at the areas where tectonic plates are subducted, changing rocks by heat and pressure, and without melting. Steatite is a type of soapstone.
It is relatively soft, and may feel soapy when touched, hence the name. Soapstone is used for inlaid designs, sculpture and for kitchen countertops and sinks. Traditional Inuit carvings often use soapstone. Soapstone is sometimes used for fireplace surrounds because it can absorb and evenly distribute heat while being easy to manufacture. The same heat-trapping property makes it suitable for the manufacture of woodstoves. It is also used for griddles and other cookware.
Soapstone is also used by welders and fabricators as a marker because, due to its resistance to heat, it remains visible when heat is applied.
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