‹‹ Colorado Postcards

Baking Soda

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1min 00sec
Nahcolite and baking soda

Whether you're a baker or not, you probably have a box of baking soda at home. It’s a household multitasker. And there’s a good chance your baking soda came from Colorado. The northwest corner of the state holds one of the world’s largest deposits of nahcolite, naturally-occurring sodium bicarbonate that formed 50 million years ago, when Colorado was much warmer and wetter. Rain carried sodium from rocks into a huge ancient lake, with no outlet to the sea. Those salty waters became concentrated and dissolved carbon dioxide – the building blocks of nahcolite – named for its chemical formula: Na (for sodium), H, C and O. Today it’s mined with hot water pumped nearly two thousand feet underground to dissolve the mineral. And from this solution, sodium bicarbonate is extracted: for pharmaceuticals, animal feed, as well as in your cakes and cookies, and cleaning products.

About Colorado Postcards

Colorado Postcards are snapshots of our colorful state in sound. They give brief insights into our people and places, our flora and fauna, and our past and present, from every corner of Colorado.