Gypsum [гіпс; hips]. Mineral, hydrous calcium sulfate. In nature it is usually found in a granular (alabaster), fibrous (selenite), or crystalline form. Pure gypsum is colorless and transparent; different impurities give it different colors. Gypsum is used widely in manufacturing cementing materials, paints, enamels, and glazes; in improving the soil (gypsuming); in medicine and optics. Before 1917 gypsum was produced mostly on a seasonal basis using artisan techniques. In 1913 Ukraine produced only 62,000 t, which accounted for 31 percent of the total gypsum production of the Russian Empire. By 1940 Ukraine's gypsum production reached 892,000 t, and by 1983, 956,000 t or approximately 29 percent of USSR production. The largest deposits of gypsum lie in the Donets Basin, and were formed in the Permian period. Second in importance are the deposits along the Dnister River in Western Ukraine. Smaller deposits are located in Sumy oblast, Poltava oblast, and in Crimea.
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1988).]