Diatomite is a chalk-like, soft, friable, earthy, very fine-grained, siliceous sedimentary rock, usually light in color (white if pure, commonly buff to gray in situ, and rarely black). It is very finely porous, very low in density (floating on water at least until saturated), and essentially chemically inert in most liquids and gases. It also has low thermal conductivity and a rather high fusion point. Diatomite is now used principally as a filter aid; but it has many other applications, such as an absorbent for industrial spills and as pet litter, a filler in a variety of products from paints to dry chemicals, an insulation material as sawn and molded shapes as well as loose granular, a mild abrasive in polishes, and a silica additive in cement and various other compounds.
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| 1932-1993 |
Freshwater Diatomite Deposits in the Western United States
Fact Sheet 2006-3044
- Historical Statistics for Mineral and Material Commodities in the United States
Data Series 140
- USGS Mineral Commodity Specialist
Robert D. Crangle, Jr.