A soft, w hite, earthy deposit of hydrated silica, being the siliceous skeletons of minute aquatic plants knoftn as diatoms, found in Germany, the United States, and many other parts of the world. It is generally associated with earthy impurities, and contains from 65 to 87 per cent. Si02, 23 to 11*7 per cent. A1203, up to 3 per cent. Fe2<3, small proportions of the oxides of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium, and from 5to 14 per cent, water. It id of great absorbent capacity, capable of taking up about four times its own weight of water and having a sp. gr. of about 033. It is largely used as an absorbent for carrying liquid petroleum, in the manufacture of dynamite, as a filtering material, iii ceramics, as an abrasive, cleanser, and polishing agent, and i>i compounding mixtures for boiler coverings, etc.
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