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Light-coloured, porous, and friable sedimentary rock composed of the frustrules (silicate cell walls) of diatoms. It is used in industrial filtration applications; as a filler or extender in paper, paint, brick, tile, ceramics, linoleum, plastic, soap, detergent, and other products; in insulation for boilers, blast furnaces, and other high-temperature devices; as a sound insulator; and as a carrier for herbicides and fungicides. The oldest and best-known commercial use is as a very mild abrasive in metal polishes and toothpaste. Large deposits occur in California, Nevada, Washington, and Oregon; other sources are Denmark, France, Russia, and Algeria.
Variants of DIATOMACEOUS EARTH
diatomaceous earth or kieselguhr
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on diatomaceous earth, visit Britannica.com.