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.
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