Dictionary > Diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth

Definition
noun
A type of silica-rich dirt which is soft, fine-grained, porous, light-coloured, and composed of the fossilized remains of diatoms, i.e. single-celled, siliceous organisms
Supplement
Diatomaceous earth is a fine-grained, porous, powdery earth (i.e. soil and dirt, as distinguished from rock and sand). It is soft and light-coloured. It is composed of the fossilized skeletons or remains of diatoms. Diatoms are a major group of microscopic algae and are among the most common types of phytoplankton. Most diatoms are unicellular, although some form chains or simple colonies. A characteristic feature of diatom cells is that they are encased within a unique cell wall made of silica. These walls show a wide diversity in form, some quite beautiful and ornate, but usually consist of two symmetrical sides with a split between them, hence the group name.
Diatomaceous earth forms from the accumulation of the amorphous silica and the remains of diatoms in marine sediments. The particle size of diatomaceous earth ranges from less than 3 micrometers to more than 1 millimeter. Thus, it is often used as a filter or as a mild abrasive such as in toothpaste and metal polishes.
Abbreviation / Acronym: D. E.
Synonym(s):

  • diatomite
  • kieselgur
  • kieselguhr

See also:

  • diatom


    You will also like...

    Pollution in Freshwater Ecosystems
    Pollution in Freshwater Ecosystems

    There are many environmental factors that arise due to the usage of water in one way or another and for every action tha..

    takahē
    Takahē (Porphyrio hochstetteri)

    Meet the colorful takahē, an extremely rare flightless bird. Find out more about its unique features and why they matte..

    Freshwater Ecology
    Freshwater Ecology

    Freshwater ecology focuses on the relations of aquatic organisms to their freshwater habitats. There are two forms of co..

    Biological Cell schematic diagram
    Biological Cell Introduction

    It only takes one biological cell to create an organism. A single cell is able to keep itself functional through its 'mi..

    DNA molecule
    Genetic Control – On and Off Genes

    Genes are the blueprint of our bodies, a blueprint that creates a variety of proteins essential to any organism's surviv..

    Angle Oak Tree
    Seed Plants

    Seed plants are vascular plants. They differ from the other vascular plants in producing seeds that germinate into a new..