Each deposit of diatomaceous earth is different, with varying blends of pure diatomaceous earth combined with other natural clays and minerals.
Each deposit of diatomaceous earth is different, with varying blends of pure diatomaceous earth combined with other natural clays and minerals. The diatoms in each deposit contain different amounts of silica, depending on the sedimentation conditions, on the presence of other sediments (clay, sand, volcanic ashes), and on the age of the deposit (diagenesis, silica dissolution/precipitation, diatoms tests ageing). The species of diatom may also differ among deposits. The species of diatom is dependent upon the age and paleoenvironment of the deposit. In turn, the shape of a diatom is determined by its species.
Many deposits throughout British Columbia, such as Red Lake Earth, are from the Miocene epoch and contain a species of diatom known as Melosira granulata. These diatoms are approximately 12 to 13 million years old and have a small globular shape. A deposit containing diatoms from this epoch can provide certain benefits over others. For example, diatoms from the Eocene epoch (approximately 40 to 50 million years old) are not as effective in their ability to absorb fluids because as older diatoms recrystallize, their small pores become filled with silica.