Mt Sylvia Diatomite is a massive near white relatively pure diatomite, although the colour becomes darker with increasing content of organic matter. It has a chalky appearance and is generally soft and friable.
The mass packing of individual diatoms results in a microscopically porous material of low density and high bulk. It has the ability to absorb up to 200% of its own weight in water. The diatomite particles are polarized and when the diatomite is added to soils it has the added benefit of keeping the soil pores open, allowing easy penetration of water and oxygen.
Diatomite also neutralizes toxic components that may be present in the soil such as aluminium and heavy metals. It is the most soluble form of pure silica that, when absorbed by plants, helps them to resist both fungal and insect attack. Because of its pure nature there is very little iron, alumina, soluble salts, carbonate or sand. There are minor concentrations of smectitic clays.
The deposit, made up of diatoms of the Melosira species was formed in a fresh water lake adjacent to a major Tertiary volcanic center. Our diatomite has the highest levels of amorphous silica of any commercial producer in Australia . Additionally, it is lowest in kaolin and sodium which gives it a most favourable pH and conductivity as well as soil solubility.