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125 Years of Science for America - 1879 to 2004
U.S. Geological Survey
Bulletin 2209-E

History and Overview of the U.S. Diatomite Mining Industry, with Emphasis on the Western United States

By Thomas P. Dolley and Phillip R. Moyle


The United States is the largest producer and consumer of diatomite in the world. In 2001, the United States produced about a third of the estimated global production of 1.95 million metric tons (Mt) of diatomite. In any given year, the United States accounts for at least 50 percent of all the diatomite exported in the world. Seven diatomite companies operating in the United States produce diatomite in various grades for a range of applications, including filtration, absorbents, fillers, insulation, and cement manufacture. Economic deposits of diatomite within the United States depend on variations in the physical and chemical properties between and within deposits, potential end uses, and proximity to suitable markets. On the basis of historical production figures, estimated U.S. diatomite-production capacity is currently about 800,000 metric tons per year (t/yr).

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For questions about the content of this report, contact Go to other chapters in USGS Bulletin 2209: Bliss, J.D., Moyle, P.R., and Long, K.R., eds., 2002, Contributions to industrial-minerals research: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 2209.

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Maintained by: Michael Diggles
Created: December 30, 2003
Last modified: March 19, 2007 (mfd)