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A hydrated magnesium silicate clay that is also called Sepiolite. Meerschaum, German for seafoam, is a grayish-white clay that occurs in Asia Minor, Morocco, Spain, New Mexico and Pennsylvania. The light porous clay can be cut easily when it is wet and will withstand heat well. It is used as a building stone, a filler in soaps and for making ornamental pipes and cigar holders.

Synonyms and Related Terms

sepiolite; Sepiolit (Deut.); Meerschaum (Deut.)

Composition Mg4Si6O15(OH)2-6H2O
Mohs Hardness 2.0 - 2.5
Density 0.99-1.28 g/ml

Resources and Citations

  • A.Lucas, J.R.Harris, Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries, Edward Arnold Publishers Ltd., London, 4th edition, 1962 Comment: use: 500-50 BC
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • Thomas Gregory, The Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Reinhold Publishing, New York, 3rd ed., 1942
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Robert Weast (ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, v. 61, 1980 Comment: density=0.99-1.28