Black Moss, 2.4 km. north of Dinnet Station. Aberdeenshire. 1917. The kieselguhr (diatomite) works. Extracting the kieselguhr. Kieselguhr overlain by peat marking site of silted-up lake. The vertical trenches show the method of draining the peat. Before silting-up, the shallow lakes had an abundant supply of nutrients and silica from the surrounding granites. Conditions were ideal for the prolific growth of lacustrine diatoms and the formation of fairly pure diatomite. Subsequent climate change and lowering lake levels lead to the formation of the overlying peat.
Processing the kieselguhr (diatomite). Drying in open-sided covered sheds. A close-up of the second process in the method of drying the kieselguhr. The cut blocks are clearly seen in rows of low open sheds. On the left blocks are placed on an uncovered low wooden structure with the blocks of the first drying process on the ground behind.
Inside the large kieselguhr (diatomite) storage sheds. The photograph shows the method of building and piling the dried kieselguhr blocks within the sheds. The blocks are arranged in a herringbone fashion. Two bicycles are propped against the blocks.
A specimen of diatomite from the deposit at Muir of Dinnet near Ballater, Aberdeenshire. Diatomite is a fine-grained earth substance resembling chalk or white clay in appearance and when dry easily breaking down into a white powder. Some specimens are as light as cork and can absorb four times their weight of water. It is composed of frustules of diatoms, extremely minute siliceous organisms. British Geological Survey Petrology Collection sample number MC 7496. In about 1880 a substance referred to as 'white moss' was reported underneath the peat at Muir of Dinnet. It was recognized as a diatomaceous deposit by the Rev. George Davidson and was regarded as a substance that could replace kieselguhr in the manufacture of dynamite. Practically the whole commercial output was sent to the Ardeer explosive works in Ayrshire where the organic matter was burnt away in kilns before use as an absorbent for nitro-glycerine in the manufacture of dynamite. Posted by Bob McIntosh