Cleaned Diatom Samples
(last update 1/22/12)
I have collected a number of very high quality samples of
diatomite and freshly collected diatom samples from all over the
world. I have then spent considerable time and effort in cleaning
these samples. Some of the many different samples I have available
are shown below.
I offer small 1.5 mL plastic snap-cap vials of these cleaned
materials suspended in distilled water. To make up a slide for
observation (a strew), mix the tube well and use a medicine
dropper to place one or two drops of the suspension onto a
microscope slide. If the diatoms are too close together, just add
a little distilled water to spread them out. Then just place the
slide on the microscope stage and enjoy! If you want to try your
hand at making permanent diatom slides, allow the water to
completely evaporate, then add your favorite high refractive index
mounting medium (like Zrax
) and a cover
slip, then warm it on a hotplate until the solvent has evaporated.
That's it. There is enough material in each vial of diatoms to
make many dozens of slides. Jim
Solliday of the Microscopical Society of Southern California
(MSSC) has written a great article on making diatom microscope
slides, even arranged ones. A pdf version is here.
For the majority of samples, the cost is $12 per sample vial
including shipping within the USA. For Oamaru samples (if
available), the cost is $20 per sample vial. Oamaru diatomite is
extremely challenging to clean. You can contact me (Bill Dailey)
if you are interested.
Note: I am always interested in trading cleaned samples for
interesting diatomite samples or collected (but not yet cleaned)
diatom samples. Contact me to discuss what you have access to.
Fossil Marine Forms from
I have been lucky enough to obtain some of the last remaining
super high quality diatomite from Dunkirk, Maryland. This
material is from a small outcropping that was deposited about 20
million years ago by a marine source. The material was
cleaned using a series of treatments involving concentrated
hydrochloric acid (Muriatic acid available in hardware stores),
concentrated sulfuric acid (used as a drain opener) and potassium
nitrate (stump remover), followed by mild base, and finally
sieving using a fine mesh. This produces some of the best
quality fossil marine diatom material in the world today.
Some of the forms in this Dunkirk sample are shown in this type
slide prepared for me by Klaus
And here is another type slide that Klaus prepared for me.
(Click on image for a larger one)
Here is an old type slide from
"Nottingham, Maryland" along with a name index key. This
material is very similar to that found at Dunkirk.
(click on the image for a much larger one)
(click on the image for a much larger one)
Fossil Marine Forms from Newport Beach, California
Below are images of strews prepared
from fossil marine diatomite collected in the Back Bay region of
Newport Beach, California. There are a wide variety of unusual
forms in this material.
Below is an image of an arranged
slide made from this Newport Beach, CA material. Click on the
image for a much bigger image.
Below is an
image of a type slide made from a sample collected from a part of
Newport Beach known as "White Cliffs". Klaus Kemp made the slide.
Fossil Freshwater Forms from
Terrebonne, Oregon has a large
amount of fossil freshwater diatomite, deposited several thousand
years ago. The material is in a remarkable state of
Forms from Toome Bridge, Northern Ireland
Toome Bridge, Northern Ireland still mines this diatomite which is
in a wonderful state of preservation. The material is equal to that
of Terrebonne in quality, but it contains a number of very different
forms, some of which are quite small, but very interesting.
My local freshwater trout stream, Crum Creek, found in the
southeastern part of Pennsylvania, yields a beautiful array of
forms. A type slide is shown below.
Forms from Chalk Pond, Maine
Many of the freshwater ponds along the coast of Maine have bogs
which are made up of diatomite. Diatomite from Chalk Pond was once
mined commercially. However there is still material available. The
cleaned material has a number of HUGE pinnularia forms and is
similar to the "Cherryfield, Maine" material of the old
Here's a type slide of Chalk Pond
made for me by Klaus Kemp.
Recent Freshwater Forms from Crum Creek, Radnor, Pennsylvania
Fossil Marine Forms from Oamaru, New Zealand
Even more recently I have gained
access to diatomite from MiddleEarth, a.k.a. New Zealand. Our
family took a trip to New Zealand in October 2004, and I was able
to collect some diatomite. Oamaru, New Zealand has the most
outstanding fossil (eocene) marine diatomite. The forms found in
this material are unbelievable. Here is a picture of some of the
forms collected onto a slide. Oamaru diatomite is some of the most
challenging diatomite to clean. Starting with 100 grams of
material leads to less than 1 gram of cleaned material, most of
which are sponge spicules and radiolaria. However the diatoms are
truly exotic. Understandably, I've had a lot of demand for the
various Oamaru samples. Because of the labor involved in cleaning
these materials, I've had to increase my price to make it
worthwhile for me to do. So, if available, I now charge $20 per
sample for the various Oamaru samples. Be sure to check out our trip to Oamaru to
collect diatomite samples. A number of classic
collection locations such as Allan's Farm, Bains, Cormacks,
Forresters, Jackson's Paddock,Papakaio, Williams Bluff are shown,
and there's a Google map key that will allow you to see these
sites in remarkable detail from satellite.
Oamaru, New Zealand Forms
Below are examples of dried strew slides of the Oamaru material.
Notice all the different things in there!
I have access to other fossil
diatom material and may offer some other samples in the future.