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Re: Mystical Laterite?

>Being a new subscriber I have been reviewing the subject of laterite
>with great interest.
>There is a lot of data here, however, it seems to me that laterite is
>perhaps being treated as something more than it really is. There is a
>lot of talk about its' apparently mystical properties, who sells it and
>which far off and exotic land it calls home.
>Am I wrong in my assessment that laterite is merely a generic term for
>clay? Perhaps not requiring even a "high" iron content to hold the title
>of ""LATERITE""?
>My home is located in Southern Ontario. The country side in this area is
>strewn with pockets of "rust red" clay. Only pockets remain as the
>glaciers of the ice age scoured most of the surface away.
>Is it possible that this is the very same substance as the much touted
>If so, and I dig some up to put in my tank, does it have to be treated
>in any manner ie. drying, disinfecting etc.?
>Any feedback on these questions will be appreciated.
My potter's dictionary defines laterite as the name given to
iron-manganese-iron ores in hydrated form.  More than 50% alumina results
in the laterite being classified by the more specific term of bauxite.
Bauxite is the ore found in abundance in Arkansas where it is smelted to
produce aluminum.

There are many clays including kaolin, ball clay, red art clay, etc.  The
proportions of the different elements determines the characteristics and
color of the clay when it is fired to produce pottery.  The only naturally
occurring inorganic red coloration in clay is iron.  If you see clay with a
reddish brown or orange color, it either has iron in it or it has been
artificially colored.

k5vkq at ix_netcom.com