Moler is a clayey diatomite deposited in a marine environment in the early Eocene time. The diatom shells make up 2/3 of the composition, and the remaining 1/3 comprises clay minerals. There are more than 100 different species of diatoms in the moler. The frustules of the algae are 0.04 – 0.2 millimeters large, and the most common forms are round plate, triangular boxes and balls. The clay smectite. The voids in the diatoms opal shells and the swelling property of smectite minerals are the basic properties for the moler to act as a perfect absorber.
Geological Setting of the Moler
55 million years ago Denmark was covered by a subtropical sea, which stretched from England to Sweden. The climate was warm and dry – as in Greece in the present time. The English Channel was closed, and thus the moler sea was an inland sea, which only had contact to the large oceans to the north through a narrow strait connecting the North Sea to the Arctic Ocean.
A chilly water flow from north flowing into a warm inland sea created an upwelling where nutrients could be utilized by the blooming diatoms. They only lived for a short period of time, after which they sank down to the bottom – almost as a “snowfall” of dead algae. During a period of 1 million years, this led to the creation of the approx. 60-meter thick deposit of moler. The word moler means fine, whitish clay (mo=fine and white in old Scandinavian languish, ler=clay), which evidently refers to the white shells and the sticky clay property.
Contemporaneous with the clay deposition in the North Sea the volcanic activity precursor to the opening of the North Atlantic Ocean was initiated. This resulted in a large number of volcanic ash layers, which with an increasing frequency were deposited in the North Sea Basin. The moler with diatomite and ash layers is stratigraphically erected as the Fur Formation, which is 60 m thick and comprises about 200 ash layers documenting volcanic eruptions evolving from in-continental to ocean basaltic magmatism.
During glacial advances in the Quaternary period the Eocene beds were thrust up in glaciotectonic complexes. Especially, folded anticlines formed by the advances of the Scandinavian Ice Cap in the latest 30–20 000 years created the hilly landscapes, in which the moler deposits are situated. The glaciotectonic landscapes containing the moler deposits are only known from the archipelago in the western Limfjorden region in the northern part of Denmark.
Due to the shells of the siliceous algae with voids and thin channels, the moler is capable of absorbing liquids like a dry sponge. Due to the high porosity the moler is applied for insulation material, and due to sucking effect it is used for absorbents.
The product applications span from cat litter and industrial spill absorbents to various industrial applications within the agriculture and horticulture sector, steel making, construction, petrochemical applications and environmental protection.
1. Industrial absorbents
Slipping accidents should never occur, neither in the workplace nor at leisure. Moler products meet all the current requirements in order to be able to protect people and the environment. Absorption of leakages – it might be oil, fuel, acids or other chemicals – indoors or out, on land or at sea.
2. Agricultural absorbents
Moler includes products that can absorb, secure and release liquid ingredients, such as vitamins, acids, fat and water, improve flow ability, improve pellet stability, be a carrier in premixes or bind unwanted substances, so that the animals’ welfare is raised. Other areas of use include stall bedding and drying products, in addition to products for the binding of manures.
Plant growth and well-being is closely associated with the soil or media in which they grow. The roots’ access to water, food, and oxygen in the correct conditions are decisive for healthy plants with good growth.
Moler products are specially developed to ensure the best possible growth conditions for hydro cultures or compost, an earth mixture, are included in the composition of green roof, or used as a top dressing on golf courses, playing fields, etc.
3. Cat litter
Moler can be used as cat litter and is a non-clumping product. The raw clay is calcined at elevated temperatures, and through this process the product becomes sterile and the grains get hard and super absorbent. Cat litter made by moler is significant by its terracotta colour. It is a lightweight product with low density and high volume per kg.