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EcoSystems Miracle Mud Analysis

An elemental analysis and microscopic investigation of the composition of this popular substrate. Courtesy Inland Reef.

Here are the results from a local lab (Northern Analytical Laboratories, Inc., Merrimack, NH). The test performed was a "Glow Discharge Mass Spectrometry ". For this test, major element readings (those above 10,000 ppm or 1%) are approximate, but trace element quantities are very accurate.

Also included are the results obtained by Lars Sebralla , a hobbyist in Germany. The test he performed was "X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry " and in his test, the sample was first rinsed 3 times with de-ionized water. Their test did not any record levels below 100 ppm and covered fewer elements.

All the data is shown here in parts per million (ppm).

Element Lars Sebralla Inland Reef
Aluminum 53,200 approx. 70,000
Antimony <100 0.85
Arsenic <100 1.0
Barium <100 60
Beryllium not tested 0.75
Bismuth not tested <0.1
Boron not tested 3.7
Bromine <100 <1.0
Cadmium <100 <5.0
Calcium 24,300 approx. 40,000
Cerium not tested 8.0
Cesium not tested <0.05
Chromium <100 19
Chloride 232 200
Cobalt <100 6.1
Copper <100 6.0
Dysprosium not tested 1.5
Erbium not tested 0.95
Europium not tested 0.5
Fluorine not tested 4.4
Gadolinium not tested 2.2
Gallium not tested <2.0
Germanium not tested <2.0
Gold not tested <0.1
Hafnium not tested 0.45
Holmium not tested 0.35
Indium not tested <0.1
Iodine <100 <0.05
Iridium not tested <0.01
Iron 38,900 approx. 40,000
Lanthanum not tested 3.5
Lead <100 0.95
Lithium not tested 3.5
Lutetium not tested 0.2
Magnesium 11,000 approx. 20,000
Manganese 649 700
Mercury <100 <0.5
Molybdenum <100 40
Neodymium not tested 4.6
Nickel <100 5.0
Niobium not tested 1.0
Osmium not tested <0.01
Palladium not tested <5.0
Phosphorus 4,621 (as PO4) 600
Platinum not tested <0.1
Potassium 4,830 1,800
Praseodymium not tested 1.0
Rhodium not tested <0.5
Rubidium not tested <1.0
Ruthenium not tested <0.5
Rhenium not tested <0.01
Samarium not tested 1.3
Scandium not tested <10
Selenium <100 <5.0
Silicon 262,578  (as SiO2) approx. 300,000
Silver <100 <5.0
Sodium 6,820 approx. 10,000
Strontium 174 <20
Sulfur <100 32
Tantalum not tested <1.0
Tellurium not tested <0.5
Terbium not tested 1.0
Thallium <100 <0.05
Thorium not tested 0.24
Thulium not tested 0.1
Tin <100 0.5
Titanium 5,390 3,000
Tungsten not tested <0.1
Uranium not tested 0.076
Vanadium <100 100
Ytterbium not tested 1.2
Yttrium <100 <10
Zinc <100 30
Zirconium not tested 15

Photomicrographs

(courtesy of Shane Graber)

Conclusions

The analysis indicates that Miracle Mud is 30% silicon. This mostly likely exists in Miracle Mud as silicon dioxide, which is most commonly found in nature as quartz. As pointed out by chemist Randy Holmes-Farley, the molecular weight of silicon makes up less than half the molecular weight of silicon dioxide. So if the silicon present is all in the form of silicon dioxide, then Miracle Mud is more than 63% quartz sand. This seems to be confirmed by the photos.

The high levels of metals (especially Aluminum, Iron and Titanium) are also a point of concern.

In addition, no traces of any marine sediment were found in any microscopic examination - no oolitic sand grains, no shell fragments, no diatoms or any other remnants of marine life. An acid test conducted by Shane Graber indicates that no carbonates are present in Miracle Mud. It is difficult to reconcile these facts with the manufacturer's claim that "Miracle Mud is 80% oceanic mud."


Created by liquid
Last modified 2006-11-23 04:12
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