Limonite: “Soil of the ages” and the work of nature over 300,000 years
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Aso, Kumamoto: the land of mythology and the calderas. As a natural material that formed over a span of 300,000 years, limonite is the “magical soil” that has sustained the livelihood of the local people since the Yamatai era. Historically, limonite was used as a base material for iron and as insect repellant, but in recent times it has attracted great interest for its astounding adsorption properties.
Limonite, a mineral that takes over 300,000 years to form, is mined at the foot of Mount Aso in Kumamoto prefecture.
Aerial view of the foot of Mount Aso. Limonite-containing earth is tinged with a reddish hue.
This soil that has sustained the livelihood of the local people since the Yamatai era was used a base material for iron, a red iron oxide dye, and as insect repellant.
This is limonite that has just been unearthed. It is dried, powdered, and shaped before being shipped.
Shirakawa River in Aso.
The founders of Japan Limonite Co., Ltd. realized that limonite actually has multiple other uses, amongst which they were particularly interested in its astounding adsorption properties.
After many years of research, it was found that when limonite adsorbs to substances that degrade water quality, such as hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, and grease, it is extremely effective in eliminating odor.
In addition to having become an indispensable material in sewage treatment facilities, limonite is also now used in feed for cattle, pigs, and fish. Reportedly, the use of limonite-infused feed has enabled livestock to grow healthily and boosted the growth rates of fish.
In recent years, limonite has been incorporated into commercial health supplements and pet food as a source of iron, into wall and floor materials as a far-infrared ray source, etc. In addition to its various uses in the past, many more new applications of limonite are expected moving forward.
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