Palygorskite or attapulgite is a magnesium
Magnesium is a chemical element with the symbol Mg, atomic number 12, and common oxidation number +2. It is an alkaline earth metal and the eighth most abundant element in the Earth's crust and ninth in the known universe as a whole...

Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

Silicate minerals
The silicate minerals make up the largest and most important class of rock-forming minerals, constituting approximately 90 percent of the crust of the Earth. They are classified based on the structure of their silicate group...

 with formula (Mg,Al)2Si
Silicon is a chemical element with the symbol Si and atomic number 14. A tetravalent metalloid, it is less reactive than its chemical analog carbon, the nonmetal directly above it in the periodic table, but more reactive than germanium, the metalloid directly below it in the table...

Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

) which occurs in a type of clay
Clay is a general term including many combinations of one or more clay minerals with traces of metal oxides and organic matter. Geologic clay deposits are mostly composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure.- Formation :Clay minerals...

Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

 common to the Southeastern United States
Southeastern United States
The Southeastern United States, colloquially referred to as the Southeast, is the eastern portion of the Southern United States. It is one of the most populous regions in the United States of America....

. It is one of the types of fuller's earth
Fuller's earth
Fuller's earth is any non-plastic clay or claylike earthy material used to decolorize, filter, and purify animal, mineral, and vegetable oils and greases.-Occurrence and composition:...

The name attapulgite is derived from the U.S. town of Attapulgus, Georgia
Attapulgus, Georgia
Attapulgus is a city in Decatur County, Georgia, United States. The population was 492 at the 2000 census.The town's name is an Indian word meaning "Dogwood"; due to the abundance of attapulgite, which makes up the clay soil throughout much of the Southeast, the mineral was named after the...

, in the extreme southwest corner of the state, where the mineral is abundant. It is surface-mined
Surface mining
Surface mining , is a type of mining in which soil and rock overlying the mineral deposit are removed...

 in the area, dry-ground and air-separated into precise particle sizes, and transported in covered hopper
Covered hopper
A Covered Hopper is a railroad freight car. They are designed for carrying dry bulk loads, varying from grain to products such as sand and clay. The cover protects the loads from the weather - dried cement would be very hard to unload if mixed with water in transit, while grain would be liable to...

 cars via the railroad, and is also shipped in 50 pounds (22.7 kg) paper bag
Paper bag
A paper bag or paper sack is a preformed container made of paper, usually with an opening on one side. It can be one layer of paper or multiple layers of paper and other flexible materials. A bag is used for packaging and/or carrying items....

s and bulk bags by truck
A truck or lorry is a motor vehicle designed to transport cargo. Trucks vary greatly in size, power, and configuration, with the smallest being mechanically similar to an automobile...


The name palygorskite is given after the place in the Ural Mountains
Ural Mountains
The Ural Mountains , or simply the Urals, are a mountain range that runs approximately from north to south through western Russia, from the coast of the Arctic Ocean to the Ural River and northwestern Kazakhstan. Their eastern side is usually considered the natural boundary between Europe and Asia...

 where it was discovered.
Palygorskite is known to have been a key constituent of the pigment
A pigment is a material that changes the color of reflected or transmitted light as the result of wavelength-selective absorption. This physical process differs from fluorescence, phosphorescence, and other forms of luminescence, in which a material emits light.Many materials selectively absorb...

 called "Maya Blue
Maya Blue
Maya Blue is a unique bright azure blue pigment manufactured by cultures of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, such as the Maya and Aztec.-Manufacture:...

", which was used notably by the pre-Columbian
The pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continents, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period to European colonization during...

 Maya civilization
Maya civilization
The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Pre-Classic period The Maya is a Mesoamerican...

 of Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica is a region and culture area in the Americas, extending approximately from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, within which a number of pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and...

 on ceramics, sculptures, murals and (most probably) Maya textiles.