What is Bentonite?
Sodium bentonite is a naturally occurring clay which acts uniquely when it comes in contact with water. When bentonite becomes wet, it absorbs the water and expands many times its dry size to form a watertight membrane or barrier. Western bentonite, a most unique industrial mineral, also has uncommon origins. Bentonite’s parent material, volcanic ash, is the direct by-product of plate tectonics.
During the Crustaceous Period, the North American Plate drifted westward forcing the eastern edge of the Pacific plate deep into the earth’s mantle.
Soon a chain of volcanoes stretching from Mexico to southern Canada were spraying large quantities of ash and lava. During these near-continuous eruptions, ash billowed up into high altitude winds. The prevailing winds carried the ash eastward. As the ash began to fall back to earth, it accumulated into deposits that can be seen today.