What Is Miner's Moss?
When you hear the term "miner's moss," images of damp forests with spongy green carpet may cross your mind, but miner's moss has nothing to do with the green plant. Miner's moss is actually a carpet of interwoven synthetic fibers that are used to trap and catch small material. It is commonly used in gold mining, but is also used in door mats.
Miner's moss is a type of matting most often composed of rubber or vinyl fibers. The fibers are loosely woven to create a final product that is often described as resembling noodles. The mats may be backed with a sheet of rubber or vinyl backing to keep materials from flowing through the woven fibers, but it is commonly used without a backing. It is widely available in blue or green and is sometimes referred to as "Nomad Carpet," which is the name of the product made by 3M manufacturing company.
Miner's moss is an essential component of a gold mining operation because its fibers are capable of trapping gold nuggets, flakes and smaller particles that would otherwise end up back in the ground. Commercial mining operations use a sluice machine to process dirt, which includes cleaning and disposing of rocks and dirt in the search for gold. Miner's moss is used to line the bottom of the sluice box. When the moss is full of material, it is cleaned to separate dirt from gold particles.
Miner's moss is ideal for use as a doormat because the woven fibers trap in dirt from shoes. The mat must be cleaned regularly to remain effective, which can be done with a spray hose. Miner's moss with backing is the best option for use as a doormat because the backing prevents dirt and mud from sinking through to the porch.
A wide variety of carpets can be used to trap dirt in the same manner as miner's moss. Unlike soft carpet that stains easily, however, the hard fibers of miner's moss make it incredibly easy to clean. Some carpets require scrubbing and harsh chemicals to clean, but miner's moss can be cleaned like new with water. The drying time of miner's moss is significantly less than carpets made of absorbent material.
A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.
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