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Exploring the Science and Beauty of Sand
Rye Harbor-test, Rye, New Hampshire
Rye Beach, south of Portsmouth, is interpreted as a multiple tombolo. That’s a landform where sand spits connect the mainland to offshore seamounts. The area was heavily glaciated, and boulders of quartzite, shale and schist (metamorphic rocks) lay amid the quartz sand grains. As waves modify the shoreline, the rocks fracture into small wedge-shaped pieces. Intertidal boulder surfaces provide purchase for marine life. Mussel (Mytilus) remains are present: blue chips from shell interiors; a brown and blue chip is an outer surface. The articulated red coralline alga Corallina is the source of the white jointed rods of calcium carbonate. Fragments of 2 snail shells and a barnacle are seen at 1, 2 and 3 o’clock. The transparent amber shard near the bottom is glass.
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