Zamani Island-test, Okinawa, Japan
This is “star sand,” and the stars are forams of two species found widely in the Indo-Pacific, Baculogypsina sphaerulata (pointier) and Calcarina spengleri (blunter). Short for foraminifera, forams are single-celled organisms related to the amoeba, but with a hard shell called a test and one or more internal chambers. When they die, their tests accumulate as sand. Forams are abundant in the modern ocean’s waters as well as in the fossil record. Some float in the water column, others like star sand species live on the ocean bottom. There are also encrusting forams such as the red fragment in this sample, Homotrema rubrum. In shape, forams vary from coiled (ammonite like) to round, elongated, leaf-like, flat, tubular, or conical. Forams eat decomposing plants and animals, bacteria and diatoms; they are food for worms, crustaceans, snails, fish, sea urchins and starfish. “Star sand” is a popular souvenir from Japan. More text as a test. 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.