AN INTRODUCTION TO SAND COMPONENTS

Under Construction

Marine organisms and mineral components destined to become sand. Dog Beach, Hollywood, Florida.

   Sand, the gritty stuff of river, lake and ocean beaches! It is also an essential component for concrete, abrasive products, paint, filtration, pigments, glass and on and on, and it is everywhere. Around the world, sand composition reflects the regional geology and aquatic ecosystem. The individual grains hold a story of parent rock, geologic processes and aquatic creatures.

Shape

Sand grains vary in shape from angular to rounded. The rounder the grains, the longer those grains have been free of their parent bedrock—cascading down rivers, rolling in the surf or blowing around in the desert. Shells and other animal pieces go through the same “angular to rounded” process.

BG-66-Paleochora-Crete_Greece-2016-07-19

Angular fragments of gastropods, bivalves, sea urchins and other marine organisms.  

BG-66-Paleochora-Crete_Greece-2016-07-19 16-22-56.jpg

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Angular fragments of gastropods, bivalves, sea urchins and other marine organisms.  

Búðir,Snæfellsbær, Iceland

LPK-1513-Ustaoset_Norway-2018-01-27 17-0

Angular fragments of gastropods, bivalves, sea urchins and other marine organisms.  

LPK-1513-Ustaoset_Norway-2018-01-27 17-06-13.jpg

LPK-1735-MutlumuviRiver-KruegerNP_SouthA

Well-rounded animal and mineral grains tumbled and polished in a high-energy coastal environment. 

10-1645-TuaraBch-Osani-SouthCorsica_Fran

Angular fragments of gastropods, bivalves, sea urchins and other marine organisms.  

LPK-1735-MutlumuviRiver-KruegerNP_SouthAfrica-2019-03-06 19-45-56.jpg

DSM-7900-TriopetraBch-AgiosPavlos-Crete_Greece-2018-03-23 18-55-29.jpg

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Angular fragments of gastropods, bivalves, sea urchins and other marine organisms.  

DO-Volendaar_Holland-2019-02-14 19-39-17.jpg

AVB-56Balchi-ColLake-Naberejoye-Crimea_R
KG-401aa-OcracokeIs-CHNS_NC2016-01-21 20

Well-rounded animal and mineral grains tumbled and polished in a high-energy coastal environment. 

Angular fragments of gastropods, bivalves, sea urchins and other marine organisms.  

AVB-56Balchi-ColLake-Naberejoye-Crimea_Russia-56-2017-02-14 20-40-30.jpg

KG-401aa-OcracokeIs-CHNS_NC2016-01-21 20-53-11.jpg

Minerals in Sand

Quartz is the most common grain in sand around the world. Why so much quart sand? Quartz is one of the primary components of granite, a rock comprised primarily of quartz, feldspar and mica. Granite makes up the bedrock of the major continents and ancient mountains. 

​   When granite breaks down, it is quartz that endures the longest because of its hardness and resistance to physical and chemical weathering. Feldspar grains are also common in sand; look for grains with near 90° corners. 

Iron stained quartz.

Minnehaha Falls, Park, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Iron stained quartz.

East Alligator River, Arnham Land, Northern Territories, Australia

   A granite derived sand with clear quartz, reddish feldspar and other rocks and minerals.

Old Woman Bay, Lake Superior PP, Ontario, Canada

Iron stained quartz.

Merzouga Dunes, Morroco

Clear quartz and feldspar with some iron stained quartz.

Lagos Bar Beach, Lagos, Nigeria

Quartz with assorted rocks and minerals.

Seahawk Beach, Duck,  North Carolina

Iron stained shells and clear quartz.

Osmond Beach, Volusia, Florida

Done for now!

Angular sand with clear quartz, reddish feldspar and other rocks and minerals.

Otter Cove, Mt. Desert Island, Maine