Exploring the Science and Beauty of Sand
Orient Point County Park, Orient Point, Long Island, New York
Orient Point is located on the northeastern most tip of Long Island, a spit of land with marshlands, a maritime forest and sandy beaches. Before Europeans arrived in the mid-17th century, the peninsula was home to members of the Algonquin Indian nation who called the area Poquatuck. British settlers referred to the area as Oysterponds because of the abundance of shellfish.
This sample is a heavy-mineral sand, rich in high-density mineral grains. The dark red grains are garnets (likely almandine garnets), and some appear faceted—remnants of their original, 12-sided dodecahedron crystal shape. The black grains are iron minerals: magnetite and hematite. Some of the clear grains are quartz; amber-colored grains are smoky quartz. Other small clear grains are zircons; these fluoresce yellow-orange under UV light.
The Cross Sound Ferry connecting Connecticut and Long Island docks adjacent to this beach.