Triopetra Beach, Agios Pavlos, Crete, Greece

   The Greek island of Crete lies in the eastern Mediterranean. The small village of Agios Pavlos, on the southern coast, is buffeted by winds and waves that act to round and polish the sand grains.

   The variety of grains signifies rocks from many different sources and reflects Crete’s long and complex geology. Located above a subduction zone between the African, Aegean and Eurasian tectonic plates, Crete lay at the bottom of the vast Tethys Sea for millions of years. Add geologic upheavals, subsidences, uplifts and, about 30 million years ago, the seabed bed began to rise and Crete formed.

   Within the sand, the fine-grained gray and tan grains are sedimentary shale, dolomite and limestone. The dark grains are volcanic rocks. The coarse grained ones are igneous granite and gneiss. The clear grains with 90° corners are feldspar.

Eric Gaba (Sting) CC BY-SA 4.0