Friday, February 15, 2013

Sand Grains

The geology nerd in me is feeling really neglected lately, being in a Biology major and all my recent posts have been about zoology.  So it's time to talk about sand.

For whatever strange reason, I LOVE sand.  In fact, I collect it.  I have samples of various sands from beaches in Hawaii my sister brought me, and a bunch I collected in Oregon on the beaches there and also some volcanic sand from a lava tube cave.  A good friend even brought me some sand from the Egyptian desert!  Oh, yes and one of my favorites - oolitic sand from the Great Salt Lake, as seen here:
5 mm view of oolitic sand from Antelope Island of Great Salt Lake (Source)
I love this sand because it is really soft.  The grains are tiny spheres built up by calcite being deposited, instead of being angular broken pieces from something that was eroded like most sands are.  For a simple explanation of ooids/ oolitic sand, see this post:

Sand Grains
This amazing website has beautiful pictures of sand taken up close - you owe it to yourself to check this out.  You can even order prints of the pictures!  (There are also extreme close-ups of parts of the human body, flowers, and food.) I know what I want for my birthday and Christmas.

The photographer - Dr. Gary Greenberg was kind enough to allow me to post the pictures here.  What a beautiful addition to this blog, I'm so thrilled!  Go to his site for other photos and great descriptions of each image.

Quartz sand

The spiny, glassy parts are spicules from a sponge! How cool is that!

This is the actual shell of a single-celled organism - foraminifera - from Japan

More forams

Sapphire crystal

This is a fragment of the mineral mica :)

This is volcanic sand!

The square one is a shell fragment

Superb, aren't they?  Thank you Dr. Greenberg for your inspiring work!  Here's the link again if you want to see more:
Sand Grains Gallery

Hey, look at this other cool thing I just found! This guy in New Zealand creates works of art on the beach, only to have them promptly erased by the surf - looks like he is having so much fun, I love his child-like curiosity and joy. :D


1 comment:

  1. Living near the ocean most of my life finds me drawn to sand. The other portion of my life i have lived in walking distance to a river, again, sand. I enjoy feeling the texture differences. And knowing that life (shells and such) break down to become earth again is obvious in sand. Thanks for the fun pictures.