The environmentalist Rachel Carson wrote, “In each curving seashore, in each grain of sand, there’s a story of the Earth.”
Sand comes from many areas, sources, and environments. Sand varieties when rocks break down from weathering and eroding over 1000’s and even thousands and thousands of years. Rocks take time to decompose, particularly quartz (silica) and feldspar.
Typically beginning 1000’s of miles from the ocean, rocks slowly journey down rivers and streams, continuously breaking down alongside the best way. As soon as they make it to the ocean, they additional erode from the fixed motion of waves and tides.
The tan shade of most sand seashores is the results of iron oxide, which tints quartz a lightweight brown, and feldspar, which is brown to tan in its unique kind. Black sand comes from eroded volcanic materials reminiscent of lava, basalt rocks, and different dark-colored rocks and minerals, and is usually discovered on seashores close to volcanic exercise. Black-sand seashores are frequent in Hawaii, the Canary Islands, and the Aleutians.
The by-products of dwelling issues additionally play an vital half in creating sandy seashores. Bermuda’s preponderance of pleasantly pink seashores outcomes from the perpetual decay of single-celled, shelled organisms referred to as foraminifera.
Much less frequent however no much less inviting seashores, devoid of quartz as a supply of sand, depend on a wholly totally different ecologic course of. The well-known white-sand seashores of Hawaii, for instance, truly come from the poop of parrotfish. The fish chew and scrape algae off of rocks and useless corals with their parrot-like beaks, grind up the inedible calcium-carbonate reef materials (made principally of coral skeletons) of their guts, after which excrete it as sand. On the identical time that it helps to take care of a various coral-reef ecosystem, parrotfish can produce a whole bunch of kilos of white sand every year!
So the subsequent time you unfurl your seashore towel down by the shore, ponder the sand beneath you, which, as Rachel Carson mentioned, is telling you a narrative concerning the Earth. It’s possible you’ll be about to comfortably nestle down within the stays of million-year-old rocks. Then once more, chances are you’ll quickly come to relaxation upon an limitless heap of parrotfish poop.