Black. White. Brown. Pink. Stand on it. Lay on it. Lay in it. Sand—sometimes it’s how it feels in your hands & between your toes. Sometimes it’s just how it makes you feel. Bonus points if you can name those beautiful people in the little photos under the “feet” photo.  : )

Me and my wife Jackie’s summer wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the sandy shores of Kiawah Island, SC. We have been visiting since 1984. Kids have been coming long enough that a couple of them learned how to walk on the beaches of Kiawah.  Now, I’m not taking anything away from the “north shore” and all great beaches here in NE Ohio, but to be honest, there is really no comparison to getting away and digging my feet into the powder white beaches of the island.  Enjoying the ocean breeze and aromas, it got me to wondering about sand – why so many different varieties, textures and colors – and especially why so many variations along the eastern coastline of good old US of A. So, I did some digging with my laptop (and my feet).  As the warm gritty stuff gets in between my toes, I wondered why beaches become distinctive sandy stretches and why sand looks and feels the way it does – some powder white, some light brown, some darker brown and some black. Here’s some helpful tips from lifescience.com, funsciencedemos and YouTube.  Enjoy.  And be sure to use your sunblock!

  • A sandy beach is essentially where pulverized, weathered rock along with some fragments of shelled creatures and other biota have collected, tossed up by the waves and as sediment from inland areas.
  • Sand is basically the material you get when you get a breakdown in rocks, when the rocks weather and decompose over hundreds of thousands and millions of years. Not every rocky mineral is equally built to last. So, over time, the weathering process yields certain common compositions for sand as the stronger materials persist.
  • While some of the minerals are very unstable and decompose, others such as feldspar, quartz and hornblende are more stable because they are harder, more resistant minerals, and so they tend to stay behind.  These minerals — abundant in Earth’s crust — in ground-up form constitute a lot of the sandy particles comprising beaches. Probably the most common composition would be quartz sand with some feldspar.
  • This most common mineral formula gives beaches that sort of typically, well, “beachy” complexion of a light brown found in many places in the continental United States and elsewhere. The iron staining on the quartz and iron oxide on the feldspar gives the sand that tan or brownish color but can vary greatly.  Every beach is essentially a product of its regional and local environment and is accordingly one-of-a-kind. For example, in the Florida panhandle, the sand is often very white because of its high quartz content over feldspar and hornblende.
  • Tropical regions have more of this shell-derived sand than temperate regions, where the sand is mostly silica-based in the form of quartz.
  • South Carolina beaches are made up of a fine texture, but when looked at under a microscope one will see it is dominantly comprised of Quartz. Quartz is in the sand because the sand is deposited as it erodes from the Appalachian Mountains. There are also small bits of shells, as well as browning due to a rusting effect from iron. Some samples contain a mix of broken rocks as well as the shells and bodies of previously living organisms, including Quartz, Mica, Bivalves/Clams, Magnetite, and more.
  • Many of the beaches in Bermuda have not only white sand but have pink or reddish sand particles. The origin of this famous coloration is the remains of tiny, single-celled creatures called Foraminifera that have pink or reddish shells.
  • Hawaii, meanwhile, is well-known for its black sand beaches, the result of ground-up, dark volcanic rocks. Some beaches on Hawaii’s Big Island even have a greenish tint, thanks to the presence of the mineral olivine.
  • Consider the fact – sand on most of our beaches, especially on the East and Gulf Coasts, is rather old: some 5,000 years or so.  Very little new sand reaches the coast nowadays from the continental interior as it once did.
  • Beach erosion, due to changes in water patterns, wind, and sea level rise is impacting most oceanfront property.  The construction of roads and dams, especially in Florida, is another reason. Development along the coastline impedes the natural transport of sand from the interior to the coast.
  •  The general rise in sea levels over the past approximately 10- 12,000 years, which has flooded river valleys and created large estuaries such as Charleston Harbor, the Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay and the Hudson River trap would-be sand before it reaches the coast.  The erosion of beaches, especially after major storms, often requires beach nourishment, or replenishment projects when sand is dredged up from offshore and deposited on the shoreline to rebuild lost real estate.

Great Video – Natural Coastal Erosion

Simple Science Demo – Sand and Wave Action



Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!