Written by: on May 20, 2020 @ 6:00 am

For most people, a vacation looks like playing in the sand on a sunny beach.  While you may be annoyed as you clean sand out of every crevasse for weeks after your beach trip, take the opportunity to recognize the 4.5-billion-year history of sand!

Sand can be found all over, from the beach to backyard creeks, but what is it? As water and wind interact with rock, sand is the tiny, eroded particles from years of this process, but sand can also be composed of seashells, coral, and minerals. Sand is just tiny pieces of what used to be huge rocks!

The appearance of sand can vary by the materials the sand is composed of. The most common component in sand is silicon dioxide, or quartz, which makes sand a tan color. Basalt is an igneous rock formed by quickly cooling lava, and is common in the Hawaiian Islands, Iceland, and other islands formed by volcanic activity. Basalt is black in color and is responsible for the black beaches found in these areas! There are even places with red sand, and this color can be attributed to high amounts of iron.

If you were to take a microscope to sand, you would be able to see the tiny fragments that together form a sandcastle. As huge rocks have been broken down throughout time, these tiny particles are continuously eroded. On the same beach you may find angular, jagged sand grains as well as smooth, rounded grains, this can help determine the age of the sand. The softer the edges of sand, the longer it has been eroding!

Join our HTHT @ Home Science Experiment and make your own seashell imprint: https://sciencemadefun.net/downloads/EOTD_Sand_Seashells_Lesson.pdf

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