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Silicon Dioxide (Si02) or more commonly known as sand! [Explore 2011-08-08 #374]

Picture taken on the Beach of Timaru, South Island, New Zealand.

Beautiful sand pattern in shallow waters.


The bright strip is part of the original picture. The darker parts are an overlay with two simple black rectangles with a 30% opacity in Photoshop.


Sand is a naturally occurring granular material composed of finely divided rock and mineral particles. The composition of sand is highly variable, depending on the local rock sources and conditions, but the most common constituent of sand in inland continental settings and non-tropical coastal settings is silica (silicon dioxide, or SiO2), usually in the form of quartz.


As the term is used by geologists, sand particles range in diameter from 0.0625mm (or 1⁄16 mm, or 62.5 μm) to 2 mm. An individual particle in this range size is termed a sand grain. The next larger size class above sand is gravel, with particles ranging from 2 mm up to 64 mm (see particle size for standards in use). The next smaller size class in geology is silt: particles smaller than 0.0625 mm down to 0.004 mm in diameter. The size specification between sand and gravel has remained constant for more than a century, but particle diameters as small as 0.02 mm were considered sand under the Albert Atterberg standard in use during the early 20th century. A 1953 engineering standard published by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials set the minimum sand size at 0.074 mm. A 1938 specification of the United States Department of Agriculture was 0.05 mm. Sand feels gritty when rubbed between the fingers (silt, by comparison, feels like flour).


ISO 14688 grades sands as fine, medium and coarse with ranges 0.063 mm to 0.2 mm to 0.63 mm to 2.0 mm. In the United States, sand is commonly divided into five sub-categories based on size: very fine sand (1⁄16 - ⅛ mm diameter), fine sand (⅛ mm - ¼ mm), medium sand (¼ mm - ½ mm), coarse sand (½ mm - 1 mm), and very coarse sand (1 mm - 2 mm). These sizes are based on the Krumbein phi scale, where size in Φ = -log base 2 of size in mm. On this scale, for sand the value of Φ varies from -1 to +4, with the divisions between sub-categories at whole numbers.


The most common constituent of sand, in inland continental settings and non-tropical coastal settings, is silica (silicon dioxide, or SiO2), usually in the form of quartz, which, because of its chemical inertness and considerable hardness, is the most common mineral resistant to weathering.

Correlative analysis of Icelandic volcanic beach sand from Reynisfjara beach, using a Stereo Microscope and an Scanning Electron Microscope with EDS detection system for element analysis.


The composition of sand is highly variable, depending on the local rock sources and conditions. The bright white sands found in tropical and subtropical coastal settings are eroded limestone and may contain coral and shell fragments in addition to other organic or organically derived fragmental material. The gypsum sand dunes of the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico are famous for their bright, white color. Arkose is a sand or sandstone with considerable feldspar content, derived from the weathering and erosion of a (usually nearby) granitic rock outcrop. Some sands contain magnetite, chlorite, glauconite or gypsum. Sands rich in magnetite are dark to black in color, as are sands derived from volcanic basalts and obsidian. Chlorite-glauconite bearing sands are typically green in color, as are sands derived from basaltic (lava) with a high olivine content. Many sands, especially those found extensively in Southern Europe, have iron impurities within the quartz crystals of the sand, giving a deep yellow color. Sand deposits in some areas contain garnets and other resistant minerals, including some small gemstones.


Sand is transported by wind and water and deposited in the form of beaches, dunes, sand spits, sand bars and related features. In environments such as gravel-bed rivers and glacial moraines it often occurs as one of the many grain sizes that are represented. Sand-bed rivers, such as the Platte River in Nebraska, USA, have sandy beds largely because there is no larger source material that they can transport. Dunes, on the other hand, are sandy because larger material is generally immobile in wind, and are a distinctive geographical feature of desert environments. Sand is a component of soil.

[Source: Wikipedia]


Canon EOS 350D

Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC

Aperture: f/5.6

Exposure time: 1/500 second

Focal length: 125 mm

ISO Speed 100

Processed with PS CS5

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Taken on March 1, 2007