10 Fantastic Facts For Fans of the Sand!
Sand is a pretty big part of any beach vacation, but have you ever given it much thought?
It really is fascinating that the sand all around you is simply broken down rocks and minerals, battered over the years by rain, wind, and waves. Have you ever looked at sand up close? Bring a magnifying glass next time you hit the beach and take a detailed look. You will be amazed at the beauty and structure of the little grains of sand.
Here we have gathered 10 interesting facts about sand to ponder next time you shake it out of your towel.
1. Sand is usually made of silica.
Silica is actually silicon dioxide (SiO2), which is a compound that makes up most of the earth's crust. It also makes up the mineral quartz, and actually has many uses (including making ceramics, concrete and countertops).
2. Sand comes in many colors.
It all depends on what sorts of minerals make up the sand. Our beaches in Sunset Beach are made of hard quartz (silica) which has the color of – well – sand! It's usually light tan (but if you look really closely you will see flecks of white, black, brown and pink). Tropical beaches (like Hawaii) are more white because they are made up of calcium carbonate (which is just the broken down skeletons of coral and other marine life). The "black" sands of Santorini, Greece, are black due to the red and black volcanic lava rocks that make up their beaches.
3. This is a "beach cusp":
Have you ever noticed a ripple or arc pattern in the sand, right where the water meets the shore?
Formed by waves during very specific conditions, these "cusps" create a beautiful formation (especially when viewed from the air). They are more commonly found on pebbly beaches, but we see these patterns on certain parts of Sunset Beach, too. Read more.
4. Dunes are important to our ecosystem.
Sand dunes are created when the wind pulls sand into a hill-like shape. They can be found in deserts, but sometimes high up on beaches too. We need these dunes to protect our coast from wind and waves. They are important for coastal grasses and plants, as well as providing a safe haven for sea turtle nests and other animals. When visiting a beach, always use approved pathways and stay off the dunes!
5. Very few animals live in the sand.
Most can't make the sand their home because the stuff is constantly changing and shifting. However, there are a few critters that burrow into sand to protect themselves from heat, cold, or predators. These include small crustaceans, crabs, beach flies and beetles. Sand does provide a wonderful, safe spot for sea turtles to lay their eggs. Read more.
6. Sugar and salt are ... SAND?
That's right. Any material made up of a certain size of grain will qualify as sand. Who knew?
7. This is the tallest sandcastle.
There is a new Guinness World Record for tallest sandcastle as of June, 2019. It was 57' 11" tall, and was made by Skulptura Projects (in Binz, Germany).
The sand used for this project was imported from the Netherlands (because that sand was easier to work with than the native sand).
This massive structure took over a month to build, and it is meant to resemble a castle from Game of Thrones.
8. You can take a sandcastle building lesson on Sunset Beach!
Hire the company SandiCastles for your next family reunion, proposal, work event, or girls trip in Sunset Beach. This is a unique and affordable activity that everyone will love. Sandi (yes, that is actually her name!) will come to Sunset Beach to teach your group the best way to create a sand sculpture, including how to make it stay upright and which tools are best. Read more.
9. Sand protects our coast.
Erosion (from hurricanes or other natural disasters) can take a toll on our environment. Humans try to intervene through sand replacement projects, but as our coastline erodes, our environment suffers.
10. Sand sticks to you like nothing else.
You already know this! Sand sticks to skin because sand holds on to water, which in turn holds onto the moisture in your skin (or on your towel, beach bucket, and hair). If it really drives you crazy, use the old baby powder trick... it will help remove sand from sticky, sandy skin.
In every grain of sand there is a story of the earth.
We hope you have learned something new today. Sand is a big part of your beach vacation. Sometimes annoying, sometimes fun, always an integral part of your Sunset Beach memories!