What is sand made of?
Discover the many minerals that determine the colour of our beaches and deserts
Whether it’s between your toes or sculpted into a magnificent castle, sand is made up of lots of different components. The most common are minerals from rocks, which are broken up by a process called weathering. Wind, rain and the freezing and thawing of ice all chip away fragments of the rock. This shapes them into fine grains. Therefore, the type of sand you find is often determined by the types of rock nearby. However, if you’re on a tropical beach then the sand is likely to also contain the shells and skeletons of sea creatures, which have been eroded by the waves and washed up on the shore.
Answered by Jo Stass for Brain Dump in How It Works issue 93
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