What is Beach Sand?
There are many different types of beach sand.
We've spent a lot of time at different beaches in New England, and most of the beach sand at the swimming beaches do not have natural sand.
They ship it in from somewhere and dump it.
They do this because during the winter the tides and currents, or huge storms washes away the sand on the beach.
A lot of times it is dredged from the ocean or Long Island Sound. It's pretty hard to tell whether or not a beach sand is natural.
Charlestown RI beach and breachway has deep, yellow, coarse sand. You can see they take vehicles on the sand too, but you need a permit to do that. This beach doesn't have any jetties keeping the sand intact during the winter, and a lot of it washes away, revealing small, round, smooth, pebbles and stones. But it always comes back in the summer. We suspect that this is not all naturally placed sand, through longshore drift.
What is Beach Sand Made of?
Sand is normally a reflection of nearby bedrock. The main mineral in sand is normally quartz. Sand comes from granites, which is a common rock in the New England States. It consists of quartz plus tiny amounts of mica, feldspar, and hornblende. Sand derived from the metasedimentary rocks of the Narragansett Basin are likely to be more diversified, perhaps with some garnet, because sand from nearby beaches have a slightly different composition.Black Sand Beaches We run across beaches that have red sand too. The most red sand we ever saw was at Hammonasset Beach during the winter.
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