Saturday, May 20, 2017


Popham Beach at low tide, near Fox Island
One of my students asked me if I knew where the word "sand" came from. I said, "Hmmm...that's an interesting question. Where?" He said, "It's called sand because it's found between the sea and the land!" Well, this got me smiling.
Old Orchard Beach Sand (with lots of feldspar and quartz)
magnified using 100 mm lens with stacked 36 mm, 20 mm, 12 mm extension tubes
You see, I love sand. Years ago, one of my former students could not understand why and said, "Gee, all sand is alike. Why would you find it interesting?" 
Sand Beach at Bar Harbor (with shells, sea urchin spines, feldspar, quartz, etc.)
 magnified using 100 mm lens with stacked 36 mm, 20 mm, 12 mm extension tubes
My answer was because the grains of sand can give you some idea of the rocks  and/or organisms that it originated from. 
Rocky shore at West Quoddy Head
And, if you know the types of rocks and minerals in the sand, then you have an idea of the geologic forces at work, and you can go back in time...
Layers of sand and vegetation near Fort Popham
and figure out whether the land was originally under the ocean or from volcanic origins (for example.)
Wave sculpted sand at Popham Beach
Or, whether the sand originated from weathering of rocks by wind or waves. No matter what the origin, sand is fascinating...sand is variable...sand is beautiful...
Footprint at Popham Beach
And, there is no place more soothing than the beach where you can walk on sand that supports you. All those tiny grains compacting and shifting under your weight, conforming to the shape of your foot, and collecting between your toes. Ahhh.....sand... What's not to like;-)

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