Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sand under the Microscope

Sand is best viewed under a stereo zoom microscope with about 10x - 40x magnification. A microscope allows you to view the individual particles and if using transmitted light (light from beneath the sand) you can often view the aberrations in each piece of sand.

The colors of sand vary greatly depending on the area the sand came from. Some sand is created from river rocks that eroded from riverbanks. Other particles of sand look like small polished pieces of rock. There is even a beach in California called glass beach! This beach was created many years ago when residents used to dump garbage near the coast of a town near Fort Bragg, California. Years of waves crashing on the beach have polished small pieces of glass into colorful pebbles!

You can view more images of sand under a microscope here.