Different Kinds of Sands Found at Beaches

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Feeling the sand between your toes is one of the greatest parts of going to the beach, but a lot of people don’t realize why you might prefer to be barefoot in the sand of some shores over others. In reality, despite its homogeneous appearance, there are actually many different types of sand that serve all different kinds of purposes.

You might have never considered having a favorite type of sand before, but learning the composition and locations of all different kinds will make you a sand connoisseur in no time! We’ve compiled a list of the most preferred beach sands and given you quality ratings to make sure you get the most out of your beach experience:

Continental Sand – This is the most popular type of sand found in the United States. Most often, continental sand is made of quartz shavings, though these fragments also mix with mica, feldspar, and biogenic grains. This sand is the typical yellow-brown color that people often associate with beaches. Overall, this is quality sand, with an 8/10 foot satisfaction rating. We deducted some points because sometimes the grains can hurt the sensitive area between the toes.

Quartz Sand – Often when people picture white sandy beaches, they are thinking of traditional quartz sand. When not combined with other types, this sand is incredibly picturesque and often is particularly malleable. What’s even cooler is that this sand is the most resistant to chemical and physical weather, which makes it some of the oldest sand around. That means that any time you’re on a quartz sand beach, you’re basically standing in history. It’s why we give this sand a 9/10 rating.

Ooid Sand – Pronounced oh-oyd, this sand is generally located in the water of tropical type beaches, often making it pleasantly warm to the touch. Unlike the previous sands we’ve mentioned, ooid sand grows, not weathers. Crystalized nuclei form on the outer edges of the grain, forming patterns of growth much like the rings on trees. You can find this sand locally in the Gulf of Mexico, making it a staple of Texas beaches. We give this sand a 10/10 rating, mostly because we like to say the name.

Coral Sand – Though typically found closer to the Mexico border, coral sand occasionally drifts towards Texas beaches. Unlike continental sand or quartz sand, coral sand is not very fine, so it often resembles the texture of gravel. This is because coral sand has a higher mineral variety, including grains of foraminifera, mollusks, sea urchins, coral, algae, sponges, and other parts of the sea. This makes this sand pretty to look at, but a little scary when you consider the composition. It also generally forms in colder water because of the high coral content, and because of the different ooids the sand can form with. Though we wouldn’t recommend sticking your toes in, we’ll give this sand a 7/10 just because it’s kind of cool to look at.

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