Sand patterns

The swirling waters of the Ocean’s waves brushing to and fro against the shore have sorted out the sands by density, creating these lovely shapes made of crystals of different minerals. When I see them on the beach by the Rio de la Plata on my daily walks, quartz and dark biotite mica are the culprits, though I am unsure if the same combination is present in the photo. They aren’t always present, leading me to suspect that they are formed in a particular pattern of currents that turns up every now and then, as I don’t have a dataset big enough yet for my brain to start perceiving any rhythms that may be present.


Image credit: European Wildlife Photographer of the Year


Sand moving. During the storm I also saw the sand move.

I just wanted to jump straight into it and did, but forgot to wear the right clothes. Sand during a storm moves. Fast. Especially at dunes, it flies straight over. You can also close your eyes and hear it. The sand whisper. It almost sings to you as it runs through and over the dunes.

If you have to courage to look down you’ll see the sand make patterns. It can be quite beautiful. Guess it is gravity who is helping. The heavier particles drops before the lighter and this gives … play for your eyes.

Ocean Sand, Bahamas
Image taken October 29, 2000

Though the above image may resemble a new age painting straight out of an art gallery in Venice Beach, California, it is in fact a satellite image of the sands and seaweed in the Bahamas. The image was taken by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper plus (ETM+) instrument aboard the Landsat 7 satellite. Tides and ocean currents in the Bahamas sculpted the sand and seaweed beds into these multicolored, fluted patterns in much the same way that winds sculpted the vast sand dunes in the Sahara Desert.

Image courtesy Serge Andrefouet, University of South Florida