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Sand is a
granular Granularity (also called graininess), the condition of existing in granules or grains A grain is a small, hard, dry seed A seed is an embryonic plant enclosed in a protective outer covering. The formation of the seed is part of the pro ...

granular
material composed of finely divided
rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compound, chemical composition and the way in w ...
and
mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occurs naturally in pure form.John P. Rafferty, ed. (2 ...

mineral
particles. Sand has various compositions but is defined by its grain size. Sand grains are smaller than
gravel Gravel is a loose aggregation of rock fragments. Gravel occurs naturally throughout the world as a result of sedimentary and erosive geologic processes; it is also produced in large quantities commercially as crushed stone. Gravel is classifie ...

gravel
and coarser than
silt Silt is granular material A granular material is a conglomeration of discrete solid, macroscopic scale, macroscopic particles characterized by a loss of energy whenever the particles interact (the most common example would be friction when gra ...
. Sand can also refer to a textural class of soil or soil type; i.e., a soil containing more than 85 percent sand-sized particles by mass. The composition of sand varies, depending on the local rock sources and conditions, but the most common constituent of sand in inland continental settings and non-
tropical The tropics are the region of Earth surrounding the Equator. They are delimited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere at N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere at S; these latitudes correspond to ...

tropical
coastal The coast, also known as the coastline or seashore, is defined as the area where land meets the ocean The ocean (also the sea The sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ...

coastal
settings is
silica Silicon dioxide, also known as silica, is an oxide An oxide () is a chemical compound A chemical compound is a chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any su ...

silica
(silicon dioxide, or SiO2), usually in the form of
quartz Quartz is a hard, crystalline mineral composed of silica (silicon dioxide). The atoms are linked in a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon-oxygen Tetrahedral molecular geometry, tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, ...

quartz
.
Calcium carbonate Calcium carbonate is a chemical compound A chemical compound is a chemical substance composed of many identical molecules (or molecular entity, molecular entities) composed of atoms from more than one chemical element, element held together ...

Calcium carbonate
is the second most common type of sand, for example,
aragonite Aragonite is a , one of the three most common naturally occurring of , (the other forms being the s and ). It is formed by biological and physical processes, including precipitation from marine and freshwater environments. The of aragonite d ...

aragonite
, which has mostly been created, over the past 500million years, by various forms of life, like
coral Corals are marine invertebrates Marine invertebrates are the invertebrates that live in marine habitats. Invertebrate is a blanket term that includes all animals apart from the vertebrate members of the chordate phylum. Invertebrates lack a vert ...

coral
and
shellfish Shellfish is a colloquial and fisheries Fishery is the enterprise of raising or harvesting fish and other aquatic life. Commercial fisheries include wild fisheries and Fish farming, fish farms, both in fresh water (about 10% of all catch) and t ...

shellfish
. For example, it is the primary form of sand apparent in areas where reefs have dominated the ecosystem for millions of years like the
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles ...
. Somewhat more rarely, sand may be composed of
calcium sulfate Calcium sulfate (or calcium sulphate) is the inorganic compound with the formula CaSO4 and related hydrates. In the form of γ-anhydrite (the anhydrous form), it is used as a desiccant. One particular hydrate is better known as plaster of Paris, ...

calcium sulfate
, such as
gypsum Gypsum is a soft sulfate mineralThe sulfate minerals are a class of mineral In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the ...

gypsum
and
selenite Selenite may refer to: Substances containing selenium *A selenium-containing anion or ionic compound with the SeO32− anion: **Selenite (ion), anion is a selenium oxoanion with the chemical formula SeO32− ***Selenous acid, the conjugate acid, wi ...
, as is found in places like
White Sands National Park White Sands National Park is an American national park located in the state of New Mexico and completely surrounded by the White Sands Missile Range. The park covers in the Tularosa Basin, including the southern 41% of a field of white sand dun ...

White Sands National Park
and
Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge The Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge is part of the United States system of national wildlife refuges. It is located in Alfalfa County in northern Oklahoma, north of Jet, Oklahoma, Jet (pop. 230), along Great Salt Plains Lake, which is formed ...
in the U.S. Sand is a
non-renewable resource A non-renewable resource (also called a finite resource) is a natural resource that cannot be readily replaced by natural means at a quick enough pace to keep up with consumption. An example is carbon-based fossil fuel. The original organic matte ...
over human timescales, and sand suitable for making
concrete Concrete is a composed of fine and coarse bonded together with a fluid (cement paste) that hardens (cures) over time. Concrete is the second-most-used substance in the world after water, and is the most widely used building material. Its ...

concrete
is in high demand. Desert sand, although plentiful, is not suitable for concrete. 50 billion tons of beach sand and fossil sand is used each year for construction.


Composition

The exact definition of sand varies. The scientific
Unified Soil Classification System #REDIRECT Unified Soil Classification SystemThe Unified Soil Classification System (USCS) is a soil classification Soil classification deals with the systematic categorization Categorization is the human ability and activity of recognizing share ...
used in engineering and geology corresponds to US Standard Sieves, and defines sand as particles with a diameter of between 0.074 and 4.75 millimeters. By another definition, in terms of
particle size Particle size is a notion introduced for comparing dimension thumb , 236px , The first four spatial dimensions, represented in a two-dimensional picture. In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elemen ...
as used by
geologist A geologist is a scientist who studies the solid, liquid, and gaseous matter that constitutes Earth and other terrestrial planets, as well as the processes that shape them. Geologists usually study geology, although backgrounds in physics, chem ...

geologist
s, sand particles range in diameter from 0.0625 mm (or  mm) a volume of approximately 0.00012 cubic millimetres, to 2 mm, a volume of approximately 4.2 cubic millimetres, the difference in volumes being 34,688 measures difference. Any particle falling within this range of sizes is termed a ''sand grain''. Sand grains are between
gravel Gravel is a loose aggregation of rock fragments. Gravel occurs naturally throughout the world as a result of sedimentary and erosive geologic processes; it is also produced in large quantities commercially as crushed stone. Gravel is classifie ...

gravel
(with particles ranging from 2 mm up to 64 mm by the latter system, and from 4.75 mm up to 75 mm in the former) and
silt Silt is granular material A granular material is a conglomeration of discrete solid, macroscopic scale, macroscopic particles characterized by a loss of energy whenever the particles interact (the most common example would be friction when gra ...
(particles smaller than 0.0625 mm down to 0.004 mm). The size specification between sand and gravel has remained constant for more than a century, but particle diameters as small as 0.02 mm were considered sand under the
Albert Atterberg Albert Mauritz Atterberg (19 March 1846 – 4 April 1916) was a Sweden, Swedish chemist and agricultural scientist who created the Atterberg limits, which are commonly referred to by geotechnical engineers and engineering geologists today. In Swed ...
standard in use during the early 20th century. The grains of sand in
Archimedes Archimedes of Syracuse (; grc, ; ; ) was a Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its popula ...

Archimedes
' ''
The Sand Reckoner ''The Sand Reckoner'' ( el, Ψαμμίτης, ''Psammites'') is a work by Archimedes Archimedes of Syracuse (; grc, ; ; ) was a Greek mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathemat ...
'' written around 240 BCE, were 0.02 mm in diameter. A 1938 specification of the
United States Department of Agriculture The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), also known as the Agriculture Department, is the federal executive department responsible for developing and executing federal laws related to farming, forestry, rural economic development, ...
was 0.05 mm. A 1953 engineering standard published by the
American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is a standards setting body which publishes specifications, test protocols Protocol may refer to: Sociology and politics * Protocol (politics)Protocol originally (i ...
set the minimum sand size at 0.074 mm. Sand feels gritty when rubbed between the fingers.
Silt Silt is granular material A granular material is a conglomeration of discrete solid, macroscopic scale, macroscopic particles characterized by a loss of energy whenever the particles interact (the most common example would be friction when gra ...
, by comparison, feels like
flour Flour is a powder A powder is a dry, bulk solid Solid is one of the four fundamental states of matter (the others being liquid, gas and plasma). The molecules in a solid are closely packed together and contain the least amount ...

flour
.
ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task w ...
14688 grades sands as fine, medium, and coarse with ranges 0.063 mm to 0.2 mm to 0.63 mm to 2.0 mm. In the United States, sand is commonly divided into five sub-categories based on size: very fine sand ( –  mm diameter), fine sand ( mm –  mm), medium sand ( mm –  mm), coarse sand ( mm – 1 mm), and very coarse sand (1 mm – 2 mm). These sizes are based on the
Krumbein phi scale Grain size (or particle size) is the diameter In geometry Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ''wikt:γῆ, geo-'' "earth", ''wikt:μέτρον, -metron'' "measurement") is, with arithmetic, one of the oldest branches of m ...
, where size in Φ = -log2D; D being the particle size in mm. On this scale, for sand the value of Φ varies from −1 to +4, with the divisions between sub-categories at whole numbers. The most common constituent of sand, in inland continental settings and non-tropical coastal settings, is
silica Silicon dioxide, also known as silica, is an oxide An oxide () is a chemical compound A chemical compound is a chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any su ...

silica
(silicon dioxide, or SiO2), usually in the form of
quartz Quartz is a hard, crystalline mineral composed of silica (silicon dioxide). The atoms are linked in a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon-oxygen Tetrahedral molecular geometry, tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, ...

quartz
, which, because of its chemical inertness and considerable hardness, is the most common
mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occurs naturally in pure form.John P. Rafferty, ed. (2 ...

mineral
resistant to
weathering Weathering is the deterioration of rocks In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rock (geology ...
. The composition of mineral sand is highly variable, depending on the local rock sources and conditions. The bright white sands found in tropical and subtropical coastal settings are eroded
limestone Limestone is a common type of carbonate In chemistry, a carbonate is a salt Salt is a mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride (NaCl), a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of Salt (chemistry), salts; salt in its nat ...

limestone
and may contain
coral Corals are marine invertebrates Marine invertebrates are the invertebrates that live in marine habitats. Invertebrate is a blanket term that includes all animals apart from the vertebrate members of the chordate phylum. Invertebrates lack a vert ...

coral
and
shell Shell may refer to: Architecture and design * Shell (structure)A shell is a type of structural element which is characterized by its geometry, being a three-dimensional solid whose thickness is very small when compared with other dimensions, and ...

shell
fragments in addition to other
organic Organic may refer to: * Organic, of or relating to an organism, a living entity * Organic, of or relating to an anatomical organ (anatomy), organ Chemistry * Organic matter, matter that has come from a once-living organism, is capable of decay or ...

organic
or organically derived fragmental material, suggesting that sand formation depends on living organisms, too. The
gypsum Gypsum is a soft sulfate mineralThe sulfate minerals are a class of mineral In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the ...

gypsum
sand dunes of the
White Sands National Park White Sands National Park is an American national park located in the state of New Mexico and completely surrounded by the White Sands Missile Range. The park covers in the Tularosa Basin, including the southern 41% of a field of white sand dun ...

White Sands National Park
in
New Mexico ) , population_demonym = New Mexican ( es, Neomexicano, Neomejicano, Nuevo Mexicano) , seat = Santa Fe , LargestCity = Albuquerque , LargestMetro = Greater Albuquerque , OfficialLang = None , Languages = English English usually refer ...

New Mexico
are famous for their bright, white color.
Arkose Arkose () is a detritalDetritus (; adjective ''detrital'' ) is particles of rock derived from pre-existing rock through processes of weathering Weathering is the breaking down of rocks, soil Soil (often stylized as SOiL) is an American roc ...

Arkose
is a sand or
sandstone Sandstone is a clastic sedimentary rock of a clast (sand grain), derived from a basalt Basalt (, ) is a fine-grained extrusive igneous rock formed from the rapid cooling of low-viscosity lava rich in magnesium and iron ('' mafic ' ...

sandstone
with considerable
feldspar Feldspars are a group of rock-forming aluminium Aluminium (aluminum in and ) is a with the  Al and  13. Aluminium has a density lower than those of other common , at approximately one third that of . It has a great affinity ...
content, derived from
weathering Weathering is the deterioration of rocks In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rock (geology ...
and
erosion In earth science Earth science or geoscience includes all fields of natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific ...

erosion
of a (usually nearby)
granitic A granitoid is a generic term for a diverse category of coarse-grained igneous rock Igneous rock (derived from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languag ...

granitic
rock outcrop. Some sands contain
magnetite Magnetite is a mineral In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rock (geology), rocks of which it i ...

magnetite
,
chlorite The chlorite ion An ion () is a particle In the Outline of physical science, physical sciences, a particle (or corpuscule in older texts) is a small wikt:local, localized physical body, object to which can be ascribed several physical ...
,
glauconite Glauconite is an iron Iron () is a chemical element with Symbol (chemistry), symbol Fe (from la, Wikt:ferrum, ferrum) and atomic number 26. It is a metal that belongs to the first transition series and group 8 element, group 8 of the periodic ...
, or
gypsum Gypsum is a soft sulfate mineralThe sulfate minerals are a class of mineral In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the ...

gypsum
. Sands rich in
magnetite Magnetite is a mineral In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rock (geology), rocks of which it i ...

magnetite
are dark to black in color, as are sands derived from volcanic
basalt Basalt (, ) is a fine-grained extrusive A volcanic rock from Italy with a relatively large six-sided phenocryst (diameter about 1 mm) surrounded by a fine-grained groundmass, as seen in thin section under a petrographic microscope Extrusi ...

basalt
s and
obsidian Obsidian (; ) is a naturally occurring volcanic glass formed when lava extrusive rock, extruded from a volcano cools rapidly with minimal crystal growth. It is an igneous rock. Obsidian is produced from felsic lava, rich in the lighter elements ...

obsidian
.
Chlorite The chlorite ion An ion () is a particle In the Outline of physical science, physical sciences, a particle (or corpuscule in older texts) is a small wikt:local, localized physical body, object to which can be ascribed several physical ...
-
glauconite Glauconite is an iron Iron () is a chemical element with Symbol (chemistry), symbol Fe (from la, Wikt:ferrum, ferrum) and atomic number 26. It is a metal that belongs to the first transition series and group 8 element, group 8 of the periodic ...
bearing sands are typically green in color, as are sands derived from
basaltic Basalt (, ) is a fine-grained extrusive igneous rock formed from the rapid cooling of low-viscosity lava rich in magnesium and iron (''mafic '' lava) exposed at or very near the surface of a terrestrial planet, rocky planet or a moon. Mo ...
lava Lava is magma once it has been expelled from the interior of a terrestrial planet (such as Earth) or a Natural satellite, moon onto its surface. Lava may be erupted at a volcano or through a Fissure vent, fracture in the Crust (geology), crust, ...

lava
with a high
olivine The mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occurs naturally in pure form.John P. R ...

olivine
content. Many sands, especially those found extensively in
Southern Europe Southern Europe is the southern region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth a ...

Southern Europe
, have
iron Iron () is a with Fe (from la, ) and 26. It is a that belongs to the and of the . It is, on , right in front of (32.1% and 30.1%, respectively), forming much of Earth's and . It is the fourth most common . In its metallic state, iron ...

iron
impurities within the quartz
crystal A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid Solid is one of the four fundamental states of matter (the others being liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually Deformatio ...

crystal
s of the sand, giving a deep yellow color. Sand deposits in some areas contain
garnet Garnets () are a group of silicate mineral Silicate minerals are rock-forming mineral In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science c ...

garnet
s and other resistant minerals, including some small
gemstone A gemstone (also called a fine gem, jewel, precious stone, or semi-precious stone) is a piece of mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemic ...

gemstone
s.


Sources

Rocks
erode Erode () is a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu () is a States and union territories of India, state in southern India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian subcontine ...

erode
or
weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere An atmosphere (from the greek words ἀτμός ''(atmos)'', meaning 'vapour', and σφαῖρα ''(sphaira)'', meaning 'ball' or 'sphere') is a layer or a set of layers of gases surrounding a p ...
over a long period of time, mainly by water and wind, and their
sediment Sediment is a naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering Weathering is the deterioration of rocks A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is cate ...

sediment
s are transported downstream. These sediments continue to break apart into smaller pieces until they become fine grains of sand. The type of rock the sediment originated from and the intensity of the environment give different compositions of sand. The most common rock to form sand is
granite Granite () is a coarse-grained (phaneritic A phanerite is an igneous rock Igneous rock (derived from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Lat ...

granite
, where the
feldspar Feldspars are a group of rock-forming aluminium Aluminium (aluminum in and ) is a with the  Al and  13. Aluminium has a density lower than those of other common , at approximately one third that of . It has a great affinity ...
minerals dissolve faster than the
quartz Quartz is a hard, crystalline mineral composed of silica (silicon dioxide). The atoms are linked in a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon-oxygen Tetrahedral molecular geometry, tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, ...

quartz
, causing the rock to break apart into small pieces. In high energy environments rocks break apart much faster than in more calm settings. In granite rocks this results in more feldspar minerals in the sand because they don't have as much time to dissolve away. The term for sand formed by weathering is "epiclastic." Sand from rivers are collected either from the river itself or its
flood plain File:Flood plain 7991.JPG, Riparian vegetation on the floodplain of the Lynches River, close to Johnsonville, South Carolina. These tupelo and Taxodium, cypress trees show the ordinary high water mark, high-water mark of flooding. A floodpl ...
and accounts for the majority of the sand used in the construction industry. Because of this, many small rivers have been depleted, causing environmental concern and economic losses to adjacent land. The rate of sand mining in such areas greatly outweighs the rate the sand can replenish, making it a non-renewable resource. Sand dunes are a consequence of dry conditions or wind deposition. The
Sahara Desert The Sahara (, ; ar, الصحراء الكبرى, ', 'the Greatest Desert') is a desert on the . With an area of , it is the largest hot in the world and the third largest desert overall, smaller only than the deserts of and the northern . ...

Sahara Desert
is very dry because of its geographic location and proximity to the
equator The Equator is a , about in circumference, that divides into the and hemispheres. It is an located at 0 degrees , halfway between the and poles. In , as applied in , the equator of a rotating (such as a ) is the parallel (circle of l ...

equator
. It is known for its vast sand dunes, which exist mainly due to a lack of vegetation and water. Over time, wind blows away fine particles, such as clay and dead organic matter, leaving only sand and larger rocks. Only 15% of the Sahara is sand dunes, while 70% is bare rock. The wind is responsible for creating these different environments and shaping the sand to be round and smooth. These properties make desert sand unusable for construction. Beach sand is also formed by erosion. Over thousands of years, rocks are eroded near the shoreline from the constant motion of waves and the sediments build up. Weathering and river deposition also accelerate the process of creating a beach, along with marine animals interacting with rocks, such as eating the algae off of them. Once there is a sufficient amount of sand, the beach acts as a barrier to keep the land from eroding any further. This sand is ideal for construction as it is angular and of various sizes. Marine sand (or ocean sand) comes from sediments transported into the ocean and the erosion of ocean rocks. The thickness of the sand layer varies, however it is common to have more sand closer to land; this type of sand is ideal for construction and is a very valuable commodity. Europe is the main miners of marine sand, which greatly hurts ecosystems and local fisheries.


Study

The study of individual grains can reveal much historical information as to the origin and kind of transport of the grain.
Quartz sand Quartz is a hard, crystalline mineral composed of silicon and oxygen atoms. The atoms are linked in a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon-oxygen Tetrahedral molecular geometry, tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, g ...

Quartz sand
that is recently weathered from
granite Granite () is a coarse-grained (phaneritic A phanerite is an igneous rock Igneous rock (derived from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Lat ...

granite
or
gneiss Gneiss ( ) is a common and widely distributed type of metamorphic rock. Gneiss is formed by high-temperature and high-pressure metamorphic processes acting on formations composed of igneous Igneous rock (derived from the Latin Latin (, or ...

gneiss
quartz crystals will be angular. It is called grus in geology or sharp sand in the building trade where it is preferred for concrete, and in gardening where it is used as a soil amendment to loosen clay soils. Sand that is transported long distances by water or wind will be rounded, with characteristic abrasion patterns on the grain surface. Desert sand is typically rounded. People who collect sand as a hobby are known as arenophiles. Organisms that thrive in sandy environments are psammophiles.


Uses

* Abrasion: Before sandpaper, wet sand was used as an abrasive element between rotating devices with elastic surface and hard materials such as very hard stone (making of stone vases), or metal (removal of old stain before re-staining copper cooking pots). *
Agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors su ...

Agriculture
: Sandy
soil Soil is a mixture In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers the Chemical element, elements that make up matter to the chemical compound, comp ...

soil
s are ideal for crops such as watermelons, peaches, and peanuts, and their excellent drainage characteristics make them suitable for intensive dairy farming. * Air filtration: Finer sand particles mixed with cloth was commonly used in certain
gas mask A gas mask is a mask A mask is an object normally worn on the face, typically for protection, disguise, performance, or entertainment. Masks have been used since antiquity for both ceremony, ceremonial and pragmatism, practical purposes ...

gas mask
filter designs but have largely been replaced by
microfiber Microfiber (or microfibre) is synthetic fiber finer than one denier Denier may refer to: * the French form of ''denarius'' (penny) ** French denier (penny), a type of medieval coin ** Denier (unit), a unit of linear mass density of fibers ** ...

microfiber
s. * : Sand makes a low-cost aquarium base material which some believe is better than gravel for home use. It is also a necessity for saltwater s, which emulate environments composed largely of
aragonite Aragonite is a , one of the three most common naturally occurring of , (the other forms being the s and ). It is formed by biological and physical processes, including precipitation from marine and freshwater environments. The of aragonite d ...

aragonite
sand broken down from
coral Corals are marine invertebrates Marine invertebrates are the invertebrates that live in marine habitats. Invertebrate is a blanket term that includes all animals apart from the vertebrate members of the chordate phylum. Invertebrates lack a vert ...

coral
and
shellfish Shellfish is a colloquial and fisheries Fishery is the enterprise of raising or harvesting fish and other aquatic life. Commercial fisheries include wild fisheries and Fish farming, fish farms, both in fresh water (about 10% of all catch) and t ...

shellfish
. * Artificial reefs:
Geotextile Geotextiles are permeable s which, when used in association with , have the ability to separate, filter, reinforce, protect, or drain. Typically made from or , geotextile fabrics come in three basic forms: (resembling mail bag sacking), (resem ...
bagged sand can serve as the foundation for new reefs. *
Artificial island An artificial island or man-made island is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on at ...
s in the
Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=xalij-e fârs, lit=Gulf of , ) is a in . The body of water is an extension of the () through the and lies between to the northeast and the to the southwest.United Nations Group of Exper ...
. *
Beach nourishment Beach nourishment (also referred to as beach renourishment, beach replenishment, or sand replenishment) describes a process by which sediment Sediment is a naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering Weat ...
: Governments move sand to
beach A beach is a landform alongside a body of water which consists of loose particles. The particles composing a beach are typically made from Rock (geology), rock, such as sand, gravel, shingle beach, shingle, pebbles, etc., or biological so ...

beach
es where tides, storms, or deliberate changes to the shoreline erode the original sand. *
Brick A brick is a type of block used to build walls, pavements and other elements in masonry construction. Properly, the term ''brick'' denotes a block composed of dried clay, but is now also used informally to denote other chemically cured cons ...

Brick
: Manufacturing plants add sand to a mixture of
clay Clay is a type of fine-grained natural soil Surface-water- gley developed in glacial till, Northern Ireland.">Northern_Ireland.html" ;"title="glacial till, Northern Ireland">glacial till, Northern Ireland. Soil is a mixture of organic m ...

clay
and other materials for manufacturing bricks. * Cob: Coarse sand makes up as much as 75% of cob. *
Concrete Concrete is a composite material A composite material (also called a composition material or shortened to composite, which is the common name) is a material Material is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a ter ...

Concrete
: Sand is often a principal component of this critical construction material. *
Glass Glass is a non- crystalline, often transparency and translucency, transparent amorphous solid, that has widespread practical, technological, and decorative use in, for example, window panes, tableware, and optics. Glass is most often formed by ...

Glass
: Sand rich in silica is the principal component in common glasses. *
Hydraulic fracturing Hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking, hydrofracking, and hydrofracturing, is a well stimulation technique involving the fracturing of bedrock Formation (geology), formations by a pressurized liquid. The process involves the high-pressur ...
: A drilling technique for natural gas, which uses rounded silica sand as a "proppant", a material to hold open cracks that are caused by the hydraulic fracturing process. * Landscaping: Sand makes small hills and slopes (golf courses would be an example). *
Mortar Mortar may refer to: * Mortar (weapon), an indirect-fire infantry weapon * Mortar (masonry), a material used to fill the gaps between blocks and bind them together * Mortar and pestle, a tool pair used to crush or grind * Mortar, Bihar, a village in ...
: Sand is mixed with masonry cement or
Portland cement Portland cement is the most common type of cement A cement is a binder (material), binder, a substance used for construction that solidification, sets, hardens, and adheres to other materials to bind them together. Cement is seldom used ...

Portland cement
and lime to be used in masonry construction. *
Paint Paint is any pigmented liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics Fluid mechanics is the branch of physics concerned with the mechanics Mechanics (Ancient Greek, Greek: ) is the area of physics concerned wi ...

Paint
: Mixing sand with paint produces a textured finish for walls and ceilings or non-slip floor surfaces. * Railroads: Engine drivers and rail transit operators use sand to improve the traction of wheels on the rails. * Recreation: Playing with sand is a favorite beach activity. One of the most beloved uses of sand is to make sometimes intricate, sometimes simple structures known as s, proverbially impermanent. Special play areas for children, enclosing a significant area of sand and known as sandboxes, are common on many public playgrounds, and even at some single-family homes. Sand dunes are also popular among climbers, motorcyclists and beach buggy drivers. * Roads: Sand improves traction (and thus traffic safety) in icy or snowy conditions. *
Sand animation Sand animation is the manipulation of sand to create animation Animation is a method in which Image, figures are manipulated to appear as moving images. In traditional animation, images are drawn or painted by hand on transparent cel, cellul ...
:
Performance art Performance art is an artwork or art exhibition created through actions executed by the artist or other participants. It may be witnessed live or through documentation, spontaneously developed or written, and is traditionally presented to a pu ...
ists draw images in sand. Makers of animated films use the same term to describe their use of sand on frontlit or backlit glass. *
Sand casting Sand casting, also known as sand molded casting, is a metal casting In metalworking and jewelry making, casting is a process in which a liquid metal is delivered into a mold (usually by a crucible) that contains a negative impression (i.e., ...

Sand casting
: Casters moisten or oil
molding sand Molding sand, also known as foundry sand, is a sand Sand is a granular material composed of finely divided rock (geology), rock and mineral particles. Sand has various compositions but is defined by its grain size. Sand grains are smaller tha ...
, also known as
foundry A foundry is a factory A factory, manufacturing plant or a production plant is an industrial site, often a complex consisting of several buildings filled with machinery A machine is a man-made device that uses power to apply forces an ...

foundry
sand and then shape it into molds into which they pour molten material. This type of sand must be able to withstand high temperatures and pressure, allow gases to escape, have a uniform, small grain size, and be non-reactive with metals. *
Sandbag A sandbag or dirtbag is a bag or sack made of hessian (burlap), polypropylene or other sturdy materials that is filled with sand or soil and used for such purposes as flood control, military fortification A fortification is a militar ...

Sandbag
s: These protect against floods and gunfire. The inexpensive bags are easy to transport when empty, and unskilled volunteers can quickly fill them with local sand in emergencies. *
Sandblasting Abrasive blasting, more commonly known as sandblasting, is the operation of forcibly propelling a stream of abrasive material against a surface under high pressure Pressure (symbol: ''p'' or ''P'') is the force In physics ...
: Graded sand serves as an
abrasive An abrasive is a material, often a mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occurs n ...
in cleaning, preparing, and polishing. *
Silicon Silicon is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Si and atomic number 14. It is a hard, brittle crystalline solid with a blue-grey metallic lustre, and is a Tetravalence, tetravalent metalloid and semiconductor. It is a member ...

Silicon
: Quartz sand is a raw material for . * Thermal weapon: While not in widespread use anymore, sand used to be heated and poured on invading troops in the classical and medieval time periods. *
Water filtration A water filter removes impurities by lowering contamination of water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and Color of water, nearly colorless chemical substance, which is ...
:
Media filter A media filter is a type of filter Filter, filtering or filters may refer to: Science and technology Device * Filter (chemistry), a device which separates solids from fluids (liquids or gases) by adding a medium through which only the fluid c ...
s use sand for filtering water. It is also commonly used by many water treatment facilities, often in the form of
rapid sand filter The rapid sand filter or rapid gravity filter is a type of filter used in water purification Water purification is the process of removing undesirable chemicals, biological contaminants, suspended solids, and gases from water. The goal is to pr ...
s. * Wuḍūʾ: an
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or ex ...
ic ritual wiping of parts of the body. * "skeletons": Animals in this order of marine
benthic The benthic zone is the ecological region at the lowest level of a body of water A body of water or waterbody (often spelled water body) is any significant accumulation of water, generally on a planet's surface. The term most often refers to ...
cnidaria Pacific sea nettles, ''Chrysaora fuscescens'' Cnidaria () is a phylum In biology, a phylum (; plural The plural (sometimes list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ), in many languages, is one of the values of the grammatical number, ...

cnidaria
ns related to
coral Corals are marine invertebrates Marine invertebrates are the invertebrates that live in marine habitats. Invertebrate is a blanket term that includes all animals apart from the vertebrate members of the chordate phylum. Invertebrates lack a vert ...

coral
s and
sea anemone Sea anemones are the marine, predatory Predation is a biological interaction In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms ...

sea anemone
s, incorporate sand into their
mesoglea Mesoglea refers to the tissue found in cnidaria Image:Sea nettles.jpg, Chrysaora fuscescens, Pacific sea nettles, ''Chrysaora fuscescens'' Cnidaria () is a phylum under kingdom Animalia containing over 11,000 species of aquatic animals found bot ...
for structural strength, which they need because they lack a true skeleton.


Resources and environmental concerns

Only some sands are suitable for the construction industry, for example for making
concrete Concrete is a composed of fine and coarse bonded together with a fluid (cement paste) that hardens (cures) over time. Concrete is the second-most-used substance in the world after water, and is the most widely used building material. Its ...

concrete
. Because of the growth of population and of cities and the consequent construction activity there is a huge demand for these special kinds of sand, and natural sources are running low. In 2012 French director Denis Delestrac made a documentary called " Sand Wars" about the impact of the lack of construction sand. It shows the ecological and economic effects of both legal and illegal trade in construction sand. To retrieve the sand, the method of hydraulic dredging is used. This works by pumping the top few meters of sand out of the water and filling it into a boat, which is then transported back to land for processing. Unfortunately, all
marine life Marine life, sea life, or ocean life is the plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, thr ...

marine life
mixed in with the extracted sand is killed and the ecosystem can continue to suffer for years after the mining is complete. Not only does this affect marine life, but also the local fishing industries because of the loss of life, and communities living close to the water's edge. When sand is taken out of the water it increases the risk of landslides, which can lead to loss of agricultural land and/or damage to dwellings. Sand's many uses require a significant
dredging Dredging is the excavation of material from a water environment. Possible reasons for dredging include improving existing water features; reshaping land and water features to alter drainage Drainage is the natural or artificial remova ...
industry, raising environmental concerns over fish depletion, landslides, and flooding. Countries such as China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Cambodia ban sand exports, citing these issues as a major factor. It is estimated that the annual consumption of sand and gravel is 40 billion tons and sand is a US$70 billion global industry. With increasing use, more is expected to come from recycling and alternatives to sand. The global demand for sand in 2017 was 9.55 billion tons as part of a $99.5 billion industry.


Hazards

While sand is generally non-toxic, sand-using activities such as
sandblasting Abrasive blasting, more commonly known as sandblasting, is the operation of forcibly propelling a stream of abrasive material against a surface under high pressure Pressure (symbol: ''p'' or ''P'') is the force In physics ...
require precautions. Bags of silica sand used for sandblasting now carry labels warning the user to wear respiratory protection to avoid breathing the resulting fine silica
dust Dust is made of s of solid . On Earth, it generally consists of particles in the that come from various sources such as lifted by wind (an ), , and . Dust in homes is composed of about 20–50% dead . The rest, and in offices, and other ...
.
Safety data sheet A safety data sheet (SDS), material safety data sheet (MSDS), or product safety data sheet (PSDS) is a document that lists information relating to occupational safety and health Occupational safety and health (OSH), also commonly referred ...
s for silica sand state that "excessive inhalation of crystalline silica is a serious health concern". In areas of high
pore water pressurePore water pressure (sometimes abbreviated to pwp) refers to the pressure of groundwater held within a soil or Rock (geology), rock, in gaps between particles (soil pore, pores). Pore water pressures below the phreatic level of the groundwater are me ...
, sand and salt water can form
quicksand Quicksand is a colloid A colloid is a mixture in which one substance of microscopically dispersed insoluble particles are suspended throughout another substance. However, some definitions specify that the particles must be dispersed in a ...
, which is a
colloid A colloid is a mixture In chemistry, a mixture is a material made up of two or more different chemical substances which are not chemically combined. A mixture is the physical combination of two or more substances in which the identities are r ...

colloid
hydrogel A hydrogel is a crosslinked hydrophilic A hydrophile is a molecule File:Pentacene on Ni(111) STM.jpg, A scanning tunneling microscopy image of pentacene molecules, which consist of linear chains of five carbon rings. A molecule is an electr ...

hydrogel
that behaves like a liquid. Quicksand produces a considerable barrier to escape for creatures caught within, who often die from exposure (not from submersion) as a result.


Manufacture

Manufactured sand (M sand) is sand made from rock by artificial processes, usually for construction purposes in cement or concrete. It differs from river sand by being more angular, and has somewhat different properties.


Case studies

In
Dubai Dubai ( ; ar, دبي, translit=Dubayy , ) is the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates The United Arab Emirates (UAE; ar, الإمارات العربية المتحدة ) or the Emirates ( ar, الإمارات ), is a country i ...

Dubai
, United Arab Emirates, the use of sand has been very demanding in the construction of infrastructure and creating new islands. They used up their own reserves and also imported sand from Australia. There have been three projects to create artificial islands needing more than 835 million tonnes of sand, which cost more than US$26 billion.


See also

* * * * * * (EMC) * * * * * * * * * * * * *


References


External links


''Beach Sand: What It Is, Where It Comes From and How It Gets Here''
- Beaufort County Library * ;Sand mining side-effects
The World Is Running Out Of Sand
- ''New York Times''

- ''New York Times''
How Demand For Sand Is Killing Rivers In Africa
- BBC
Dubai Imports Sand
- BBC {{Authority control Soil-based building materials