Sand grains magnified 110-250 times reveal each grain is unique.
The tip of a spiral shell has broken off and become a grain of sand. After being repeatedly tumbled by action of the surf this spiral sand grain has become opalescent in character. It is surrounded by bits of coral, a pink shell fragment, a foram (a type of protozoa) and volcanic material. Photo copyright Dr. Gary Greenberg.
A handful of sand grains selected from a beach in Maui and arranged on a black background. Photo copyright Dr. Gary Greenberg.
Every grain of sand in the world is unique when viewed through a microscope.
Sand magnified 250 times. Photo copyright Dr. Gary Greenberg.
Sand Magnified. Photo by Yanping Wang.
Sand magnified 250 times. Photo via Tumblr.
Sand Magnified Around The World
The glacially deposited sands around Lake Winnibigoshish, Minnesota, contain abundant sediments from the igneous and metamorphic minerals of the Lake Superior basin. A sample includes pink garnets, green epidote, iron-rich red agates, black magnetite, and hematite. Photo copyright Dr. Gary Greenberg.
Magnified grains of star sand from Southern Japan, made up of the calcified shells of tiny organisms. Photo by Richard Mouser Williams.
Neat idea for decorating a beach house, or any space you want a splash of the sea. The frame is 14″x17″, and yes, it’s a real seashell. Sold by Art.com for $119.99.
Magnified grains of Star Sand. Photo by Richard Mouser Williams.
Puffy Stars: Star-Shaped Sand Grains from Okinawa. These tiny foram, a type of protozoa, secrete beautiful star-shaped, calcium carbonate shells, or tests. Photo via sandgrains.com.
Coral sand magnified one-hundred times using transmission electron microscopy, brightfield mode. By Dr. David Maitland, Feltwell, UK, microscopyu.com
Many grains of sand are tiny crystals (shiny, flat-sided solids). Sand from Zushi Beach, Japan, contains what looks like a sapphire crystal. The crystal is larger than the surrounding grains and has survived eroding because of its hardness and quality. Photo copyright Dr. Gary Greenberg.
Fragments of baby sea urchin shells, magnified one-hundred times. Biogenic sand, formed from the remains of marine life, is the major ingredient of many tropical beaches. Via popgive.com.
A magnified view of the tropical beach sand from the Caribbean island of St. John (U.S. Virgin Islands). The grains include porous fragments of brightly-colored corals, minute foraminiferan shells, fragments of sea shells and shiny, star-shaped sponge spicules. Originally found at “waynesword.palomar.edu/ww0704b.htm”
Sand Photographer Dr. Gary Greenberg
Every grain of sand is a jewel waiting to be discovered. That’s what Dr. Gary Greenberg found when he first turned his microscope on beach sand. Gemlike minerals, colorful coral fragments, and delicate microscopic shells reveal that sand comprises much more than tiny beige rocks.
Author and photographer Dr. Gary Greenberg is a visual artist who creatively combines art with science. He has a Ph.D. in biomedical research from University College London and holds 17 patents for high-definition 3-D light microscopes. Dr. Greenberg lives in Haiku, Hawaii.
Dr. Greenberg has published two books:
- A Grain of Sand: Nature’s Secret Wonder
- The Secrets of Sand: A Journey into the Amazing Microscopic World of Sand
The Universe Of Sand
Carl Sagan famously remarked “the total number of stars in the universe is greater than all the grains of sand on all the beaches on the planet Earth.” University of Hawai’i researches estimate that the total number of ‘all’ grains of sand on the whole planet could be approximately 75 billion billion. Scientists still believe there are more stars in the Universe.
Speaking of planets: If a grain of sand represented an entire galaxy; so each grain of sand, or galaxy, contains 100’s of billions of stars, you would need to fill six rooms full of sand to contain all the galaxies in the known universe. If you drilled a tiny hole in one of the grains of sand, ‘our Milky Way universe,’ that would be the area that we have been capable of seaching for planets so far. About 2000 planets have been discovered so far.