Sand Magnified

Sand grains magnified 110-250 times reveal each grain is unique.

grains of sand
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.

grains of sand
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 grains
Sand magnified 250 times. Photo copyright Dr. Gary Greenberg.

sand grains magnified
Sand Magnified. Photo by Yanping Wang.

magnified sand
Sand magnified 250 times. Photo via Tumblr.

Sand Magnified Around The World

grains of sand
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.

sand grains magnified
Magnified grains of star sand from Southern Japan, made up of the calcified shells of tiny organisms. Photo by Richard Mouser Williams.


STARFISH - SEA FOAM

Beautiful Framed Seashell

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 sand
Magnified grains of Star Sand. Photo by Richard Mouser Williams.

grains of sand
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.

magnified sand
Coral sand magnified one-hundred times using transmission electron microscopy, brightfield mode. By Dr. David Maitland, Feltwell, UK, microscopyu.com

grain of sand
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.

grain of sand
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.

grains of sand
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. Photo via waynesword.palomar.edu

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:

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.

Written by Keiren

Keiren is an artist who lives in New York City. A lover of animals, nature, science & green building. Keiren originally founded Inspiration Green in 2007, which merged with Insteading in 2016.

50 Comments

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  1. Too much to comprehend. What a phenomenally small place we occupy, in spite of how we regard ourselves.

  2. So amazing and beautiful. God at work. I

    will never look at sand the same way again.

    Thank you for your contribution.

  3. How wonderful – today we have access to great minds who bring to us all those special things.

    ‘Thankyou’

  4. Have looked into microscopes and seen many tiny things, and HAD NO IDEA of the beauty waiting here. Sand and water, a centering place to be …and now glorious images revealed there too. Incredibile universe. Lucky, lucky me! Thank you, Dr. Greenberg for bringing these sights to us.

  5. All of these pics are just Incredible. I never knew that they were so colorful and yet they are so tiny. I love walking on the beach and the feel of sand, NOW I will look at it in a Whole New Light.

  6. I have always said ‘ we are no more important than a grain of sand , but each grain of sand holds this earth together and gives it purpose’

  7. Our awareness is limited by an inability to see beyond our painfully limited horizons. Our perceptions are clouded by imperfections in our capacity to separate the apparent from the real. We are but a primitive species, trying our simple best to understand the little bubble that surrounds us, which we call the universe.

  8. Beautiful, wondrous, more varied than snowflakes, shows sand from every beach is different and amazing, Thank you for sharing this universe within a universe

  9. I don’t know how anyone could deny the existence of a being much greater than ourselves after seeing these images. I’m in awe of the fact that he would have even thought to make something as abundant as sand so beautiful and complex. That anyone would say, my gratefulness for my existence is selfishness and that my love and appreciation for the being that gave me life is selfish is absurd! If you think an Atheist is grateful to anyone but themselves for all they gain in this life, think again. To ignore the existence of an ultimate creator is selfishness in it’s fullest form. It makes me weep that someone could see this glorious representation of Our Creator’s magnificence and be so condeming to those who are greatful for their own existence let alone the existence of a mere grain of sand.

  10. These grains of sand and the stars above testify to the greatness of a wonderful God who loves and cares about each person enough to die for them and surround them with intricate beauty!

  11. I absolutely love gazing apon the beauty of a simple, singular, grain of sand. This is unreal. You do not believe it until you see them. I am glad that he took the time to magnify these. I am only 11 and he astonished me!!

  12. …than it did was I was a kid, and a wonderfully nice surprised with magnification that I didn’t see when living in Santa Cruz, CA!

    This video brings back many happy memories!

    -Michelle Compasso-Moller

  13. Leeuwenhoek 1632 – 1723, is commonly known as ‘the Father of Microbiology’, and is best known for his work on the improvement of the microscope.

    Now, 400 years later, we are still AMAZED by the Verysmallworld within which we live.

    Rather than television, everyone should own a good quality high-powered microscope.

    Even the dust in the air we breathe is composed of marvelous objects beyond our imaginings.

    Delve deep, explore inward, discover your own tiny cosmos.

  14. Take a close look at what you are walking on at the beach, it is simply amazing if you stop and think about the peoples of sand that are all over the world, *** Each one of them are * Different * as each * Fingerprint is on every * Human Being *

    JC*

  15. A friend sent this to me and I thought is was so fascinating and very interesting- learn something new everyday for sure!

  16. I now will look at all my shells from Saibel in a different light. many I have and look at them daily recalling the fun it was picking up each one.

  17. WOW

    I am so in Love with Yahweh, my Great Creator

    after viewing these photos, even more than ever!

    He is just so Totally Awe~Some, and to think that

    I get to spend Eternity with Him because of His

    Son, Yahshua ~ well,

    mere words do not contain my excitement

    and anticipation.

    This is Beautiful. Thank You.

  18. The beauty (when view under magnification) & the almost unlimited volume of sand around the World’s beaches, inclusive of desert sand, just boggles the mind for sheer numbers. Then to relate this to the numbers in the Cosmos, i.e., Stars, Planets, Comets, debris, etc., lends credence to how insignificant man might be in the whole scheme of GODS Creation. Though I feel Man’s roll in the Cosmos is highly significant, it’s just difficult to establish exactly where we stack up in all HIS wondrous glory, when considering Space as being without limits, i.e., without end.

  19. You cannot see what you cannot see! I see that now, in more ways than one, thanks to people who discover the mysteries of the world! Thanks to all of you!

  20. It is absolutely mind boggling the great creation of God. How can any sensible human being think otherwise. Thank you for revealing God’s creation in a greater measure than ever before. Keep up the wonderful work !

  21. If our Creator spent this much time on the details of each grain of sand, think about how much more completely awesome is the gift of life in a human body.

  22. As a fan of the Florida beach area I am amazed to think that each grain is significantly different and beautiful. I have also walked the beach in Lake Erie in Ohio trying to find beach glass. They are almost in the past now. Such beauty to discover right at the shore line. Without your magnification it would be overlooked. It certainly is God’s gift to be cherished.

  23. As a road construction and ran rock crusher’s worked in strip mine, and different rock project’s this total amazes me. A lady sent me an E Mail with the address for this. I have seen the sand around Lake Superiour. It and other place’s are beautiful.

  24. What each individual comprehends is only a grain of sand in the universe of knowledge.

    Thank you for an enlightening journey through your website.

  25. This is absolutely beautiful and speaks to the human condition, i.e., that each person is unique and beautiful just as each grain of sand and star is beautiful. God made us all, big and small.

  26. To think of all the beauty under our feet as we walk on the sand is almost more than the mind can imagine. We don’t realize the wonders that surround use. I am so thankful for having received this. If only more could view what I have just seen. FANTASTIC.

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