Virtual Learning Center

Sand Study at Hammonasset’s Camper’s Beach

Look at how these different samples of sand look under a microscope!

Grains of sand under microscope
Sand of Qingdao province of China
Lava sand from Canary Islands


  • Sand – a natural, loosely aggregated granular material composed of sand grains which range in size from 1/16 to 2 mm. Sand grains are derived from mineral particles, rock fragments or living matter. Granular material that is finer than sand is referred to as silt, while coarser material is termed gravel.
  • Weathering – the chemical and/or physical breakdown of rocks which is involved in sand formation.
  • Sphericity – the degree to which the shape of a sedimentary particle approaches that of a sphere.
  • Jetty – a structure that projects from land out into water, constructed to protect the shoreline by acting as a barrier against erosion from currents, tides, and waves.

Fun Facts

  • Quartz is the most abundant mineral in sand, often accompanied by feldspars.
  • There is a great deal of natural sand movement. Factors that affect it include the intensity of winds and waves, as well as the direction of the wind, which all vary by the season.
  • Typically, larger grains of sand are found farther from the water’s edge, while the sand is finer closer to the water, and even finer sand is out to sea.
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