Sand Micrograph Gallery
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Crumbled Navajo Ss, Paw Hole (grainflow), Utah
Crumbled Navajo Ss, Paw Hole (pinstripe), Utah
Crumbled Navajo Ss, Comb Ridge, Utah
Crumbled Navajo Ss, Procession rockfall, Comb Ridge
Crumbled Navajo Ss, Zion (thin strata site), Utah

Great Sand Dunes (grainflow), Colorado
Great Sand Dunes (toe drift), Colorado

HIRR erosion pit (north side), Utah
HIRR erosion pit (south side), Utah
Red Breaks dune field, Utah
Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Utah
Coyote Buttes North (portal alcove), Utah
Hanksville dune, Utah
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Monument Valley, Utah/Arizona
Death Valley, Stovepipe Wells, California
Sahara dune, Merzouga, Morocco
Nebraska Sand Hills, Nebraska
Mary Bay, Yellowstone Lake, Yellowstone, Wyoming
Weasel Valley dunes, Baffin Island, Canada
Turner Glacier till, Baffin Island, Canada

White Sands, New Mexico

Lake Michigan beach, Warren Dunes, Michigan
La Verendrye beach, Quebec
Love Beach, Providence Island, Bahamas
Coconut Plantation Beach, Kapaa, Kauai, Hawaii
Haleakala Crater, Maui, Hawaii
Abel Tasman, New Zealand
Newport Beach, Sydney, Australia

Pinstripe (Zion, Utah)
Scroll down to see all sands, or, to compare two sands, drag a sand title from the list above into this or the adjacent box.
Scroll down to see all sands, or, to compare two sands, drag a sand title from the list above into this or the adjacent box.
camera arrangement

Dry sand usually looks homogeneous from even a close distance, but as the photos below illustrate, there is often a wide range of grain sizes and shapes. Getting a representative sample can be difficult: Internal structures (eg., pinstripes, grainflows, and wind ripples), which are hard to see in dry sand, can concentrate grains of particular sizes; much depends on what a sample happens to include. Then, only a few grains of the sample end up being in a photograph, creating another possible sampling problem. Finally, even a photograph can be misleading, with larger grains covering smaller ones.

'Crumbled Ss' is weathered but intact sandstone rock that was crumbled into sand by gentle hand pressure.

These photos were taken through a hand lens using an inexpensive Canon A570 IS camera (which, importantly, has a lens diameter similar to the human eye), as shown in the photo to the right. The camera was at maximum zoom and in macro mode. Illumination was provided by two halogen worklamps, and colors were coarsely adjusted (semi-systematically) to a white/grey/black reference, using Photoshop. The background was a piece of glossy grey photographic print, where the grey is 93,93,93 (RBG) or 0,0,36 (HSB). Scale was determined by simply photographing a mm scale; the scale on these photos is colour-coded; photos of the same scale have the same colour (eg., all ones with yellow scales are the same scale).

Widening your browser window may display more photos per row, side-by-side.

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Crumbled Navajo Ss, Paw Hole (grainflow), Utah


Obtained from an overhanging outcrop by gently rubbing an exposed grainflow stratum and collecting what fell (after discarding the first few surface millimeters). Dull sheen (compared free Navajo grains) is probably due to a diagenetic, unweathered surface coating. Photo of site.

Crumbled Navajo Ss, Paw Hole (pinstripe), Utah


Collected by removing an ~1mm-thick pinstripe wafer protruding from the same outcrop as the previous photo. Finer grains are much more numerous compared with grainflow material from the same outcrop (previous photo). Photo of sample site.

Crumbled Navajo Ss, Comb Ridge, Utah


Part of a rockfall near the crest of Comb Ridge was crumbled by crushing between fingers until sandy.

Crumbled Navajo Ss, Procession rockfall, Comb Ridge


Part of a rockfall near the crest of Comb Ridge, near Procession Panel, was crumbled by crushing between fingers until sandy.

Crumbled Navajo Ss, Zion (thin strata site), Utah


A piece of surface rock was crumbled by crushing between fingers until sandy. From the site studied by Marjorie Chan, 2000, which has peculiar thin laminae apparently deposited at angle of repose.

Red Breaks dune field, Utah


Collected from a Red Breaks dune field. If these grains once had a surface coating, it's much reduced now, probably by weathering and collision. Compare the polish on these grains with the dull sheen of grains crumbled from intact, weathered Navajo sandstone.

Great Sand Dunes (grainflow), Colorado


This sample was taken from the surface centimeter of an avalanche tongue on a ~10m slipface near the toe, after avalanching had stopped, and thus is likely pure grainflow material. Photo of sample site.

Great Sand Dunes (toe drift), Colorado


This sample was taken from sand that accumulated in the obtuse angle between the flat interdune and flat slipface surfaces -- probably an area of 'dead air' that traps blown sand. Not wind ripple, but possibly similar in grain distribution. Photo of sample site.

HIRR erosion pit, Utah


Collected from the north side of an erosion pit off Hole in the Rock Road southeast of Escalante. The red grains were probably blown into the pit, and the smaller white grains were probably eroded from the walls of the pit.

HIRR erosion pit, Utah


Collected from the south side of an erosion pit off Hole in the Rock Road southeast of Escalante. The red grains were probably blown into the pit, and the smaller white grains were probably eroded from the walls of the pit.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Utah


Collected from the Coral Pink dune field.

Coyote Buttes North (portal alcove), Utah


Collected from an erosion pit at Coyote Buttes North.

Hanksville dune, Utah


Collected from the slipface of a low dune along Highway 24, north of Hanksville.

Great Sand Dunes, Colorado


Collected from Great Sand Dunes, Colorado.

Monument Valley, Utah/Arizona


Collected from a low sand drift about 50m off Hwy 163 going southwest (a spectacular drive) as it descends into Monument Valley.

Death Valley, Stovepipe Wells, California


Collected from the dune field at Stovepipe Wells, Death Valley.

Sahara dune, Merzouga, Morocco


Collected from the stoss surface of a dune at the edge of a dune field east of Merzouga, Morocco.

Nebraska Sand Hills, Nebraska


Collected near Bingham, in the Nebraska Sand Hills.

Mary Bay, Yellowstone Lake, Yellowstone, Wyoming


Collected from Mary Bay on the north side of Yellowstone Lake, Yellowstone, Wyoming.

Weasel Valley dunes, Baffin Island, Canada


Collected from sand being exposed possibly for the first time since the last ice age, in the Weasel River Valley, Auyuittuq park, Baffin Island.

Turner Glacier till, Baffin Island, Canada


This is outwash from Turner glacier, a mix of silt and sand. Auyuittuq Park, Baffin Island. This subsample is biased toward larger grains; there was more floury silt in the sample.

White Sands, New Mexico


Sand composed of gypsum.

Lake Michigan beach, Warren Dunes, Michigan


Collected from Warren Dunes, on the southeast shore of Lake Michigan.

La Verendrye beach, Quebec


Collected from a beach in La Verendrye park, about 5km west of Le Domain. Contains mica.

Love Beach, Providence Island, Bahamas


Collected from Love Beach, Providence Island, Bahamas. Bits of coral and shells.

Coconut Plantation Beach, Kauai, Hawaii


Collected from Coconut Plantation Beach, Kapaa, Kauai Island, Hawaii.

Haleakala Crater, Maui, Hawaii


Black volcanic sand from a low drift along the Sliding Sands Trail in the Haleakala Crater on Maui.

Abel Tasman, New Zealand


Beach sand from Abel Tasman, New Zealand.

Newport beach, Sydney, Australia


Newport Beach, Sydney, Australia.

Pinstripe (Zion, Utah)


A pinstripe runs horizontally through the middle of this image of an intact outcrop (see photo of site). Small grains of loose blown sand may rest within the larger grains.