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Black sand

Black sand from a beach in Maui, Hawaii

Black sand is sand that is black in color.


One type of black sand is a heavy, glossy,
partly magnetic mixture of usually fine
sands, found as part of a placer deposit.
Another type of black sand, found on
beaches near a volcano, consists of tiny
fragments of basalt.

While some beaches are predominantly


made of black sand, even other color
beaches (e.g. gold and white) can often
have deposits of black sand, particularly
after storms. Larger waves can sort out
sand grains leaving deposits of heavy
minerals visible on the surface of erosion
scarps.

Placer deposits
Black sands and gold in sluicebox, Blue Ribbon Mine,
Alaska

Magnet for separation of black sand by hand

Black sands are used by miners and


prospectors to indicate the presence of a
placer formation. Placer mining activities
produce a concentrate that is composed
mostly of black sand. Black sand
concentrates often contain additional
valuables, other than precious metals: rare
earth elements, thorium, titanium,
tungsten, zirconium and others are often
fractionated during igneous processes into
a common mineral-suite that becomes
black sands after weathering and erosion.

Several gemstones, such as garnet, topaz,


ruby, sapphire, and diamond are found in
placers and in the course of placer mining,
and sands of these gems are found in
black sands and concentrates. Purple or
ruby-colored garnet sand often forms a
showy surface dressing on ocean beach
placers.

An example of a non-volcanic black sand


beach is at Langkawi in Malaysia.[1]

Basalt fragments

Black sand forming when lava hits ocean. Kīlauea


volcano.

When lava contacts water, it cools rapidly


and shatters into sand and fragmented
debris of various size. Much of the debris
is small enough to be considered sand. A
large lava flow entering an ocean may
produce enough basalt fragments to build
a new black sand beach almost overnight.
The famous "black sand" beaches of
Hawaii, such as Punaluʻu Beach and
Kehena Beach, were created virtually
instantaneously by the violent interaction
between hot lava and sea water.[2] Since a
black sand beach is made by a lava flow in
a one time event, they tend to be rather
short lived since sands do not get
replenished if currents or storms wash
sand into deeper water. For this reason,
the state of Hawaii has made it illegal to
remove black sand from its beaches.
Further, a black sand beach is vulnerable
to being inundated by future lava flows, as
was the case for Hawaiʻi's Kaimū, usually
known simply as Black Sand Beach, and
Kalapana beaches.[3] An even shorter-lived
black sand beach was Kamoamoa.[4]
Unlike with white and green sand beaches,
walking barefoot on black sand can result
in burns, as the black sand absorbs a
greater fraction of the solar radiation
falling upon it.[5][6]

Black sand beaches


Black sand has formed beaches in various
places, including the below.[7][8][9]

Europe

Bulgaria
Burgas
Italy
Ladispoli
Naples
Georgia
Ureki
Greece
Perivolos beach, Santorini
Cyprus
Governor's Beach, Limassol
Iceland
Vík í Mýrdal
Reykjanes
Stokksnes
Portugal
Azores
São Roque, São Miguel
Mosteiros, São Miguel
Spain
Tenerife
Playa El Bollullo, near Puerto de
la Cruz
Playa Jardín, Puerto de la Cruz
Playa Las Gaviotas near Santa
Cruz
La Palma
Playa de Los Cancajos, Breña
Baja
Fuerteventura
Playa de Ajuy
Playa Pozo Negro

Africa

Cameroon
Limbé Seme Beach

Canada
Black Beach, New Brunswick (near
Coleson Cove Generating station, west
of Saint John)

United States

Black Sand Beach, Prince William


Sound, Alaska, United States
Black Sand Beach, Lost Coast, California
Hawaii
Big Island
Punaluʻu Beach
Kehena Beach
Kaimū, Hawaii (destroyed by
lava flow in 1990, now a new
black sand beach is forming)
Richardson Beach, Hilo
Waipiʻo Beach[10]
Maui
Honokalani Black Sand Beach
and Waiʻanapanapa Black Sand
Beach in Waiʻanapanapa State
Park
Oneʻuli Beach[11] also known as
Naupaka Beach[12]

Mexico

Playa Patzcuarito (Nayarit)


Playa La Ventanilla (Oaxaca)

Central America
Costa Rica
Playa Negra
Guatemala
Puerto de San José, Monterrico,
Champerico, Puerto Quetzal
Panama
Las Lajas, Chiriquí Province[13]
El Salvador
Playa El Tunco

Caribbean

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines


Montserrat (most beaches except
Rendezvous Beach)
St. Eustatius
St. Kitts
Nevis
Jamaica
Dominica (most beaches)
Martinique (most North east Beaches
and Anse Noire beach)
St. Lucia
Anse Chastanet
Grenada
Venezuela
Puerto Rico
Barceloneta, Machuca's Garden
Playa Negra in Vieques
Cocolandia, Palenque Beach. San
Cristóbal, Dominican Republic.

Asia

Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Yilan, Taiwan
Kerala, India
Valsad, India
Langkawi, Malaysia
Malabang, Lanao Sur, Philippines

North Atlantic

Vík í Mýrdal, Iceland

North Pacific
Iwo Jima
Kugenuma Kaigan, Japan

South Pacific

New Zealand
Kariotahi Beach, New Zealand
(ironsand)
Muriwai Black Sand Beach, New
Zealand
Piha, New Zealand (ironsand)
Te Henga, New Zealand
Anawhata, New Zealand
Karekare, New Zealand
Whatipū, New Zealand
Taranaki, New Zealand
Raglan, New Zealand
Tahiti
Tautira
Point Venus
Papua New Guinea
Gulf of Papua

Indian Ocean

South coast of Java, Indonesia


(ironsand)

See also
Diamond
Heavy mineral sands ore deposits
Ironsand
Mining
Placer deposit

References
Wikimedia Commons has media related to
Black sand.

1.
http://www.gsm.org.my/products/702001-
101510-PDF.pdf
2. "Magma, Lava, Lava Flows, etc" . USGS.
Archived from the original on 2010-06-03.
3. Hall, Jessica (8 June 2014). "Big Island:
Kalapana and Kaimu Beaches; Destroyed
by Lava" . Hawaiicon. Archived from the
original on 2017-05-03. Retrieved
2016-11-07.
4. Staton, Ron (7 January 1990). "Hawaii's
Newest Black Sand Beach" . Deseret News.
Associated Press. Archived from the
original on 2016-11-08. Retrieved
2016-11-07.
5. "Absorbed Solar Radiation" . The
Engineering Toolbox. Archived from the
original on 2016-04-03.
6. "Black sand and burnt feet: be careful on
Auckland's West Coast" . 100% Pure New
Zealand. Archived from the original on
2016-04-23.
7. http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-black-
sand-beaches.php
8. "Archived copy" . Archived from the
original on 2016-03-06. Retrieved
2016-02-24.
9. "Archived copy" . Archived from the
original on 2016-03-06. Retrieved
2016-02-24.
10. "Waipiʻo black sand beach" .
lovebigisland.com. Archived from the
original on 2016-12-20. Retrieved
2016-12-13.
11. "Archived copy" . Archived from the
original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved
2016-02-24.
12. "Archived copy" . Archived from the
original on 2016-02-26. Retrieved
2016-02-24.
13. "Archived copy" . Archived from the
original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved
2016-02-24.
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