Black sand
Overview
 
Black sand is sand
Sand
Sand is a naturally occurring granular material composed of finely divided rock and mineral particles.The composition of sand is highly variable, depending on the local rock sources and conditions, but the most common constituent of sand in inland continental settings and non-tropical coastal...

 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
Placer deposit
In geology, a placer deposit or placer is an accumulation of valuable minerals formed by gravity separation during sedimentary processes. The name is from the Spanish word placer, meaning "alluvial sand". Placer mining is an important source of gold, and was the main technique used in the early...

. Another type of black sand, found on beaches near a volcano
Volcano
2. Bedrock3. Conduit 4. Base5. Sill6. Dike7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank| 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15...

, consists of tiny fragments of lava
Lava
Lava refers both to molten rock expelled by a volcano during an eruption and the resulting rock after solidification and cooling. This molten rock is formed in the interior of some planets, including Earth, and some of their satellites. When first erupted from a volcanic vent, lava is a liquid at...

.

While some beaches are predominantly made of black sand, even other colour 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.
Black sands are used by miners and prospectors to indicate the presence of a placer formation.
Encyclopedia
Black sand is sand
Sand
Sand is a naturally occurring granular material composed of finely divided rock and mineral particles.The composition of sand is highly variable, depending on the local rock sources and conditions, but the most common constituent of sand in inland continental settings and non-tropical coastal...

 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
Placer deposit
In geology, a placer deposit or placer is an accumulation of valuable minerals formed by gravity separation during sedimentary processes. The name is from the Spanish word placer, meaning "alluvial sand". Placer mining is an important source of gold, and was the main technique used in the early...

. Another type of black sand, found on beaches near a volcano
Volcano
2. Bedrock3. Conduit 4. Base5. Sill6. Dike7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank| 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15...

, consists of tiny fragments of lava
Lava
Lava refers both to molten rock expelled by a volcano during an eruption and the resulting rock after solidification and cooling. This molten rock is formed in the interior of some planets, including Earth, and some of their satellites. When first erupted from a volcanic vent, lava is a liquid at...

.

While some beaches are predominantly made of black sand, even other colour 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 are used by miners and prospectors to indicate the presence of a placer formation. Placer mining
Placer mining
Placer mining is the mining of alluvial deposits for minerals. This may be done by open-pit or by various surface excavating equipment or tunneling equipment....

 activities produce a concentrate that is composed mostly of black sand. Black sand concentrates often contain additional valuables, other than precious metals: rare earth element
Rare earth element
As defined by IUPAC, rare earth elements or rare earth metals are a set of seventeen chemical elements in the periodic table, specifically the fifteen lanthanides plus scandium and yttrium...

s, thorium
Thorium
Thorium is a natural radioactive chemical element with the symbol Th and atomic number 90. It was discovered in 1828 and named after Thor, the Norse god of thunder....

, titanium
Titanium
Titanium is a chemical element with the symbol Ti and atomic number 22. It has a low density and is a strong, lustrous, corrosion-resistant transition metal with a silver color....

, tungsten
Tungsten
Tungsten , also known as wolfram , is a chemical element with the chemical symbol W and atomic number 74.A hard, rare metal under standard conditions when uncombined, tungsten is found naturally on Earth only in chemical compounds. It was identified as a new element in 1781, and first isolated as...

, zirconium
Zirconium
Zirconium is a chemical element with the symbol Zr and atomic number 40. The name of zirconium is taken from the mineral zircon. Its atomic mass is 91.224. It is a lustrous, grey-white, strong transition metal that resembles titanium...

 and others are often fractionated during igneous
Igneous differentiation
In geology, igneous differentiation is an umbrella term for the various processes by which magmas undergo bulk chemical change during the partial melting process, cooling, emplacement or eruption.-Primary melts:...

 processes into a common mineral-suite that becomes black sands after weathering and erosion.

Several gemstone
Gemstone
A gemstone or gem is a piece of mineral, which, in cut and polished form, is used to make jewelry or other adornments...

s, such as garnet
Garnet
The garnet group includes a group of minerals that have been used since the Bronze Age as gemstones and abrasives. The name "garnet" may come from either the Middle English word gernet meaning 'dark red', or the Latin granatus , possibly a reference to the Punica granatum , a plant with red seeds...

, topaz
Topaz
Topaz is a silicate mineral of aluminium and fluorine with the chemical formula Al2SiO42. Topaz crystallizes in the orthorhombic system and its crystals are mostly prismatic terminated by pyramidal and other faces.-Color and varieties:...

, ruby
Ruby
A ruby is a pink to blood-red colored gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum . The red color is caused mainly by the presence of the element chromium. Its name comes from ruber, Latin for red. Other varieties of gem-quality corundum are called sapphires...

, sapphire
Sapphire
Sapphire is a gemstone variety of the mineral corundum, an aluminium oxide , when it is a color other than red or dark pink; in which case the gem would instead be called a ruby, considered to be a different gemstone. Trace amounts of other elements such as iron, titanium, or chromium can give...

, and diamond
Diamond
In mineralogy, diamond is an allotrope of carbon, where the carbon atoms are arranged in a variation of the face-centered cubic crystal structure called a diamond lattice. Diamond is less stable than graphite, but the conversion rate from diamond to graphite is negligible at ambient conditions...

 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.

Lava fragments

When lava
Lava
Lava refers both to molten rock expelled by a volcano during an eruption and the resulting rock after solidification and cooling. This molten rock is formed in the interior of some planets, including Earth, and some of their satellites. When first erupted from a volcanic vent, lava is a liquid at...

 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 a enough lava fragments to build a new black sand beach almost over night. The famous "black sand" beaches of Hawaii, such as Punaluu Black Sand Beach
Punaluu Black Sand Beach
Punaluu Beach is a beach between Pāhala and Nāālehu on the Big Island of the U.S. state of Hawaii. The beach has black sand made of basalt and created by lava flowing into the ocean which explodes as it reaches the ocean and cools...

, and Kehena Beach, were created virtually instantaneously by the violent interaction between hot lava and sea water. 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. Further, a black sand beach is vulnerable to being inundated by future lava flows, as was the case for Hawaii's Kalapana beach, alternately known as Kaimu beach, or simply Black Sand Beach.

See also

  • Diamond
    Diamond
    In mineralogy, diamond is an allotrope of carbon, where the carbon atoms are arranged in a variation of the face-centered cubic crystal structure called a diamond lattice. Diamond is less stable than graphite, but the conversion rate from diamond to graphite is negligible at ambient conditions...

  • Mining
    Mining
    Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

  • Placer deposit
    Placer deposit
    In geology, a placer deposit or placer is an accumulation of valuable minerals formed by gravity separation during sedimentary processes. The name is from the Spanish word placer, meaning "alluvial sand". Placer mining is an important source of gold, and was the main technique used in the early...

  • Heavy mineral sands ore deposits
    Heavy mineral sands ore deposits
    Heavy mineral sands are a class of ore deposit which is an important source of zirconium, titanium, thorium, tungsten, rare earth elements, the industrial minerals diamond, sapphire, garnet, and occasionally precious metals or gemstones....

  • Ironsand
    Ironsand
    Ironsand is a type of sand with heavy concentrations of the metal iron. It is typically dark grey or blackish in colour.It comprises mainly magnetite, Fe3O4, and as such is attracted to magnets....

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK