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Sand

Sand

Sand is any material composed of loose, stony grains between 1/16 mm and 2 mm in diameter. Larger particles are categorized as gravel, smaller particles are categorized as silt or clay . Sands are usually created by the breakdown of rocks, and are transported by wind and water , before depositing to form soils, beaches, dunes , and underwater fans or deltas. Deposits of sand are often cemented together over time to form sandstones.

The most common sand-forming process is weathering , especially of granite . Granite consists of distinct crystals of quartz, feldspar , and other minerals . When exposed to water, some of these minerals (e.g., feldspar) decay chemically faster than others (especially quartz), allowing the granite to crumble into fragments. Sand formed by weathering is termed epiclastic.

Where fragmentation is rapid, granite crumbles before its feldspar has fully decayed and the resulting sand contains more feldspar. If fragmentation is slow, the resulting sand contains less feldspar. Fragmentation of rock is enhanced by exposure to fast-running water, so steep mountains are often source areas for feldspar-rich sands and gentler terrains are often source areas for feldspar-poor sands. Epiclastic sands and the sandstones formed from them thus record information about the environments that produce them. A sedimentologist can deduce the existence of whole mountain ranges long ago eroded, and of mountain-building episodes that occurred millions of years ago from sandstones rich in relatively unstable minerals like feldspar.

The behavior of sand carried by flowing water can inscribe even more detailed information about the environment in sand deposits. When water is flowing rapidly over a horizontal surface, any sudden vertical drop in that surface splits the current into two layers, (1) an upper layer that continues to flow downstream and (2) a slower backflow that curls under in the lee of the dropoff. Suspended sand tends to settle out in the backflow zone, building a slope called a "slip face" that tilts downhill from the dropoff. The backflow zone adds continually to the slip face, growing it downstream, and as the slip face grows downstream its top edge continues to create a backflow zone. The result is the deposition of a lengthening bed of sand. Typically, periodic avalanches of large grains down the slip face (or other processes) coat it with thin layers of distinctive material. These closely-spaced laminations are called "crossbedding" because they angle across the main bed. Cross-bedding in sandstone records the direction of the current that deposited the bed, enabling geologists to map currents that flowed millions of years ago (paleocurrents).

Evidence of grain size, bed thickness, and cross-bedding angle, allows geologists to determine how deep and fast a paleocurrent was, and thus how steep the land was over which it flowed.

Ripples and dunesprobably the most familiar forms created by wind- or waterborne sandinvolve similar processes. However, ripples and dunes are more typical of flow systems to which little or no sand is being added. The downstream slip faces of ripples and dunes are built from grains plucked from their upstream sides, so these structures can migrate without growing. When water or wind entering the system (e.g., water descending rapidly from a mountainous region) imports large quantities of sand, the result is net deposition rather than the mere migration of sandforms.

Grain shape, too, records history. All epiclastic grains of sand start out angular and become more rounded as they are polished by abrasion during transport by wind or water. Quartz grains, however, resist wear. One trip down a river is not enough to thoroughly round an angular grain of quartz; even a long sojourn on a beach, where grains are repeatedly tumbled by waves, does not suffice. The well-rounded state of many quartz sands can be accounted for only by crustal recycling. Quartz grains can survive many cycles of erosion , burial, cementation into sandstone, uplift, and re-erosion. Recycling time is on the order of 200 million years, so a quartz grain first weathered from granite 2.4 billion years ago may have gone through 10 or 12 cycles of burial and re-erosion to reach its present day state. An individual quartz grain's degree of roundness is thus an index of its antiquity. Feldspar grains can also survive recycling, but not as well, so sand that has been recycled a few times consists mostly of quartz.

Sand can be formed not only by weathering but by explosive volcanism, the breaking up of shells by waves, the cementing into pellets of finer-grained materials (pelletization), and the precipitation of dissolved chemicals (e.g., calcium carbonate) from solution.

Pure quartz sands are mined to make glass and the extremely pure silicon employed in microchips and other electronic components.

See also Beach and shoreline dynamics; Bed or traction load; Bedding; Bedforms (ripples and dunes); Desert and desertification; Dune fields; Sedimentary rocks; Sedimentation

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sand

sand, rock material occurring in the form of loose, rounded or angular grains, varying in size from .06 mm to 2 mm in diameter, the particles being smaller than those of gravel and larger than those of silt or clay. Sand is formed as a result of the weathering and decomposition of igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic rocks. Its most abundant mineral constituent is silica, usually in the form of quartz, and many deposits are composed almost exclusively of quartz grains. Many other minerals, however, are often present in small quantities, e.g., the amphiboles, the pyroxenes, olivine, glauconite, clay, the feldspars, the micas, iron compounds, zircon, garnet, tourmaline, titanite, corundum, and topaz. Some sands—e.g., coral sands, shell sands, and foraminiferal sands—are organic in origin. Sand grains may be rounded or more or less angular, and differences in shape and size account chiefly for differences in such important properties as porosity (proportion of interstices to the total mass), permeability to gases and liquids, and viscosity, or resistance to flow. Permeability and viscosity are also affected by the proportion of clayey matter present. The chief agents in accumulating sands into deposits are winds, rivers, waves, and glaciers; sand deposits are classified according to origin as fluviatile, lacustrine, glacial, marine, and eolian. The most extensive superficial deposits are seen in the desert and on beaches. The surface of a sand deposit may be level or very gently sloping, or the sand may be gathered by wind action into ridges called dunes. Sandstone and quartzite rocks are indurated masses of sand, and sand deposits are sometimes formed by the weathering of sandstone and quartzite formations. Sand is used extensively in the manufacture of bricks, mortar, cement, concrete, plasters, paving materials, and refractory materials. It is also used in the metallurgical industry, in the filtration of water, in pottery making, in glassmaking, in the manufacture of explosives, and as an abrasive. Other industrial uses are numerous. Although soils entirely composed of sand are too dry and too lacking in nourishment for the growth of plants, a soil that is to some extent sandy (a "light" soil) is favorable to certain types of agriculture and horticulture, as it permits the free movement of air in the soil, offers less resistance than a clay soil to growing roots, improves drainage, and increases ease of cultivation. Sand to which nutrient solutions have been added is often used in soilless gardening.

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sand

sand / sand/ • n. a loose granular substance, typically pale yellowish brown, resulting from the erosion of siliceous and other rocks and forming a major constituent of beaches, riverbeds, the seabed, and deserts. ∎  (sands) an expanse of sand, typically along a shore. ∎  a light yellow-brown color like that of sand. • v. [tr.] 1. smooth or polish with sandpaper or a mechanical sander: sand the rusty areas until you expose bare metal. 2. sprinkle or overlay with sand, to give better purchase on a surface. DERIVATIVES: sand·like / -ˌlīk/ adj.

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sand

sand often taken as a type of unstable or impermanent material.
built on sand lacking a firm foundation, ephemeral; often with biblical allusion to the parable in Matthew 7, in which of two houses it is the house built on rock which withstands the floods, and the house built on sand which falls.

See also bury one's head in the sand, (draw) a line in the sand, rope of sand, sands.

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sand

sand
1. In the commonly used Udden-Wentworth scale, particles between 62.5 and 2000 μm. Other classifications exist (see PARTICLE SIZE). In pedology, sand is defined as mineral particles of diameter 2.0–0.02 mm in the international system, and as 2.0–0.5 mm diameter particles in the USDA (American) system.

2. A class of soil texture.

3. See SHARP SAND.

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sand

sand
1. In rocks, according to the commonly used (Udden–Wentworth) scale, particles between 62.5 and 2000 μm.

2. In pedology, mineral particles of diameter 2–0.02 μm in the international system, or 2–0.05 μm in the USDA system.

3. A class of soil texture.

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sand

sand Mineral particles worn away from rocks by erosion, individually large enough to be distinguished with the naked eye. Sand is composed mostly of quartz, but black sand (containing volcanic rock) and coral sand also occur.

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sand

sand (pedol.)
1. Mineral particles of diameter 2–0.02 μm in the international system, or 2–0.05 μm in the USDA system.

2. A class of soil texture.

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sand

sand OE. sand = OS. sand, OHG. sant (Du. zand, G. sand), ON. sandr :- Gmc. *sandam, -az, rel. to Gr. hámathos, L. sabulum sand.
Hence sandy (-Y1) OE. sandiġ.

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sand

sandand, band, bland, brand, expand, firsthand, gland, grand, hand, land, manned, misunderstand, offhand, rand, righthand, Samarkand, sand, stand, strand, thirdhand, underhand, undermanned, understand, unplanned, untanned, withstand •graduand • hatband • armband •headband • neckband • sweatband •waistband • waveband • wristband •broadband • showband • noseband •saraband • backhand • chargehand •farmhand • deckhand • stagehand •freehand • millhand • behindhand •longhand •beforehand, forehand •shorthand • gangland • Lapland •flatland • no-man's-land • Saarland •farmland • grassland • marshland •fenland • wetland • Sudetenland •wasteland • dreamland • peatland •Matabeleland • Ngamiland •fairyland • Dixieland • Swaziland •Thailand • Rhineland • swampland •washland • homeland • Heligoland •Basutoland •clubland, scrubland •timberland • borderland •wonderland • Nagaland • Helgoland •Bechuanaland, Gondwanaland •Mashonaland • Damaraland •Nyasaland • platteland • hinterland •fatherland • motherland •Namaqualand • Öland • allemande •confirmand • ordinand • Ferdinand •Talleyrand • firebrand • Krugerrand •honorand • Witwatersrand •greensand • quicksand • analysand •Streisand • ampersand •bandstand, grandstand, handstand •hatstand • kickstand • inkstand •washstand • hallstand • news-stand

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Sand

Sandaide-de-camp, aides-de-camp, anon, Asunción, au courant, begone, Bonn, bon vivant, Caen, Canton, Carcassonne, Ceylon, chaconne, chateaubriand, ci-devant, Colón, colon, Concepción, con (US conn), cretonne, don, Duchamp, Evonne, foregone, fromage blanc, Gabon, Garonne, gone, guenon, hereupon, Inchon, Jean, john, Jon, Le Mans, León, Luzon, Mont Blanc, Narbonne, odds-on, on, outgone, outshone, Perón, phon, piñon, Pinot Blanc, plafond, Ramón, Saigon, Saint-Saëns, Sand, Schwann, scone, shone, side-on, sine qua non, Sorbonne, spot-on, swan, thereon, thereupon, ton, Toulon, undergone, upon, Villon, wan, whereon, whereupon, won, wonton, yon, Yvonne •crayon, rayon •Leon, Lyons, neon, prion •Ceredigion • Mabinogion • nucleon •Amiens • dupion • parathion •Laocoon •gluon, Rouen •bon-bon • Audubon

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Sand

Sand

Background

Sand is a loose, fragmented, naturally-occurring material consisting of very small particles of decomposed rocks, corals, or shells. Sand is used to provide bulk, strength, and other properties to construction materials like asphalt and concrete. It is also used as a decorative material in landscaping. Specific types of sand are used in the manufacture of glass and as a molding material for metal casting. Other sand is used as an abrasive in sandblasting and to make sandpaper.

Sand was used as early as 6000 b.c. to grind and polish stones to make sharpened tools and other objects. The stones were rubbed on a piece of wetted sandstone to hone the cutting edge. In some cases, loose sand was scattered on a flat rock, and objects were rubbed against the sandy surface to smooth them. The first beads with a glass glaze appeared in Egypt in about 3,500-3,000 b.c. The glass was made by melting sand, although naturally-occurring glass formed by volcanic activity was probably known long before that time.

In the United States, sand was used to produce glass as early as 1607 with the founding of the short-lived Jamestown colony in Virginia. The first sustained glass-making venture was formed in 1739 in Wistarburgh, New Jersey, by Caspar Wistar. The production of sand for construction purposes grew significantly with the push for paved roads during World War I and through the 1920s. The housing boom of the late 1940s and early 1950s, coupled with the increased use of concrete for building construction, provided another boost in production.

Today, the processing of sand is a multi-billion dollar business with operations ranging from very small plants supplying sand and gravel to a few local building contractors to very large, highly automated plants supplying hundreds of truckloads of sand per day to a wide variety of customers over a large area.

Raw Materials

The most common sand is composed of particles of quartz and feldspar. Quartz sand particles are colorless or slightly pink, while feldspar sand has a pink or amber color. Black sands, such as those found in Hawaii, are composed of particles of obsidian formed by volcanic activity. Other black sands include materials such as magnetite and homblende. Coral sands are white or gray, and sands composed of broken shell fragments are usually light brown. The white sands on the Gulf of Mexico are made of smooth particles of limestone known as oolite, derived from the Greek word meaning egg stone. The white sands of White Sands, New Mexico, are made of gypsum crystals. Ordinarily, gypsum is dissolved by rain water, but the area around White Sands is so arid that the crystals survive to form undulating dunes.

Quartz sands, which are high in silica content, are used to make glass. When quartz sands are crushed they produce particles with sharp, angular edges that are sometimes used to make sandpaper for smoothing wood. Some quartz sand is found in the form of sandstone. Sandstone is a sedimentary, rock-like material formed under pressure and composed of sand particles held together by a cementing material such as calcium carbonate. A few sandstones are composed of almost pure quartz particles and are the source of the silicon used to make semiconductor silicon chips for microprocessors.

Molding sands, or foundry sands, are used for metal casting. They are composed of about 80%-92% silica, up to 15% alumina, and2% iron oxide. The alumina content gives the molding sand the proper binding properties required to hold the shape of the mold cavity.

Sand that is scooped up from the bank of a river and is not washed or sorted in any way is known as bank-run sand. It is used in general construction and landscaping.

The definition of the size of sand particles varies, but in general sand contains particles measuring about 0.0025-0.08 in (0.063-2.0 mm) in diameter. Particles smaller than this are classified as silt. Larger particles are either granules or gravel, depending on their size. In the construction business, all aggregate materials with particles smaller than 0.25 in (6.4 mm) are classified as fine aggregates. This includes sand. Materials with particles from 0.25 in (6.4 mm) up to about 6.0 in (15.2 cm) are classified as coarse aggregates.

Sand has a density of 2,600-3,100 lb per cubic yard (1,538-1,842 kg per cubic meter). The trapped water content between the sand particles can cause the density to vary substantially.

The Manufacturing
Process

The preparation of sand consists of five basic processes: natural decomposition, extraction, sorting, washing, and in some cases crushing. The first process, natural decomposition, usually takes millions of years. The other processes take considerably less time.

The processing plant is located in the immediate vicinity of the natural deposit of material to minimize the costs of transportation. If the plant is located next to a sand dune or beach, the plant may process only sand. If it is located next to a riverbed, it will usually process both sand and gravel because the two materials are often intermixed. Most plants are stationary and may operate in the same location for decades. Some plants are mobile and can be broken into separate components to be towed to the quarry site. Mobile plants are used for remote construction projects, where there are not any stationary plants nearby.

The capacity of the processing plant is measured in tons per hour output of finished product. Stationary plants can produce several thousand tons per hour. Mobile plants are smaller and their output is usually in the range of 50-500 tons (50.8-508 metric tons) per hour.

In many locations, an asphalt production plant or a ready mixed concrete plant operates on the same site as the sand and gravel plant. In those cases, much of the sand and gravel output is conveyed directly into stockpiles for the asphalt and concrete plants.

The following steps are commonly used to process sand and gravel for construction purposes.

Natural decomposition

  • 1 Solid rock is broken down into chunks by natural mechanical forces such as the movement of glaciers, the expansion of water in cracks during freezing, and the impacts of rocks falling on each other.
  • 2 The chunks of rock are further broken down into grains by the chemical action of vegetation and rain combined with mechanical impacts as the progressively smaller particles are carried and worn by wind and water.
  • 3 As the grains of rock are carried into waterways, some are deposited along the bank, while others eventually reach the sea, where they may join with fragments of coral or shells to form beaches. Wind-borne sand may form dunes.

Extraction

  • 4 Extraction of sand can be as simple as scooping it up from the riverbank with a rubber-tired vehicle called a front loader. Some sand is excavated from under water using floating dredges. These dredges have a long boom with a rotating cutter head to loosen the sand deposits and a suction pipe to suck up the sand.
  • 5 If the sand is extracted with a front loader, it is then dumped into a truck or train, or placed onto a conveyor belt for transportation to the nearby processing plant. If the sand is extracted from underwater with a dredge, the slurry of sand and water is pumped through a pipeline to the plant.

Sorting

  • 6 In the processing plant, the incoming material is first mixed with water, if it is not already mixed as part of a slurry, and is discharged through a large perforated screen in the feeder to separate out rocks, lumps of clay, sticks, and other foreign material. If the material is heavily bound together with clay or soil, it may then pass through a blade mill which breaks it up into smaller chunks.
  • 7 The material then pass through several / perforated screens or plates with different hole diameters or openings to separate the particles according to size. The screens or plates measure up to 10 ft (3.1 m) wide by up to 28 ft (8.5 m) long and are tilted at an angle of about 20-45 degrees from the horizontal. They are vibrated to allow the trapped material on each level to work its way off the end of the screen and onto separate conveyor belts. The coarsest screen, with the largest holes, is on top, and the screens underneath have progressively smaller holes.

Washing

  • 8 The material that comes off the coarsest screen is washed in a log washer before it is further screened. The name for this piece of equipment comes from the early practice of putting short lengths of wood logs inside a rotating drum filled with sand and gravel to add to the scrubbing action. A modern log washer consists of a slightly inclined horizontal trough with slowly rotating blades attached to a shaft that runs down the axis of the trough. The blades churn through the material as it passes through the trough to strip away any remaining clay or soft soil. The larger gravel particles are separated out and screened into different sizes, while any smaller sand particles that had been attached to the gravel may be carried back and added to the flow of incoming material.
  • 9 The material that comes off the intermediate screen(s) may be stored and blended with either the coarser gravel or the finer sand to make various aggregate mixes.
  • 10 The water and material that pass through the finest screen is pumped into a horizontal sand classifying tank. As the mixture flows from one end of the tank to the other, the sand sinks to the bottom where it is trapped in a series of bins. The larger, heavier sand particles drop out first, followed by the progressively smaller sand particles, while the lighter silt particles are carried off in the flow of water. The water and silt are then pumped out of the classifying tank and through a clarifier where the silt settles to the bottom and is removed. The clear water is recirculated to the feeder to be used again.
  • 11 The sand is removed from the bins in the bottom of the classifying tank with rotating dewatering screws that slowly move the sand up the inside of an inclined cylinder. The differently sized sands are then washed again to remove any remaining silt and are transported by conveyor belts to stockpiles for storage.

Crushing

  • 12 Some sand is crushed to produce a specific size or shape that is not available naturally. The crusher may be a rotating cone type in which the sand falls between an upper rotating cone and a lower fixed cone that are separated by a very small distance. Any particles larger than this separation distance are crushed between the heavy metal cones, and the resulting particles fall out the bottom.

Quality Control

Most large aggregate processing plants use a computer to control the flow of materials. The feed rate of incoming material, the vibration rate of the sorting screens, and the flow rate of the water through the sand classifying tank all determine the proportions of the finished products and must be monitored and controlled. Many specifications for asphalt and concrete mixes require a certain distribution of aggregate sizes and shapes, and the aggregate producer must ensure that the sand and gravel meets those specifications.

The Future

The production of sand and gravel in many areas has come under increasingly stringent restrictions. The United States Army Corps of Engineers, operating under the Federal Clean Water Act, has required permits for sand extraction from rivers, streams, and other waterways. The cost of the special studies required to obtain these permits is often too expensive to allow smaller companies to continue operation. In other cases, residential development in the vicinity of existing aggregate processing plants has led to restrictions regarding noise, dust, and truck traffic. The overall result of these restrictions in certain areas is that sand and gravel used for construction will have to be transported from outside the area at a significantly increased cost in the future.

Where to Learn More

Books

Brady, George S. and Henry R. Clauser. Materials Handbook, 12th Edition. McGraw-Hill, 1986.

Hornbostel, Caleb. Construction Materials, 2nd Edition. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1991.

Siever, Raymond. Sand. W.H. Freeman and Company, 1988.

Periodicals

Grover, Jennifer E., Bob Drake, and Steven Prokopy. "100 Years of Rock Products, History of an Industry: 1896-1996." Rock Products, July 1996, pp. 29+.

Mack, Walter N. and Elizabeth A. Leistikow. "Sands of the World." Scientific American, August 1996, pp. 62-67.

Miller, Russell V. "Changes in Construction Aggregate Availability in Major Urban Areas of California Between the Early 1980s and the Early 1990s." California Geology, January/February 1997, pp. 3-17.

ChrisCavette

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Sand

Sand ★★ 2000

Tyler Briggs (Vartan) wants to start over—away from his violent father (Quaid) and brothers. So after his mother's death, he heads to the quiet beach town where his mom grew up. There Tyler falls for Sandy (Wuhrer) and starts to make a peaceful new life but trouble and family follow. 90m/C VHS, DVD . Michael Vartan, Denis Leary, Randy Quaid, Kari Wuhrer, Marshall Bell, Julie Delpy, Rodney Eastman, Bodhi (Pine) Elfman, Emilio Estevez, John Hawkes, Jon Lovitz, Norman Reedus, Peter Simmons, Harry Dean Stanton; D: Matt Palmieri; W: Matt Palmieri; C: John Skotchdopole.

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Sand

Sand

Resources

Sand is any material composed of loose, stony grains between 1/16 mm and 2 mm in diameter. Larger particles are categorized as gravel, smaller particles are categorized as silt or clay. Sands are usually created by the breakdown of rocks, and are transported by wind and water, before depositing to form soils, beaches, dunes, and underwater fans or deltas. Deposits of sand are often cemented together over time to form sandstones.

Pure quartz sands are mined to make glass and the extremely pure silicon employed in microchips and other electronic components.

The most common sand-forming process is weathering, especially of granite. Granite consists of distinct crystals of quartz, feldspar, and other minerals. When exposed to water, some of these minerals (e.g., feldspar) decay chemically faster than others (especially quartz), allowing the granite to crumble into fragments. Sand formed by weathering is termed epiclastic.

Where fragmentation is rapid, granite crumbles before its feldspar has fully decayed and the resulting sand contains more feldspar. If fragmentation is slow, the resulting sand contains less feldspar. Fragmentation of rock is enhanced by exposure to fast-running water, so steep mountains are often source areas for feldspar-rich sands and gentler terrains are often source areas for feldspar-poor sands. Epiclastic sands and the sandstones formed from them thus record information about the environments that produce them. A sedimentologist can deduce the existence of whole mountain ranges long ago eroded, and of mountain-building episodes that occurred millions of years ago from sandstones rich in relatively unstable minerals like feldspar.

The behavior of sand carried by flowing water can inscribe even more detailed information about the environment in sand deposits. When water is flowing rapidly over a horizontal surface, any sudden vertical drop in that surface splits the current into two layers, (1) an upper layer that continues to flow downstream and (2) a slower backflow that curls under in the lee of the dropoff. Suspended sand tends to settle out in the backflow zone, building a slope called a slip face that tilts downhill from the dropoff. The backflow zone adds continually to the slip face, growing it downstream, and as the slip face grows downstream its top edge continues to create a backflow zone. The result is the deposition of a lengthening bed of sand. Typically, periodic avalanches of large grains down the slip face (or other processes) coat it with thin layers of distinctive material. These closely-spaced laminations are called cross-bedding because they angle across the main bed. Cross-bedding in sandstone records the direction of the current that deposited the bed, enabling geologists to map currents that flowed millions of years ago (paleocurrents).

Evidence of grain size, bed thickness, and cross-bedding angle, allows geologists to determine how deep and fast a paleocurrent was, and thus how steep the land was over which it flowed.

Ripples and dunesprobably the most familiar forms created by wind- or waterborne sandinvolve similar processes. However, ripples and dunes are more typical of flow systems to which little or no sand is being added. The downstream slip faces of ripples and dunes are built from grains plucked from their upstream sides, so these structures can migrate without growing. When water or wind entering the system (e.g., water descending rapidly from a mountainous region) imports large quantities of sand, the result is net deposition rather than the mere migration of sandforms.

Grain shape, too, records history. All epiclastic grains of sand start out angular and become more rounded as they are polished by abrasion during transport by wind or water. Quartz grains, however, resist wear. One trip down a river is not enough to thoroughly round an angular grain of quartz; even a long sojourn on a beach, where grains are repeatedly tumbled by waves, does not suffice. The well-rounded state of many quartz sands can be accounted for only by crustal recycling. Quartz grains can survive many cycles of erosion, burial, cementation into sandstone, uplift, and re-erosion. Recycling time is on the order of 200 million years, so a quartz grain first weathered from granite 2.4 billion years ago may have gone through 10 or 12 cycles of burial and re-erosion to reach its present day state. An individual quartz grains degree of roundness is thus an index of its antiquity. Feldspar grains can also survive recycling, but not as well, so sand that has been recycled a few times consists mostly of quartz.

Sand can be formed not only by weathering but by explosive volcanism, the breaking up of shells by waves, the cementing into pellets of finer-grained materials (pelletization), and the precipitation of dissolved chemicals (e.g., calcium carbonate) from solution.

See also Beach nourishment; Dune; Geochemistry; Sediment and sedimentation; Sedimentary environment; Sedimentary rock.

Resources

BOOKS

Hamblin, W.K., and Christiansen, E.H. Earths Dynamic Systems, 9th ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2001.

Keller, E.A. Introduction to Environmental Geology 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2002.

Press, F. and R. Siever. Understanding Earth, 3rd ed. New York: W.H Freeman and Company, 2001.

Larry Gilman

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Sand

Sand

Sand is any material composed of loose, stony grains between 1/16 mm and 2 mm in diameter. Larger particles are categorized as gravel, smaller particles are categorized as silt or clay. Sands are usually created by the breakdown of rocks , and are transported by wind and water , before depositing to form soils, beaches, dunes, and underwater fans or deltas. Deposits of sand are often cemented together over time to form sandstones.

Pure quartz sands are mined to make glass and the extremely pure silicon employed in microchips and other electronic components.

The most common sand-forming process is weathering , especially of granite. Granite consists of distinct crystals of quartz, feldspar, and other minerals . When exposed to water, some of these minerals (e.g., feldspar) decay chemically faster than others (especially quartz), allowing the granite to crumble into fragments. Sand formed by weathering is termed epiclastic.

Where fragmentation is rapid, granite crumbles before its feldspar has fully decayed and the resulting sand contains more feldspar. If fragmentation is slow, the resulting sand contains less feldspar. Fragmentation of rock is enhanced by exposure to fast-running water, so steep mountains are often source areas for feldspar-rich sands and gentler terrains are often source areas for feldspar-poor sands. Epiclastic sands and the sandstones formed from them thus record information about the environments that produce them. A sedimentologist can deduce the existence of whole mountain ranges long ago eroded, and of mountain-building episodes that occurred millions of years ago from sandstones rich in relatively unstable minerals like feldspar.

The behavior of sand carried by flowing water can inscribe even more detailed information about the environment in sand deposits. When water is flowing rapidly over a horizontal surface, any sudden vertical drop in that surface splits the current into two layers, (1) an upper layer that continues to flow downstream and (2) a slower backflow that curls under in the lee of the dropoff. Suspended sand tends to settle out in the back-flow zone, building a slope called a "slip face" that tilts downhill from the dropoff. The backflow zone adds continually to the slip face, growing it downstream, and as the slip face grows downstream its top edge continues to create a backflow zone. The result is the deposition of a lengthening bed of sand. Typically, periodic avalanches of large grains down the slip face (or other processes) coat it with thin layers of distinctive material. These closely-spaced laminations are called "cross-bedding" because they angle across the main bed. Cross-bedding in sandstone records the direction of the current that deposited the bed, enabling geologists to map currents that flowed millions of years ago (paleocurrents).

Evidence of grain size, bed thickness, and crossbedding angle, allows geologists to determine how deep and fast a paleocurrent was, and thus how steep the land was over which it flowed.

Ripples and dunes—probably the most familiar forms created by wind- or waterborne sand—involve similar processes. However, ripples and dunes are more typical of flow systems to which little or no sand is being added. The downstream slip faces of ripples and dunes are built from grains plucked from their upstream sides, so these structures can migrate without growing. When water or wind entering the system (e.g., water descending rapidly from a mountainous region) imports large quantities of sand, the result is net deposition rather than the mere migration of sandforms.

Grain shape, too, records history. All epiclastic grains of sand start out angular and become more rounded as they are polished by abrasion during transport by wind or water. Quartz grains, however, resist wear. One trip down a river is not enough to thoroughly round an angular grain of quartz; even a long sojourn on a beach, where grains are repeatedly tumbled by waves, does not suffice. The well-rounded state of many quartz sands can be accounted for only by crustal recycling . Quartz grains can survive many cycles of erosion , burial, cementation into sandstone, uplift , and re-erosion. Recycling time is on the order of 200 million years, so a quartz grain first weathered from granite 2.4 billion years ago may have gone through 10 or 12 cycles of burial and re-erosion to reach its present day state. An individual quartz grain's degree of roundness is thus an index of its antiquity. Feldspar grains can also survive recycling, but not as well, so sand that has been recycled a few times consists mostly of quartz.

Sand can be formed not only by weathering but by explosive volcanism, the breaking up of shells by waves, the cementing into pellets of finer-grained materials (pelletization), and the precipitation of dissolved chemicals (e.g., calcium carbonate ) from solution .

See also Beach nourishment; Dune; Geochemistry; Sediment and sedimentation; Sedimentary environment; Sedimentary rock.


Resources

books

Hamblin, W.K., and Christiansen, E.H. Earth's Dynamic Systems. 9th ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2001.

Hancock P.L. and Skinner B.J., eds. The Oxford Companion to the Earth. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Keller, E.A. Introduction to Environmental Geology 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2002.

Press, F. and R. Siever. Understanding Earth. 3rd ed. New York: W.H Freeman and Company, 2001.


Larry Gilman

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Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.