Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Glacier National Park

Two samples from my best pal, Faith, who also travels extensively.

Grinnell Glacier, 6,650 ft Many Glaciers

Lake McDonald Shore, Apgar Village Lodge, Glacier National Park

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Collecting my collection

I spent all day messing around with my sand blog. It all started yesterday when I listened to Dr. Gary Greenberg Ted Talk! Then one site led me to another and all of a sudden I had an urge to buy a microscope so I could photograph sand! I now have over a hundred samples crammed into this little cabinet. I want to display them side by side so I can see the color and texture difference in all the samples! 

It was all because of this photo of beautiful star sand found only on a couple of beaches in the Indo-Pacific waters. I get so depressed when I think of all the place, beaches with great sand that I have lived and visited! Why didn't I have this longing to start a sand collection back then? Oh, well. I gives me something to strive for.  I added some great links that I have stored in my email. And made a header for this poor, neglected blog of my collected sand.

I found this 5MP Video Microscope 200X Magnifier Camera for photographing sand or this one, Celestron 5 MP Handheld Digital Microscope Pro or this one AmScope M158C-E Compound Monocular Microscope. They are really not expensive, and I was so thrilled to find that out! David and I are all ready talking about taking a road trip to Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park and Dry Falls to collect some samples. It feels good to be excited about getting in the car and going some place.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Fabulous Florida

If not for my coworker and friend, Victoria, I would not have such nice sands. (She travels)

Sanibel Island, Florida. Sanibel beaches attract visitors from all around the world, partly because of the large quantities of seashells that frequently wash up there. Many sand dollars can be found as well.One of the reasons for these large accumulations of shells is the fact that Sanibel is a barrier island which is "part of a large plateau that extends out into the Gulf of Mexico for miles. It is this plateau that acts like a shelf for seashells to gather." Sanibel also has an "east-west orientation when most islands are north-south. Hence, the island is gifted with great sandy beaches and an abundance of shells."

Anclote Key is an island off the Gulf Coast of the U.S. state of Florida, located at 28°11'16"N, 82°50'44"W near Tarpon Springs. Its name originates from the Spanish term for "anchor."[1] The island is accessible only by boat and is split between Anclote Key Preserve State Park and Anclote National Wildlife Reserve. The island contains mangrove wetlands, coastal pine flatwoods, and beaches. A large number of shorebirds nest and breed on Anclote Key and the surrounding islands. Sand Key is located nearby. Most of the island is located within Pasco County, while its southernmost section is in Pinellas County. The island is home to the Anclote Keys Light.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The art of display

This is a lovely way to display a sand collection.

My sand collecting friend, Jim, turned me onto the Sand Collecting group of Facebook. They trade and exchange! This is a nice trade. I guess I need to leave my house to actually get sand to trade.

MacroPhotographs of Sands from Around the World

Monday, November 9, 2015

How to Become a Sand Collector

From Sand Collectors

Anyone can become a sand collector. Children to seniors, even people with disabilities have enjoyed this pastime for many years. There is however, one important factor in becoming a psammophile and that is the ability to observe and wonder. This is key. One must learn how to look closely at not only sand but of the surrounding area in which one is collecting. Whether a beach, lake, river, desert, etc., the surrounding area will tell you much about the sand beneath your feet and how it got there.
One of the myths about sand collecting is that once you have collected a sample from a given area, there is no need to look further as all sand will be exactly the same – not true.
Often one will discover that sand can be quite different sample to sample within just a few yards or even feet of each other, so it is very important to observe and wonder.
Some of the equipment one will need:

Plastic baggies, film containers or nearly anything that is damp proof, easy to carry, and inexpensive. One should keep a supply of these containers in one’s car, luggage, tote bag, etc., while traveling, camping, or hiking. One never knows when one will come across an interesting sand sample. The size of your sample bag or container will depend if you wish to collect only for yourself or if you might wish to exchange your samples with others. One should also have handy a permanent marker or some other writing instrument to record its location on the bag, container or note pad. Never assume you will remember where your gathered sample is from, especially if you are planning on collecting more than one sample.

A spoon will be useful in digging sand particularly if the ground is hard packed or frozen. Though plastic spoons will work, and especially recommended if traveling by air, they do tend to break.
A magnifying, hand held hand-lens or eye-loop is also wise to carry and one can see their sample close-up for differences within samples from the same locale. Those items are about all one needs in the field to collect sand.

Once home, your samples should be logged into a logbook, file card system, computer, etc. Try noting as much information you can about the location that sample comes from, e.g. date collected, state, town, park, river, beach, etc. Try to be as specific as you can as to where on the beach you gathered your sample, low tide mark,high tide mark, upper beach area, left of pier, etc. If you have taken more than one sample from the same place, mark it as such (variety #1, variety #2, etc.).

Record asmuch information about that sample’s origins as possible. It will be important.
After logging in your data, you will want to contain your sample, either in a smaller baggie, bottle, jar, etc. The container you display your sample in will be of your choosing but one should keep a few things in mind. If having to purchase this container, what costs are you willing to bear? Be aware, a sand collection can growquite rapidly, so weight, expense, and the amount of storage or display room you have should be a consideration at the onset.

Once a container has been selected, you may wish to attach an outside display label for others to read. One can also add a paper label within the samples itself in the event the outer label falls off; however, before ever adding paper into a sand sample, that sample must be perfectly dry for the slightest moisture will penetrate thepaper and make it unreadable in little time. One can make sure a sample is dry by airing it out on several layers of old newspapers or in an oven.

Other items one might wish to make or purchase are:

A sieve with a grid size no larger than 2 mm

At least one good road atlas and a world atlas to track down where samples come from and their correct spellings

A funnel for pouring sand from your gathering bags into your display containers

Again a hand-lens or eye-loop (10x is fine)

And a microscope (again10x-20x is good)

Other items might include a magnet to test for magnetite in a sample and white household vinegarfor testing for carbonate sands.

I cannot stress the point strong enough. Begin with a good record keeping system, record everything, people who donated samples to your collection, those people you have made trades with and what samples you exchanged with them, etc. Also, your display containers will generally be your biggest expense. Find a container that will fit your needs and finances, and be sure these containers will be available whenever you need to purchase them. Consider their size and weight with sand within. Many beginning collectors either do not realize these considerations early or choose to ignore this advice and then start to rethink their situation some years later. It is time consuming and expensive to change one’s mind afterwards. Do it right at the beginning. That is about all one truly needs to become a full-fledged sand collector and with that, one can indeed discover the world, grain by grain.

Important Note: One should be mindful about the area in which they are exploring and if that area is privately owned. Also, there are areas on federal, state, and city/town lands that restrict people from collecting items. Be aware of where you are and if you may take sand from that area.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sand for sale

Did you know you can buy sand on Ebay? And is not cheap.

And Pinterest has an entire board of sand for sale! Should I indulge myself?
Here is an index of index to the virtual sand collection, my dad worked in the Sahara ;( back when I was not collecting.

Article about Sand for Sale.

Billy Vincent, bartender at The American Sector in the National World War II Museum, has assembled a collection of jars and bottles holding sand from 20 different World War II and Korean War battlefields. Vincent shows a tin can with sand from Iwo Jima to Bert Stolier.

Saturday, January 3, 2015


Summer 2012

Aiken, NC - 2 samples
Lake Washington - the silt from an anchor
Mt St. Helens - ash
Copalis Beach, Iron Springs, WA  -
Canon Beach, OR -
Waikiki Beach - HI, a friend brought to me
Sand Dunes - Oregon -
Marina Beach Park from Edmonds, WA -
Carolina Beach, NC

1/2 vial of each of these:
Sausilito, CA Rodeo Beach
A 1/4 vial of Red Sedona dirt

Generous travelers

I have new sand from Westport, Washington (black); Rocky sand from the top of Half Dome (chunky and crystals), Yosemite, California and Cancun, Mexico (whitish-yellow).

The top of Half Dome

Victoria on her uphill travel