Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sand

Ever since watching Prince of Persia, great movie by the way, my mind has been on sand.

Maybe because I like sand, and it reminds me of the beach and surfing, but there is something interesting about it.
These questions came to mind. Why is sand connected to time? Like the "sands of time" or sand in an hour glass. In Prince of Persia it definitely carries on this theme of sand and time.

Here is what I've learned in a little study and talking with friends.


A lot of sand is silica based. Furthermore silica sand is what window glass is made from! Sand is sedimentary particles between 0.0625 (1/16) mm and 2mm in diameter. Most sediments, including sand, are made up of the fragments that result when rock is broken down by wind and rain. So basically it's made up of itty bitty rocks or fragments.

But then I ask my self where did the rock come from? Now we have to go clear back to the formation of the earth and astronomy.
I friend told me this: "To produce sand you literally have to begin with creation of a star, burnout of the star, an explosion producing the heavy silica elements which would not otherwise exist, and then a reforming of a planet from the stellar remnants. It takes billions, perhaps trillions of years and a whole round of creation and annihilation to produce a grain of sand. When you hold one in your hand, you are looking at something so ancient and so distant in its origin, that you are holding a bit of eternity in your hand. Indeed, you are holding a bit of a star."

Neat stuff if you ask me.


By the way, this is what sand looks like under a microscope. 



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