Sand is formed by the erosion of rocks, which become tiny particles. These tiny particles are picked up by wind and water and become sand.
Sand's makeup varies from place to place depending on the rocks, which have been eroded to create it. However, sand's most common ingredient is silica. Other potential contributors to grains of sand include olivine, basalt, garnet crystals, limestone and virtually any other type of rock or mineral. In fact, some sand can be made entirely from shells.
Sand is defined by its size and is known to be finer than gravel and coarser than silt. If soil contains more than 85 percent of sand-sized particles by mass, it is considered to be sand. Sand particle sizes range from 0.0625 millimeters to 2 millimeters.
The makeup of sand can provide detailed insights as to the sand's history. It is easy to determine, by way of the rocks and minerals in sand, where the sand originated.
Silica, sand's most frequent constituent, is known as silicon dioxide or SiO2.Silica generally comes from quartz. Quartz is uniquely resistant to weathering because of its chemical inertness.
Individuals who collect sand as a hobby are called arenophiles. These individuals often study sand, its content, and its history.