Green Sand Beach

Green Sand Beach or Papakolea Beach is located near the southern tip of Hawaii (Big Island). It is not the only green sand beach in the world (I’ve written about that before: Is Papakolea the only green beach) but it is definitely the most famous. It was one of the highlights of my Hawaii trip.

Green Sand Beach and an eroded tuff cone Pu’u Mahana.

Green sand is largely composed of mineral olivine which is common in Hawaiian volcanic rocks but it is very uncommon mineral in sand in most circumstances because olivine decays rapidly. Only the toughest minerals survive for a long time in a harsh environment like sand. Green Sand Beach is a natural curiosity and a must-visit location for every geologist visiting Hawaii. It is, by the way, very good bay for swimming.

Green olivine comes from eroded tuff cone that is constantly pounded by the seawaves. There is a picture about this greenish tuff below.

Layered tuff that is the source of olivine.

The beach is several kilometers away from paved road. It is possible to go there on four wheels but as you can see the road conditions are quite extreme sometimes. I preferred to walk and enjoy the scenery.

Olivine-rich tuff.

1 comment to Green Sand Beach

  • Gabriela Aramaqui

    WOWWW! What A-M-A-Z-I-N-G trip!!
    My dream is to visit Hawaii!! Nice work and I’m so jealous of you (But it’s a good envy!! =P)..
    I’m anxious to see picutures of this sand!!
    Thanks for this beeeeuutiful pictures! I loved!