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Pfeiffer Beach sand

Pfeiffer Beach in California is famous for its purple sand. I’ve seen it included in lists of colorful beaches of the world. I paid a visit to it to see it with my own eyes. It is purple indeed but not entirely. Most of the sand there is composed of quartz, but garnet, which is mostly responsible for the purple color, forms a significant part of it.

In some patches garnet and other heavy minerals are so abundant that the sand has a deep purple color.



Heavy minerals are sorted out by running water near the coastline.

Purple sand is mostly composed of garnet. Quartz dominates in yellow sand.

A closer look to the sand. It seems to be composed of garnet, epidote, quartz, magnetite, zircon, and many other interesting minerals. I hope to study the composition more thoroughly in the future. Width of view 8 mm.


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