A Special GMS Group
for People Interested in Sand
Sand Section Meets
Wednesday after the General Meeting
If you think sand is just tiny rocks, the insignificant stuff of beaches and dunes, or simply a substance with the ability to invite itself into regions of your clothing where it is most unwelcome, then you need to take a closer look. Consider a sample of green sand. Some grains have bubbles or inclusions. Some are angular and some are rounded. What is it? How did it form? Or how about another sample that looks like tiny stars? What are those little things? How did they end up in some sand? Well, now you know why we have a section for people interested in sand!
So, those of you who thought you were the only person weird enough to think it was a good idea to keep baggies and jars full of sand -- come join us! Even if you still think sand is just tiny rocks, even if you think you already have enough hobbies, or even if you just want to see what all the excitement is about – come join us!
If you have any questions about Sand Section, please send email to
Sand Section Message
Sand from a copper mine in Utah
Image Credit: Leo Kenney
No July meeting, but read this anyway…We won’t have a Sand Section meeting in July, but we may have some virtual meetings later this year. In the meantime, we can talk about sand collecting in general. So, you know that look? That weird look that most rockhounds get from people who don’t understand why anyone would collect “rocks”? Well, sand people get the same weird look from other rockhounds. Why would anyone collect sand?
- It is easy. A baggie, a sharpie to label the baggie, and some sort of scoop is all you need to collect sand. No hammers, no chisels, and most sand doesn’t need any prep, though even then, it’s a matter of rinsing out fine particles and/or things like twigs and leaves. Okay, easy to collect, but what can you do with sand?
- It is fun to look at. All you need is a simple jeweler’s loupe, 10X or better. I like 30X. Although it’s not necessary, I also have a digital microscope while others use traditional microscopes. Once you look at sand, you may want to photograph it, and you don’t even need a microscope for that. A camera with good macro capability can produce some stunning images. There are even microscope apps and macro attachments for cellphones now. What are you going to see?
- Composition. Sand is a reflection of the geology, mineralogy, paleontology, and biology of an area, so you can see all sorts of fascinating things in sand -- rocks, minerals, fossils, biological bits like shells, sea urchin spines, foraminifera…. Why is this important?
- Education. Because composition varies, you can learn about one or more “-ology” of an area just by looking at the sand. Then you can teach others what you have learned. I use sand at schools and other educational outreach events to teach kids and adults about geology. I give them samples of sand on little cards that they can take home and study again later. And speaking of samples…
- Sand is incredibly shareable. With just a cup or so of sand, you can keep a bit for yourself and split the rest up to share with several people.
We also learn about many different aspects of sand. For example, topics have included practical uses of sand, photographing sand, and sand art. There are many, many sand-related topics to explore. Since Sand Section started in 2012, we haven’t really repeated any topics yet and there are many more to come.
Now that you are ready to collect sand, look no further than the sand/micro room at GMS where we store extra sand from the club’s collection. The collection is now well over 800 specimens. A list is available below. Let me know if you want some; I will be happy to help you. And I won’t even give you a weird look.
Sand Section Chair
NOTE: Temporary procedures are in place for section meetings, including RSVP before attending. Please read those procedures and guidelines here.
Click here for the GMS Sand Collection List
2020 Sand Calendar
The 2020 sand calendar is here and, as always, the pictures are stunning and the write-ups are well-researched and educational! GMS members can purchase a calendar for $5.25. If you are not a member of GMS, you can purchase the calendar on ebay here
If you would like to purchase a calendar, please contact Lori Carter at
New Sand Book
ISCS member and Sand Section supporter Kate Clover recently released a new sand book with co-authors Dr. Gary Greenberg and Dr. Carol Kiely.
"The Secrets of Sand" explores the various places and ways sand is formed. Beautiful images of sand as well as thorough and engaging text make this a must have book for your sand library.
Now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other bookstores
Heavy Sand Article
The Fall 2015 Rock & Gem special gold issue is now available and this time it contains an article about heavy sand processing written by sand Section chair Lori Carter!
To purchase a copy of the magazine, please see the special issue website at: http://www.beckettmedia.com/special-issues/rock-n-gem-sip
Click below for a map and directions