Famous for its powdery white sand and emerald green waters, visitors from around the world make the journey to sink their toes into the famous sugar-white sand of Destin. If white sand can be found around the world, what makes the sand on the Emerald Coast so special? Why is the sand so fine and white?
The secret– Quartz Crystal. This silica composed mineral makes up nearly 97%-98% of our sand.
At the end of the ice age– over 20,000 years ago, ice caps around the globe began melting as the Earth’s temperatures began to rise. This process took place nearly 1,200 miles north of Destin in a mountainous region– what we now call the Appalachian Mountains. The effect of this process? Large volumes of water melted from the Appalachians began streaming down rivers, straight into the oceans and seas. Specifically, the Apalachicola River began rising and running down to the Gulf of Mexico, carrying Quartz particles from the mountains with it. As sea levels began reaching modern elevation, new shorelines were formed along the coast.
Quartz Crystal Sand
This mineral-based sand does an impressive job of reflecting the sun’s heat. The sand is cool to the touch, making it the perfect type of sand for a barefoot adventure. When walking along the coast, visitors may also notice a very particular squeak noise as each foot print meets the surface. This is due to the shape of the grain and the sliding effect that happens when your weight is pressed against the sand. And while it has not been proven, some even believe the quartz sand has healing properties. Perhaps that is why we all feel so good while kicking back on the beaches of Destin!
Did you know?
The Apalachicola River continues to run down into the Gulf of Mexico, replenishing the sand along the coast? We are walking on a piece of ancient history every day!