Fort De Soto Park - Beach Sand

Beach Sand

By Sylvia Ellis

Where did all those grains of sand come from?

Even sharks' teeth can end up as sand

Given enough time, even the teeth of sharks can be ground up and become part of the substance we call sand.

How can the color and texture be so varied as we travel from one beach to another? The source of the sand and the action of the surrounding waters make the difference. In Florida, we can usually see three main groups:

  • Brown sand-comes mainly from crushed shell material. Found at St. George Island, Turtle Beach on Siesta Key, and in the Keys.

  • Black sand- made up of ground-up fossils, sharks' teeth, bone, etc. (in other parts of the world it comes from volcanic rock).

  • White sand- composed of gypsum and quartz. Here at Fort De Soto we have WHITE SAND rated in the top 10 in the world by Dr. Beach. Other beaches with sugar sand are Siesta Key, Panama City, Fort Walton Beach and others in the Panhandle.

Sand collar

Sometimes you can find sand in strange forms. This is a sand collar, created out of sand and slime when the moon snail lays her eggs.

Surprisingly, white sand can be found along Hwy 27 inland where ancient seashores once were. It also can be found near Sarasota and Sebring. Quartz is formed by volcanic activity. White sand now found in Florida was originally formed in the Appalachian Mountains and washed down centuries ago.

Sylvia Ellis, Volunteer Nature Guide

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