Discover the Envy-Worthy Green Sand Beaches from Papakolea Beach in Hawaii to Scotland’s Shores…These Sands Will Leave Other Beaches Feeling Blue
Sure, there are white sand beaches with crystal-clear waters, black sand beaches with dramatic volcanic landscapes, and even pink sand beaches with a rosy hue, but did you know there are also beaches with green sand?
These unique and striking beaches get their unusual color from olivine, a magnesium and iron silicate mineral. As the olivine is eroded from nearby volcanic rocks, it is deposited on the beach, creating a stunning and otherworldly landscape that will amaze anyone who visits.
Here are 5 green sand beaches around the world:
- Papakolea Beach, Hawaii: Located on the Big Island of Hawaii, Papakolea Beach is one of the world’s most famous green sand beaches. The beach is nestled in a cove surrounded by volcanic cliffs, and the sand is made up of tiny olivine crystals eroded from the nearby cinder cone.
- Guam, Mariana Islands: Talofofo Beach, is one of a few green sand beaches on Guam, including Ritidian Point and Ague Cove. Not as prolifically green as Papakolea, beach goers will see a green tint to the sands.
- Punta Cormorant, Galapagos Islands: This beach on Floreana Island is known for its striking green sand. The beach is also home to a colony of sea turtles, making it a popular spot for snorkeling and diving.
- Guamote, Ecuador: This small town in Ecuador is home to a green sandstone quarry where the sandstone is composed of green minerals such as olivine and pyroxene. This sandstone is used for building materials in the town.
- The Isle of Rum, Scotland: This island in Scotland is home to a beach called Kilmory Bay, which has a small amount of green sand mixed in with its white sand.
TIP: It’s important to note that while these locations may have green sand, not all may be easily accessible or open to the public. Additionally, some of these locations may be difficult to get to or require a permit to visit, so be sure to research before planning a trip.
Did you know?
Green sand beaches have the presence of olivine, a mineral responsible for the green color, which is quite rare in the sand. Olivine is a common mineral in the Earth’s mantle, but it is not typically found in the sand because it weathers quickly when exposed to air and water.
A little history:
Green sand beaches have a long geological history that goes back millions of years. The presence of olivine, the mineral that gives the sand its green color, is often linked to volcanic activity in the surrounding areas. Olivine-rich volcanic rocks are formed deep in the Earth’s mantle. When these rocks are brought to the surface through volcanic eruptions, they are rapidly weathered by air and water, breaking down the olivine and dispersing it in the environment.
Over time, the intact olivine particles can be transported by wind and water to nearby beaches, where they accumulate and mix with other minerals to create green sand. Depending on the local geological conditions, this process can take thousands or even millions of years.
In some cultures, green sand beaches are considered sacred or significant in religious traditions. For example, in Hawaiian culture, Papakolea Beach on the Big Island is known as Mahana Beach. It is considered to be the home of the goddess Pele, who is associated with volcanic activity. The beach is also believed to have healing powers, and locals sometimes use the green sand as a natural remedy for various ailments.
Green sand beaches are closely tied to the geological and environmental conditions of the surrounding area, as well as cultural significances they hold for local communities.