Last Updated on January 31, 2023
Sand is the result of erosion of a rock and it may come in different colors depending on what type of mineral is made of: there is of course yellow sand in most beaches, orange and red sand in the desert, but also white sand made of gypsum and black sand in the form of volcanic ash. But is there such a thing as blue sand?
As a matter of fact, blue sand does exist in nature, although at present there is no such a thing as a beach with blue sand anywhere in the world, although some dark-sand beaches can glow blue at night due to external factors.
In order to find actual naturally blue sand you’ll have to the country of Namibia in Africa where large deposits of blue sodalite can be found.
These mineral plates are leftovers from mining which partially turned them into sand, which unlike regular sand was not a result of wind and water erosion. The blue sodalite at the site is also mixed with grey dolamite, giving the sand a brighter blue-grey appearance.
Other blue minerals can be artificially turned into blue sand, such as the rare lapis lazuli stone which is found in Northeastern Afghanistan. However, its rarity and high value make it difficult for most people to come into contact with it.
Another rare blue-ish mineral is blueschist, a type of rock that forms from volcanic rock under certain pressure and temperature conditions. This rock can be found in several countries where volcanos are present, including the United States, Japan, Greece, New Zealand, and Italy.
Sodalite is a blue mineral, chemically composed of sodium, aluminum, silicon, and oxygen. It is a member of the feldspathoid group of minerals and can be found in volcanic rocks, as well as in some igneous and metamorphic rocks. It is often used as a gemstone due to its rich blue color and is also used in jewelry and as an ornamental stone. In Namibia, large deposits of blue sodalite can also be found, which partially turn into blue sand as a result of mining activities.
Lapis Lazuli is a deep blue semi-precious stone that has been prized for thousands of years for its intense color and unique appearance. It is composed primarily of the minerals lazurite, calcite, and pyrite and is often used in jewelry, carvings, and as a pigment for painting. Lapis lazuli is particularly well-known for its use in the art and culture of ancient Egypt and the Renaissance. It is still widely sought after today, especially for its use in fine jewelry and luxury goods, and is considered a valuable commodity due to its rarity and beauty. Most lapis lazuli is mined in Northeastern Afghanistan, where it is found in relatively small quantities.
Blueschist is a type of metamorphic rock that forms under high pressure and low temperature conditions. It is blue in color due to the presence of the mineral glaucophane, and it is often found in areas that have been subjected to tectonic plate collision and subduction. Blueschist is typically found in mountain ranges and along plate boundaries and is often used as a marker for ancient tectonic activity.
Blue Sand Beaches
The closest thing that you can find to a blue sand beach is a phenomenon known as glowing beach which occurs in a few locations in the world where the luminiscent sand turns blue at night for a limited period of time due to the presence of microorganisms and under certain light conditions.
These glowing beaches are rare and found in only a few locations around the world, making them a special and fascinating experience for travelers and beach-goers.
Below, a few locations where this phenomenon has been observed:
Mosquito Bay, Puerto Rico
Informally known as “Bioluminiscent Bay“, Mosquito Bay in Puerto Rico is located on the island of Vieques and famous for its bioluminescence which attracts tourists from all over the globe. The sand at this beach is a dark grey, almost black color, but it often starts glowing blue at night due to the presence of pyrodinium bahamense algae.
To reach Mosquito Bay in Puerto Rico, you can fly into San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport and then take a connecting flight to Vieques. From there, you can take a taxi or rent a car to reach the bay. Another option is to take a ferry from the mainland to the island of Vieques and then take a taxi to the bay.
Vaadhoo Island, Maldives
Vaadhoo Island is a tiny, sparsely populated location in the Maldives famous for its glow-in-the-dark beach. Once again, this phenomenon occurs due to the presence of microorganisms called dinoflagellates which live in the water and start glowing whenever disturbed.
To reach Vaadhoo Island in the Maldives, you can fly into Malé International Airport, the main international gateway to the Maldives. From there, you can take a speedboat or a local ferry to reach Vaadhoo Island. The island is also easily accessible by private yacht or liveaboard. Once you reach the island, it’s just a short walk to the beach.
Koh Rong Island, Cambodia
Koh Rong in Cambodia is another location famous for its glowing plankton that sparkle like a starry sky at night. The phenomenon is best observed in areas with low light pollution. Koh Touch and Saracen Bay are the main tourist areas on Koh Rong Island and Koh Rong Samloem, respectively, but the easiest way to see the plankton is by booking a boat tour.
The island is easily reachable from Sihanoukville, taking a ferry or speedboat to the island.
Luminous Lagoon, Jamaica
Luminous Lagoon is located in Jamaica and is famous for its bioluminescent waters that emit a bright blue light at night. This natural wonder is due to the presence of microorganisms called dinoflagellates which emit light whenever the water is agitated. This creates a breathtaking view of the water glowing with a blue light.
To reach Luminous Lagoon in Jamaica, you can fly into Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport and then take a taxi or a tour to reach the lagoon. The lagoon is located near Falmouth and is easily accessible by boat.
Cockle Bay, New Zealand
Cockle Bay is located in Auckland, New Zealand and is famous for its glowing sand. The sand glows due to the presence of luminescent plankton which washes up on the shore. Cockle Bay is a popular spot for picnics and barbecues and is a great place to enjoy a unique natural experience.
To reach Cockle Bay in New Zealand, you can fly into Auckland International Airport and then take a taxi or a public transport to reach the bay. The bay is located in the suburb of Howick and is easily accessible by foot.
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