About the sand that is much more than just beach, dune, desert, or an aggregate to concrete

Quartz, aeolian origin, Murzuk, Libya, 2003. Illumination: darkfield transmitted light. Magnification: 230 x.

A new book traces the fascination about the infinite number of small grains that are created in the mountains and everywhere else, and which go on a long journey through millions of years

When you talk about sand, it is about vacation and beach, construction and concrete or desert and storms, to name just a few aspects. Hardly anyone is concerned with these mineral grains’ aesthetic, which in terms of their size rank between the components of silt and gravel. The diversity of the individual grains of sand is the focus of the book “Sand“ by Oliver Lenzen.

We show some of the 70 photos from the publication.

Briefly, some excerpts from the publisher’s text: “None of these individual particles is like the other. It is almost too absurd to imagine that there are probably no two completely identical grains of sand on earth. A thought that had already been expressed by the eccentric inventor of the single-lens microscope, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek in 1703 when he wrote to the Royal Society in London: ,You cannot find in any quantity of sand whatsoever two particles thereof, that are entirely like each other, although perhaps in their first configuration they might be alike, yet at present, they are exceedingly different.‘

During his research, he even thought he had discovered small creatures inside the grains, which we now refer to as fluid or mineral inclusions…

Maerl, Troms, Norway, 2013. Illumination: darkfield incident light. Magnification: 30 x.

The discrepancy between the uniformity of the mass and the actual individuality of ist components is particularly noteworthy when considering that, according to estimates, every single second on Earth, some 1 billion grains of sand are newly created by erosive processes.

Quartz, glacial, Riedgletscher, Switzerland, 2015. Illumination: brightfield transmitted light. Magnification: 510x

The distinctiveness of all these grains is by no means limited to their exterior; the surface, even their interior is, relative to very small dimensions, highly specific.“

„Sand“, Oliver Lenzen (German/English, 21 x 31 cm, Softcover, Snoeck Verlagsgesellschaft, ISBN 978-3-86442-320-8).

Muscovite, Nufenen, Switzerland, 2011. Illumination: crossed polarizers. Magnification: 340x.

(08.11.2020, USA: 11.08.2020)