Above: What sand really looks like—grains of sand photographed at the microscopic level by TEDxMaui speaker Dr. Gary Greenberg, a process discussed in his talk, “Big beauty in tiny things”:
“Sand is about a tenth of a millimeter in size—each sand grain is about a tenth of a millimeter in size. But when you look closer…it’s really quite amazing.
[In sand from Maui], you have microshells there; you have things like coral; you have fragments of other shells; you have olivine; you have bits of volcano…you have tube worms—an amazing array of incredible things exist in sand.
…In a place like [Maui], a lot of the sand is made up of biological material because the reefs provide a place where all these microscopic animals or macroscopic animals grow, and when they die, their shells and their teeth and their bones break up and they make up grains of sand…
When we’re walking along a beach, we’re actually walking along millions of years of biological and geological history. We don’t realize it, but it’s actually a record of that entire ecology…If you look at different sands from different places: every single beach, every single place where you look at sand—it’s different.”
Photos via sandgrains.com. See more of Gary’s photography documenting the “microworld” here.