Sunday, October 14, 2012

To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour. - William Blake

(Credit:  Malaia Orchids)

Is there any better feeling than bare feet on a sandy beach? While relaxing on a beach chair it is almost an automatic reflex for one to start digging one's toes into the sand.  There is no special technique to this sensory experience that takes no thought or mental prowess but only to mindlessly zone in on the softness of the sand, the occasional sharp stab of a shell, and the coolness of hitting a deeper layer. As an avid shell collector I've always been puzzled by my friends that take a Ziploc baggie of beach sand home. I don't get it? Isn't sand is something to be shaken out of your towels and  washed off your feet at the showers before you leave the beach so you don't have to vacuum the stuff out of the car later on.

Biologist Gary Greenberg has taken a closer look.  After years of observing living cancer and nerve cells through the lens of his microscope in his professional life, he took a closer look at some beach sand mailed to him by a relative trying to entice him to visit the family in Maui under his microscope. The seemingly ordinary contents of that package caught his eye and he realized the magnified sand was like taking a visual walk through a jewel mine. The impact was life-changing resulting in a move to Maui and adding to his resume artist and photographer. 

 Gary's three-dimensional photographs show the wonder of  ordinary beach sand magnified 300 times their size revealing a microscopic wonder world filled with shell fragments, volcanic rocks, and bits of coral. Feast you eyes at some of his pictures and remember that the next time you are digging your toes into the sand.

(Credit:  Dr. Gary Greenberg)
Ordinary beach sand becomes a sparking wonder world when magnified 300 times by Dr. Gary Greenburg's Edge 3-D microscope.

There is a huge appreciation for beach sand and it's display on Pinterest.

Maybe I'll send Dr. Gary Greenberg a canister of Stump Pass
 sand for him to examine.

Red Tide Update - Recent satellite images suggest the bloom extends from offshore of Collier County through and alongshore of Sarasota County, with patches off Manatee and Pinellas Counties - affecting approximately 75 miles of SWFL shoreline. To check your local beach conditions go to Mote Marine Beach Conitions Report.  For the most recent satellite reports  go to Florida Wildlife Commission 's latest updates.


  1. Sand is so beautiful when magnified like that - who would have thought??

  2. Ahhhh, sandy toes and salty kisses...who knew such jewels existed in these exchanges?

  3. I've always thought it was pretty even to the naked eye, but his micro-view is dazzling!

  4. Truly beautiful!! Who would have guessed! Enjoying the sand between our toes in Sanibel this week. I wonder what Sanibel sand looks like magnified??


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