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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Universe Truly IS in a Grain of Sand

          You may have noticed I've been a bit sand-obsessed since my trip to Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado in October. Discovering these individual sand grain images magnified 250 times has blown in a fresh look at sand. The sea urchin spines in the right part of the image are particularly striking in this calcium carbonate-rich sand:




      The three-pronged sponge spicule in this image from a Maui beach is but one sand grain; "sand" is defined as a size of sedimentary particle ranging from 1/16 to 2 mm, rather than composition (I.e., quartz).




     Sand grains may also be glacially deposited as these grains of garnet, agate, epidote, quartz, magnetite, and hematite, in Lake Winnibigoshish, WI.



      Sand grains of gypsum from the White Sands area in New Mexico, are some of the most uniform in color, though they are quite soft (hardness of 2 on Moh's Hardness Scale):





      And the hydraulic fracturing sands in western and southern Wisconsin are quite uniform, hard (hardness of 7 on Moh's Hardness Scale) quartz grains:








      "Puffy stars," calcium carbonate forams on Okinawa beaches are quite uniform in size and have a distinctive shape:




     Note the rounded, smooth shells, foraminifera, piece of coral, and the volcanic fragment (in the lower right.)



     Check out these colorful, luminescent, rounded bits of foraminifera, shells, and quartz in this sand mix.




And, to tie things back to where we started this week, here are rounded, smoothed, sea urchin sand fragments from Hawai'ian sand; these are essentially cross sections of the long, green spines seen in the first image.



Take this all with a grain of calcium car- bonate or quartz or gypsum salt or. . .

Steph

There are GLOSTA lovers in Colorado!





49 comments:

  1. In the picture of puffy stars (great name for a breakfast cereal!) , the starry grain at the left, lower-middle, looks like a turkey carcass! (I guess I've still got Turkey Day on my brain.)

    LegoThighoBreastoWingo

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  2. These are all beautiful - except the frack sand, which I am glad is sealed in a bag. It is very dangerous to breathe the stuff. I was just reading some new research about it.

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    1. I have been having trouble getting comments to publish. Somehow, if I am logged in using my blog identity, my comments won't publish.

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    2. Both of your comments published, Joanne.

      What did you read about breathing fracking sand?

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    3. I read up on a few articles about silicosis. This NPR article incorrectly states that all sand is made of SiO2, which, of course, it is not. Herewith, all the spectacular calcium carbonate and gypsum (calcium phosphate) sand pictured in this week's post.

      However, any sand that is blowing around creating dust (particles that are actually much smaller than sand-sized) is a potential silicosis-causing threat--not just official "fracking sand."

      I'd actually expect more dust formation with the softer gypsum sands than with the harder SiO2 sands.

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    4. ^^^calcium sulphate not phosphate

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  3. What do these have in common (other than being clues in today's New York Times crossword)?

    Easy two semesters at school?
    Lech Walesa, for one?
    Attire during an X-ray exam?
    Lenin, say?
    Fabulous deli delicacy?

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    Replies
    1. Astronomically fun astronomic puns! I especially like light year and radiation belt.

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    2. We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon, And we got to get ourselves back to the garden. . .

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  4. A third phase-wow!

    Thanks, jan, for the Q-tip on Q-carbon!

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  5. The Marshall Islands are disappearing.

    (The article was even written by Coral!)

    Nice embedded video. The Gray Lady is getting the hang of drones.

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    Replies
    1. Having spent summers in Gloucester, MA, (see photo to be added at end of post above), I know better to think that one can beat back the sea. . .

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  6. All those hexagons in the background of this page... And sand as the subject of this week's blog... Hexes and very small rocks... Sounds familiar?

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    Replies
    1. (Hexes, very small rocks, AND the Scientific Method!)

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    2. "I got better." Great delivery of that line!

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    3. I can't hear exactly what the "witch" says right after the weighing. Something about "fair", I think, but it's hard to hear through all the shouting. Anybody know?

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    4. According to an alleged copy of the working script, she says, "It's a fair cop", which is "something you say when someone has ​caught you doing something ​wrong and you ​agree that you were ​wrong", per Cambridge Dictionaries Online

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    5. Thanks, jan. So much improv, so much improvement!?

      "Fair COP"(21) in Paris?!

      Rhetorical interrobangs both but dialogue welcome. . .

      And does it matter if the ? or the ! comes first? I used both, just for whimsy.

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    6. Had some dates for lunch after packing up calendar gifts which reminded me:

      "What do you eat in the desert if all you have is a calendar?"

      "Eat the dates from the calendar and enjoy the sandwiches (sand witches?!) there.

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    7. And, since we were talking g about cross-blogging, these STRANDBEESTS are so cool. . .

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  7. Could those be SAND DUNES in the bottom part of the Pluto mosaic? There certainly are believed to be winds, estimated to be up to 225 mi/hr at the poles. . .

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  8. Replies
    1. And only $45! One Life Wrap is going to Zoe's community in Ethiopia.

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    2. These used to be more popular here, but have fallen out of favor recently. Originally developed during the Vietnam war, they've been called MAST pants (for Military Anti-Shock Trousers) or PASG (Pneumatic Anti-Shock Garment), used for uncontrollable bleeding below the diaphragm, also for stabilizing hip fractures. Less popular now because of concern about reducing cardiac output and rupturing existing clots. EMTs used to be trained on their use, but I don't think that's part of the curriculum any longer.

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    3. A less serious issue is that there's a general rule that every serious trauma patient gets naked in the emergency room (so all sources of injury can be identified). This is usually accomplished by enthusiastic application of trauma shears. That's a huge no-no if MAST pants are involved, first because of the huge blood pressure drop you get if you release the pressure suddenly, but also because it ruins the device, which cost hundreds of dollars ($45 sounds way too cheap).

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    4. Perhaps the Life Wrap is significantly different from the original MAST pants? It seems to be a legitimate and low-cost temporary way to help post-partum women.

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    5. Could be. It does sound reasonable, in theory. Of course, in theory, there's no difference between theory and practice, while in practice, there is.

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    6. I read a bit more about this device, which is termed a NASG, or non-pneumatic antishock garment. It apparently uses the elasticity of neoprene, secured by velcro, to apply pressure, rather than the pneumatic bladders of MAST/PASG. That accounts for the lower price, and perhaps the better outcomes.

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  9. Replies
    1. Yes, I'd agree. The paper puppets with the wires to move them are a bit bizarre.

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  10. I have the title. Now to write this week's post:

    "Hatten Down the Batches: Going With the Wind"

    ---Hattening Down the Batches Here in Windy Colorado (yes, it's a title transposed on purpose)

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  11. New post on "Hatten Down the Batches: Going With the Wind" is blowing into Partial Ellipsis of the Sun now. Enjoy!

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