colours in nature – the many colours of desert sands

Karen Haller 01
Karen Haller

Desert sand - white sand. This opens a new browser window.

In the second of my colour in nature series, I look at why desert sands can vary so much in colour; from white, yellow, red to black.

The colour of the desert sand comes in many colours and it will depend on the colour of the rock it weathered from.

White sand – is finely grounded up quartz.
Yellow sand – shows it is composed of feldspar and quartz.
Red sand – shows it is rich in iron.
Black sand –  is from volcanic rocks rich in iron and titanium.

Desert sand - white sand. This opens a new browser window.

A 275-square-mile desert of soft white sands in New Mexico.

Desert sand - yellow sand. This opens a new browser window.

The yellow sands of the Gobi desert (straddles China & Mongolia).

Desert sand - red sand. This opens a new browser window.

The red sand dunes of the Simpson Desert in the Australian outback.

Desert sand - black sand. This opens a new browser window.

The back sandy arctic desert known as the Sandar in Iceland.

If you enjoyed reading this article, you may also like to read the first article in this colour in nature series – the changing colours of sunset.

source information: Hub pages
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  1. Tanya Rennick on July 31, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    So very interesting and wonderfully sourced photography, thank you Karen x

    • admin on August 1, 2011 at 8:42 am

      You’re welcome. The colours of the different sands is really quite striking.

  2. Tamsin Fox-Davies on August 1, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Amazing pictures!

    The variety of sand colours is not something that I’d ever really thought about.

    • admin on August 3, 2011 at 7:46 pm

      isn’t nature just amazing!

  3. amy on August 8, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    can you tell me what the red sands of Australian deserts invoke?

    • admin on August 12, 2011 at 4:46 pm

      The colour of the sand from Australia’s deserts is from the rock it weathered from which is why it’s red. Looking at red as a colour it some of the feeling it invokes are warmth, fire, heat which are feelings you’d no doubt experience when in the red centre.

  4. lalalalala on September 1, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    cool the white sand looks like snow but its the opposite its in a hot dry desert thats cool and my favorite is red sand

    • admin on September 5, 2017 at 3:46 pm

      Hi there,

      It’s amazing how many different coloured sand there is and the feeling they give. I think red sand is my favourite too.

      Karen 🙂

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