[Sunset Bay, on Cape Arago, Oregon]
About 60% of Oregon’s shoreline is sandy beach, most of those beaches are bordered north and south by rocky headlands.
The sand on Oregon’s beaches is primarily mineral sand, with most grains being a crystal or tiny chunk of rock. (“Sand” is not a thing, but a size: smaller bits are “silt” and larger bits are “gravel.”).
[Close-up of Sunset Bay sand, photo by Rex Elliot.]
Different beaches have different sands primarily because the grains come from slightly different mixes of sources. Dunes sand has a higher proportion of clear and beige crystals, and is generally more rounded.
[Clockwise from left: Bandon Beach (South Jetty), Oregon Dunes (Umpqua Dunes), Sunset Bay.]
The profile of most ocean beaches change with the seasons, with a summer profile that’s piled high with sand.
[Davis, Richard. The Evolving Coast. 1994. Scientific American.]
Sometimes water or wind sort the various sand grains to produce stunning patterns on the beach.
Want to learn more? Contact us to arrange your own discovery of Oregon’s sandy beaches.