|Sand Beach, Maine. photo ©2009, Rooptort.com|
Sand fascinates me. I started collecting sand in 2001, during a camping trip to Mount Desert Island, Maine and a ranger-led hike along Great Head Trail and across Sand Beach. Stopping on a granite outcropping that presented a magnificent view of the Beehive and the beach, the ranger had us look at and touch the rock we were standing on. He passed out magnifying glasses so we could get a good look. I'm thinking, I've seen granite before but I'll play along. So I crouched down to look closely and notice. I don't recall how long each of my four children spent looking at the rock but I do know that they looked too.
The New Hampshire and Maine are known for their pink granite, an igneous rock formed of quartz and two types of feldspar, black and pink. The three minerals are roughly equal in proportion, and there are bits of mica sprinkled in along with a third type of feldspar, a white feldspar. After naming these minerals the ranger proceded to tell the group how this coast of Maine rock had once been connected to the coast of Spain, back a few hundred million years ago. Here is how one amature geologist describes it:
"Prior to 600 million years ago the World’s landmasses had been forming and reforming into groups until on almost opposite sides of the globe two super continents, one called Gondwana and the other Laurasia, had come into being. Slowly they drifted together and at about 600 million years ago they met and formed the giant extra-super continent, Pangea.
Pangea looked like a letter C, or a very distorted 8. A bit like a knobbly Pac man figure facing right, it’s mouth agape. But think of the 8, bent into a C shape. Where the two halves of the 8 meet, or perhaps where Pac man’s tonsils could be, were a few independent landmasses which had been crushed together and bridged the gap between the two continents. They are known as the Avalonian, the Amorican, and the Iberian plates." Spain Rocks, by Richard Morley