When you sink your toes in the sand on Alabama beaches do you marvel at how soft and white it is? “Sugar-white sand” is a common way visitors describe our beaches, and we’re proud of those spectacular shorelines.
Just take a quick look at tripadvisor.com reviews of our beaches to see what we mean:
“Nice white sand that doesn’t ever seem to get hot.”
“Great day and the water was perfect, greenish blue with white sand.”
“Right at the end of Hwy. 59 are the public beaches with affordable parking and handicap access to the sugar white sandy beaches for which Gulf Shores is known.”
Get the picture? But why are those beaches so white? Because they are created by tiny quartz crystals that have washed downstream from the Appalachian Mountains over thousands of years. The heavier sediment settles on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, while those lighter quartz crystals wash up to create the shoreline.
Sometimes eroded shoreline is restored through renourishment projects, when sand is dredged from the Gulf of Mexico floor and pumped onto the shore. Over time, the sun bleaches it to make it that beautiful white we all love.