High Silica Beaches
Beaches are not necessarily the first thing that come to mind when you think of Tasmania, more likely images are of rolling green country side, orchards, and pastoral landscapes; but never the less, Tasmania’s East Coast has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. You know we’re going to start talking about Wineglass Bay now, right?
And a bit about high silica beaches.
One of the most notable features of both Wineglass Bay (and Friendly Beaches) is the soft, white, squeaky sand. Its tactile pleasure is such that the temptation to repeatedly cup it in your hand, just to let it run through your fingers is almost irresistible. Just do it, it’s strangely relaxing, and while we’re on the subject – if you’re walking the beach, give your toes a treat and remove your shoes.
One of the reasons the sand on these beaches is so delightful is because of its high silica content. Although silica is one of the most common elements found in sand, when the concentration is higher, the sand tends to be whiter. Sand with high silica content doesn’t get as hot as other sands, which mean they are generally more pleasant to walk, sit, laze and play on.
The silica at Wineglass Bay comes from the Hazards Mountain Range. Freycinet is essentially two eroded blocks of granite joined by a sand isthmus, which was built by accumulated gravels from the mountains on either side of it. So why does it squeak? The short answer is because it’s clean – which is a delightful idea. When the sand is unpolluted, well weathered, smooth and fairly rounded, it makes a squeaking noise when you walk on it. It’s quite literally squeaky clean.