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Sand: A journey through science and the imagination

Popular ScienceOut of Print

By: Michael Welland

333 pages, 50 figs, 8pp col plates

Oxford University Press

Paperback | May 2010 | #184759 | ISBN-13: 9780199588183
Out of Print Details
Hardback | Aug 2009 | #180044 | ISBN-13: 9780199563180
Out of Print Details

About this book

This book is all about sand - sand in individual grains, each one a little different; sand in piles; sand in shoals and dunes; the science of sand but also, shot through the book, sand and imagination - the art and the music of sand. Did you know that the Sand Mountain in Nevada emits a low C, while dunes in Chile sound an F, and those in Morocco a G#?

For all its ubiquity, sand is an extraordinary substance. For scientists, it is important in many ways: it represents the crushed remains of past rock, and builds up into layers in lake and ocean beds, layers of sandstone from which we can extract the history of deep time; its erosion creates complex landscapes of mounds and dunes which move in characteristic ways; its grains are remarkable individually and in their behaviour together as a granular material. And to travellers, poets and artists, the deserts it forms are full of grandeur and pathos.

Michael Welland is a geologist who has a passion for sand. He shows that truly, one can see a world, both in space and time, in a grain of sand.

Surprising and fascinating sandy facts in this information-dense book. Zoe Kamen, Time Out Fascinating study. PD Smith, Guardian


1. Individuals: birth and character;
2. Tribes: the strange world of granular materials;
3. Sand and imagination: very large numbers of very small things; 4. Societies on the move: journeys to the sea;
5. Moving on: waves, tides, and storms;
6. Blowing in the wind: desert landscapes;
7. Witness: testaments of sand;
8. Sand and imagination: stories, medium, and muse;
9. Servant: sand in our lives;
10. Outward and onward;
Epilogue: desert mysteries

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