December 5, 2013

Field Trip: Oolitic Sand Gathering

 Geologic information: Oolitic sand is an unusual sediment that is found in and around the Great Salt Lake. Instead of forming from grains of mineral fragments washed down from higher ground, this sand formed within the Great Salt Lake. It is composed of tiny, light-brown, rounded oolites.
 An oolite has a shell of concentric layers of calcium carbonate that precipitated around a nucleus or central core. The nucleus is usually a tiny brine shrimp fecal pellet or a mineral fragment. Oolites form in shallow, wave-agitated water, rolling along the lake bottom and gradually accumulating more and more layers.
 In addition to the Great Salt Lake, oolites also form in Baffin Bay (Texas), the eastern Mediterranean Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the waters surrounding the Bahamas. Although oolitic sand is collected for its uniqueness, it has also been used to dry flowers and as flux in mining operations.

 My husband wanted some for his fish tank and I wanted some for the terrariums we are making during our plant unit.  Plus, we just really like field trips!

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