Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Shifting Sands

When our teachers told us that we would visit Shifting Sands on our trip last weekend, we all thought, “What in the world is Shifting Sands?” Oh my gosh! It was amazing! Shifting Sands is exactly what it says. It is a big pile of sand that moves. The sand originated in a volcanic eruption and is magnetic. That’s right, if you stick a magnet in it, which the guide did, the sand sticks to the magnet! When it gets on your hands, it comes right off because the magnetic pull of the big pile is much stronger than what you are holding in your hand.

The sand is located right in the path of a strong wind that blows through a gap in the mountains and as the wind blows, the sand is blown, but because it’s magnetic, it all sticks together. So the sand just blows up one side of the pile and down the other. So over time, the whole pile of sand just keeps moving. There are markers every few years since the 1950’s showing where the sand was each year. It literally moves several meters every year! Most changes in nature are very gradual and you see them over thousands or millions of years, but this was so cool because we could literally watch it moving. They let us climb right to the top of the pile and watch the sand go over the top! Really cool!

No comments: