Exotic white sand? So passé. You don’t have to travel across the world to see surreal locales in technicolor palettes — we’ve got some hidden gems right here at home in the USA. This week’s royal shades of purple and pink are located at Pfeiffer Beach, a local favorite along the Big Sur mountain range in California.
There aren’t any road signs for the beach — one of the reasons it’s a favorite with the locals. Of course, its other big secret is most visible after it rains. The sands feature majestic swirls of magenta, lilac, and stunning hues of purple.
What causes this royal mixture? Well, geology gives us the answer. You know how quartz comes in so many different colors? Amethyst, for example, is a purple variety of quartz, and rose quartz is a pink variety. The reason clear quartz appears naturally in all of the forms of the rainbow is due to other minerals present in its composition. That is, quartz + other minerals = pretty colors.
Sand, of course, is just what we call the finely ground particulate matter of various minerals. So the purple sand at Pfeiffer Beach is produced by all of the mineral runoff from the surroundings mountains. These mountains contain the brilliantly pigmented manganese garnet. When the rain washes this mineral into the beach, voila — purple sand, and a super ethereal beach.