What sand really looks like—grains of sand, magnified 

Photographer Gary Greenberg uses a 3D microscope to open our eyes to the microworld — a place where tiny sand grains look like colorful pieces of candy.

In Gary’s talk at TEDxMaui, he explains what we don’t see when we stick our toes in the sea:

"Each sand grain is about a tenth of a millimeter in size. When you look closer, it’s really quite amazing. You have microshells there; coral; fragments of other shells; olivine; bits of volcano; tube worms — an amazing array of incredible things exist in sand. 

When we’re walking along a beach, we’re actually walking along millions of years of biological and geological history. We don’t realize it, but it’s actually a record of that entire ecology. If you look at different sands from different places — every single beach, every single place where you look at sand — they’re different.”

Photos courtesy of Gary Greenberg. See more of Gary’s photography documenting the “microworld” at his website.