The pink color of the sand comes from tiny microscopic shelled animals known as Foraminifera. This animal has a bright pink or red shell full of holes through which it extends a footing, called “pseudopodia” which it uses to attach itself and feed.
The bright white sands are eroded limestone and may contain coral and shell fragments in addition to other organic or organically derived fragmental material.
At places like Shell Beach in Australia and Sanibel Island in Florida, the coastline is pure shells. Causes for the abundance of shells range from lack of predators to unique geographic positioning that allows shells from all over to collect on the shores.
The colorful red sand is a result of the surrounding iron-rich black and red lava rocks left over from the ancient volcanic activity.
It’s pretty much a very rare occurrence, but it does happen. The coastline of Ramla Bay in the Maltese Islands is a bright orange due to its high iron content but lack of volcanic rock bits darkening the sand.
This beach is a unique case. It’s located in Fort Bragg, California and it was once a major dumping site for garbage. Then in the 60’s, the city shut it down, and several environmental cleanup programs were instituted to clean all the waste. Underneath all the detritus, they found this amazing beach of polished sea glass.
Only two beaches in the world have green sand: Papakolea Beach in Hawaii, and Talofofo Beach in Guam. The reason? The green color comes from large qualities of lava that contains olivine. Strong waves move dirt particles out to sea, while leaving behind the heavier olivine sand on the beach.
In this case it’s not really the sand that’s glowing blue, but a host of bioluminescent phytoplankton scattered across the coastline on this island in the Maldives. The tiny organisms emit light when stressed, be it by the lapping of waves, the carving action of a surf board or other, creating what looks like a network of stars.
Apparently you don’t need sand to have a beach. Although these pillars at the Giants Causeway in Ireland appear to be man-made, they are actually the product of basalt from hardened lava fracturing as it dried, which left interlocked pillars that seem to have been etched by the ancients.
The beautiful purple sands of the Pfeiffer Beach draw their unusual color from manganese garnet deposits in the rocks around the secluded cove.
They’re incredible and unique. The black sand is made out of tiny fragments of lava. Most of it is created almost instantaneously, as hot lava enters the water and cools down so suddenly that it solidifies.
Cave beaches are said to have formed centuries ago due to volcanic activity and water erosion. About 40 miles off the coast of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico lies one of the most famous cave beaches in the world, the breathtakingly serene Marietas Islands.