The Science Behind our Sugar-White Sand
The right combination of sandy shoreline, sunshine and water is a sure bet for drawing healthy numbers of visitors and real estate buyers in many locales. Yet, savvy beach goers know there is something inherently special about the Emerald Coast.
An uncommon blend of sparkling emerald green waters and crystal white sand not only offer distinctive appeal to Premier Property Group neighborhoods, but this combination also continuously lands the Florida Panhandle in rankings for top beach destinations nationally and globally. While the beauty of the Gulf of Mexico speaks for itself, it’s the miles upon miles of snow white sand that truly sets the Emerald Coast apart for many coastal aficionados.
Beach sand in destinations across the globe can be described in many ways—packed, powdery or granular. It’s very few destinations, though, that can boast both the fine powder and pure white sand that characterizes our local shoreline.
So, what is the secret behind the Florida Panhandle’s good fortune?
Surprisingly, the story begins in the Appalachian Mountains with an important natural resource: quartz. Layers of quartz-rich igneous rocks pushed into the mountains millions of years ago now provide the foundation for the sand on Emerald Coast beaches.
Transported to the Gulf of Mexico via the Apalachicola River, these particles started their journey 500 miles away at the river’s headwaters in the northeast Georgia mountains. Over time, mountain erosion produced quartz sediment that flowed down to the Gulf of Mexico where waves ground the sediment into fine granules. This broken-down sand has resulted in a 99 percent pure quartz shoreline so fine that a small breeze can displace it.
While those who are fortunate enough to live along the Emerald Coast may take this natural occurrence for granted, the quartz journey to the Florida Panhandle continues today. Particles are continually deposited into the Gulf of Mexico via the Apalachicola River and replenish the natural beauty of local beaches all the way to the Pensacola Pass. Then, when the sun reflects off this natural crystal resource, we all get to experience the sand’s white brilliance along with the emerald color water that gives our amazing region its name – The Emerald Coast.