Nature Oddity: Eerie Pink Sand Transforms Beautiful Beaches Into Wonderlands Around The World

This sand looks weird… Yeah, its color is pink…

Was it dyed for tourism purposes or is it another amazing natural phenomenon?

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Pink beach and sand on Elafonissi beach in Crete (Greece). Photo by Jan-Erik Larsson

Pink-sand beaches form in only a few regions around the world, where tropical coral reefs flourish offshore.

The best known pink beaches are:

  • Elafonisi Beach, Crete – Greece (picture above)
  • Budelli Island, Sardinia – Italy
  • Pink Beach of Komodo National Park – Indonesia
  • Pink Beach of Great Santa Cruz Island – Philippines
  • Pink Beach of Harbor Island – Bahamas
  • Pink Beach of Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean Island.
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Another example of pink beach on Komodo Island in Indonesia. Photo by Skyrock http://iisyudist.skyrock.com/

Why is the sand pink?

What makes the sand pink is an amalgam of calcium-rich shells and fragments of invertebrate sea creatures, from minute, single-cell protozoa to spiny sea urchins.

Chiefly responsible are foraminifera (“foram” for short), a type of protozoan that lives in great profusion in reef environments. Their persistent red pigment remains even in the microscopic “skeletons” these animals leave behind when they die.

The red gets mixed in with other (predominantly white) reef debris-broken clam and snail shells, fragments of coral and, when washed ashore, forms the island’s signature pink sand.

In this video you see two Japanese women on one of these amazing pink beaches in The Bahamas. It must really be a fantastic experience (watch between 1:10 and 2 min)!

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