11/27/2013 04:36 pm ET

The Science Of Sand Goes Way Beyond The Beach In New MinuteEarth VIDEO

All sand looks pretty much the same, but why? It's a question few of us think about, but the answer is fascinating. It's all explained in a new video from MinuteEarth, the series that takes bits of science and connects them to universal themes. Watch it above.

Henry Reich, the series' founder, says most sand is comprised of quartz that, having been removed by weaker surrounding rock through the process of erosion, is gradually carried rivers toward the sea. Because of their shape and size, however, the grains tend to be laid down before reaching open ocean. The process repeats until, over the course of thousands of years, beaches are formed.

“Of course, not all beaches are purely quartz sand, and not all quartz sand ends up on beaches," Reich says in the video, "but the fact that so many beaches and so many sands are the same is a testament to the chemistry of the most common components of the Earth’s crust.”

That's why a beach in New Jersey might look similar to a beach in Taiwan -- and maybe knowing that will make us feel just a little more linked together, despite the distance.



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