To view the Marlins Day Flickr album, please click here

Student Research Projects

Sand Particle Composition Investigation of Costa Rican Beaches

Student Darren Driscoll, ‘14
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Biology
Course BIO 400: Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)


Heavy mineral sands are a valuable resource; large deposits are generally found in ancient beaches or sand dunes. The purpose of this project was to identify minerals in sand samples from two locations: Heredia, Costa Rica and Estilos, Costa Rica. These samples were identified using the X-ray analysis program AZtec on the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). Metals such as iron, titanium and aluminum were found in a variety of different colored sand particles for the different beaches. These metals are thoughts to be native to the beaches as volcano activity plays a large role in the makeup of the soils.