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.