Is Sand A Magnetic Element?

All of the sand is not magnetic. Considering all kinds of sand magnetic would be impossible and inaccurate. Most of the sand is created from a natural process that is known as weathering. It takes hundreds of millions of years to occur. The weathering process takes place when the breakdown of the environmental elements the rocks, minerals, and chemicals together after a certain period. 

Sand is a granular material, that is composed of finely divided rock and mineral particles. The sand is defined by the size, being finer than gravel and coarser than silt. The most common constituent of sand is silica. Silica is silicon dioxide (SiO2). It is usually in form of quartz. 

Types of Sand

1. Immature Sand

Immature Sand

Sand is composed of mineral grains. It comes from disintegrated rocks. If the sand is compositionally close to the origin rock, we call it immature sand. 

2. Pit Sand

Pit Sand

It gets its name from the process of digging the pit. It is a pure form of sand. The depth of the pit is around 1m to 2m from the floor stage. The superior-high-quality binding of pit sand is used in civil buildings

3. Silica Sand

Silica Sand

Silica sand is quartz that has been broken down into tiny granules through the work of water and wind. 

4. Coral Sand

Coral Sand

It is a collection of particles originating from tropical and subtropical marine environments. It is from the bioerosion of limestone skeletal material. 

5. Glass Sand

Glass Sand

The type of sand that is commonly used to make the glass is known as glass sand. It is composed of small grains of quartz crystals. They are made up of silicon dioxide molecules known as silica. 

6. Gypsum Sand

Gypsum Sand

It is a rare constituent of sand. There is a large dune field in New Mexico that consists of White Sands Nation Monument. It is composed of tabular gypsum grains. The gypsum in the sand is rare because it is moderately soluble in water. 

7. River Sand

River Sand

It is a pure form of sand obtained from the mattress of the river. It is accessible in all situations and can be used as all-purpose sand such as in construction. The plastering and concerning are the main building actions that can be done with the river sand. 

8. Sea Sand

Sea Sand

It is obtained from a sea-shore. The salt content in sea sand is not used for building purposes. The salt in sea sand absorbs the moisture from the atmosphere and brings dampness to construction.  

9. Green Sand

Green Sand

It is sandstone in greenish color. The green sand term is applied to the shallow marine sediment. It contains rounded greenish grains. It is commonly used as an ingredient of potassium in organic gardening and farming fertilizers

10. Desert Sand

Desert Sand

Desert sand is light and weak saturated reddish-yellow sand. Desert sand was used by General Motors to paint their early Cadillacs. They used it with rosewood to paint their Cadillacs. 

11. Lithic Sand

Lithic Sand

Lithic fragments are the pieces of eroded down rocks to sand. Lithic fragments are derived from igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks.  

12. Mixed Carbonite-silicate Sand

Mixed Carbonite-silicate Sand

Sand is composed of mineral grains. The marine samples often contain biogenic fragments. There are chances of an either pure or almost pure mineral along with biogenic sands. Sometimes there is a mixture of both known as hybrid carbonate-silicate sand or mixed carbonite-silicate sand. 

13. Biogenic Sand

Biogenic Sand

It is composed of exoskeleton or bone fragments of dead sea creatures. The low-altitude beaches such as less than 35 degrees contain biogenic sand. Biogenic sand is in a light color and the main components of this sand are carbonate material. 

14. Garnet Sand

Garnet Sand

It is a naturally occurring silicate material deposit named garnet abrasive sand. It can be recycled. It is an economical alternative to chilled iron, steel grit shot, and aluminum oxide grit. 

15. Olivine Sand

Olivine Sand

It is foundry sand and used for thermal properties. It is also used as a low-silica blasting abrasive.   

16. Volcanic Sand

Volcanic Sand

It is composed of rock fragments rather than individual mineral crystals. Volcanic sand is having different compositing than quartz-rich sand. The components of the volcanic sand are susceptible to weathering. 

17. Heavy Mineral Sand

Heavy Mineral Sand

It is a class of ore deposit. Heavy mineral sand is an important source of tungsten, thorium, titanium, zirconium, and some other rare-earth elements. It is also a source of garnet, sapphire, diamond, and other precious stones such as gemstones. 

Which Type of Sand Is Magnetic Sand?

Which Type of Sand Is Magnetic Sand

Black sand formed near a volcano, also known as, volcanic sand is magnetic sand. It is a result of a volcanic eruption. Other than volcanic eruptions, black sand is former where there are heavy minerals. They contain a magnetic mineral known as magnetite. The volcanic minerals or lava fragments have magnetite in them. The naturally occurring magnetite is a type of iron oxide that makes the black sand magnetic sand. 

This magnetic sand, black sand, or volcanic sand can be found on many beaches in Hawaii. There are other beaches with black sand that are in New Zealand and Iceland. 

Composition of Magnetic Sand

Composition of Magnetic Sand

It contains heavy concentrations of iron. It is blackish or dark grey. It is composed of magnetite or Fe3O4 and along with this, it contains silica, manganese, calcium, vanadium, and titanium. The composition of the magnetic sand is like steel, which has a tendency to heat up in direct sunlight. 

It causes the temperature of the sand to go high and give minor burns. It is a hazard in New Zealand at a popular west=coast beach known Piha. Magnetic sand or black sand is found in Asia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Europe, United States, and New Zealand. 

Uses of Magnetic Sand

Uses of Magnetic Sand

Magnetic Recording 

The audio recording in the 1930s was developed using magnetic acetate tape. The magnetite powder was used as a recording medium. Later on, in 1964 the magnetite-based tape was improved using powers of cubic crystals. It was replaced by needle-shaped magnetite of gamma ferric oxide. 


The world’s energy budget of 2 to 3 percent is allocated to Haber Process for nitrogen fixation. It relies on magnetite-derived catalysts. In industry, it is obtained from finely grounded iron powder. 

Magnetite Nanoparticles

Micro and nanoparticles of magnetite are used in various applications from biomedical to the environment. One of the uses is for water purification. Magnetite nanoparticles introduced in contaminated water will bind to the suspended particles of solid bacteria or plankton. It will then settle to the bottom of the fluid. It allows the contaminants to be removed. The magnetite particles are then recycled and reused for further purification. 


The nanoparticles of magnetic sand are used in the creation of ferrofluids. In addition to the fun play, they can be used for the targeted delivery of the drug inside the human body. The magnetization allows the particles to bond with the drug making magnetic dragging of the solution. It is then dragged to the desired area of the body. It allows the treatment of small areas of the body. 

Ferrofluids are also used in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology. 

Coal Mining Industry

Magnetic sand can be used for the separation of coal from the waste. The technique applied for this coal purification is between coal 1.3 to 1.4 tons per m3 and shales 2.2 to .4 tons per m3


This article mentions different types of sands that are available naturally. There is some definite use of sand such as in building and construction. Some sands are used as gemstones. There is magnetic sand that is used in various procedures obtained from the volcanic fragments. We have mentioned the composition, uses, and occurrence of the magnetic sand in this article.