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11/06/2017 - 07:00hs

In São Paulo, sand from Morocco and Egypt

An exhibit in the city features sand from around the world, including samples from Cairo and Merzouga. The show will run until July 29 at the science and technology part of the University of São Paulo.

Isaura Daniel/ANBA

Pictures of beaches and sands from around the world

São Paulo – The exhibition room is set within the Science and Technology Park (Cientec) of the University of São Paulo (USP). A poster on the wall of the staircase that leads into the room bears the saying “Do you know where sand comes from?”. Thus the journey begins for the exhibition Areias do Mundo (Sands of the World), a scientific presentation of the origins of different types of sand around the world, including Arab countries Egypt and Morocco.

Enclosed in a small glass container are a few grains from Cairo, Egypt. They can be seen up close with a magnifying glass. The wall text explains that they are fragments of limestone, which was used in building the pyramids. The sample is light-colored and pasty-looking.

Isaura Daniel/ANBA

Sand from Cairo originates from limestone

Another case holds sand from Merzouga, Morocco – a small village in the Sahara Desert, near the Algerian border. According to the wall text, the area’s sand is matte-toned due to the relentless collisions between the grains caused by the wind. “The wind is an agent that causes abrasion of the grains,” pointing out that these grains are small and round-shaped.

Just by looking at the different types of sand, one can get a clue as to where they come from. They originate from rocks, and that is where they get most of their characteristics. The exhibition features pieces of rock, followed by sediments and then grains, along with a demonstration of the process by which rock turns to sand. According to exhibition material, the definition of sand is grains measuring from 0.062 mm to 2 mm.

Isaura Daniel/ANBA

A magnifier is available for a close look at sand from Merzouga

The exhibit features samples of sand from exotic locations, such as Fumarole Bay, in Deception Island, Antarctica. Its grains are small, big and black. The sand in Black Beach, Vik, Iceland contains smaller black rocks. Grains from Okinawa, Japan are yellowish and exotic-shaped. They don’t even look like sand. Poipu Beach, in Kauai Island, Hawaii, has sand that’s dark yellow and very thin.

The exhibit also features sand from Reunion (a French territory), Greece, Australia, Bolivia, Canada, New Zealand, Chile, Mexico, Barbados, Colombia and Thailand, plus locations in Brazil such as Lençóis Maranhenses, in Maranhão, and Ilhabela, in São Paulo.

The exhibition includes pictures of the places the sands come from, with the grains on the foreground and the location of each place in the globe. Pictures of Cairo, Egypt, and of Merzouga, Morocco, are included. There’s also a big scale model of the São Paulo coast, panels with images of other sand types, and additional information.

The show’s curator is Christine Bourotte, a professor at the USP’s Geosciences Institute (IGc). According to information from university newspaper Jornal da USP, the exhibit is the result of a project funded by the São Paulo Research Foundation (Fapesp), coordinated by por Bourotte, and involving her students. The sand samples were collected by the students and donated by institutes and researchers from around the world.

Quick facts:

Exhibition “Sands of the World”
Until July 29, 2017
USP Science and Technology Park (Cientec)
Av. Miguel Stéfano, 4,200 – Água Funda – São Paulo (opposite the Zoo)
Monday to Saturday, from 9 am to 4 pm
Admission free
Find out more: +55 11 5077 6304 and parquecientec@usp.br

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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