East Beach ~ Barrier Beach

Physical Characteristics

How is the color of the barrier beach determined?

When erosion breaks down gravel or rocky material, the tiny pieces of sand that result are the same color as the larger rock or gravel. Ninety percent of Rhode Island's beach sand is made of quartz. It can be colorless, milky white, light brown, or light pink in color. The combination of these colors gives the beach a light tan color. Sand also contains the minerals magnetite, feldspar, and mica.

How is sand transported?

Sand can be transported by water and wind. Both waves and currents move sand in the water and once the sand is on land, the wind moves the sand off the beach into the dunes.