The sound of the sand from the Dutch shores

Saskia M. van Ruth*, Frans Hettinga, Pieter Dekker, Dara Fitzpatrick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In this study, we examine sand from the Dutch shores to link its unique acoustic traits to the source of the sand. Sand from nine locations along the beaches of the Netherlands, over a stretch of 187 km, were collected and subjected to Broad Acoustic Resonance Dissolution Spectroscopy analysis (BARDS). Sand sampling positions with respect to the distance to the high water line were compared as well. Temporal acoustic profiles, resulting from gas released from the sand particles in an acidic solution over time, were used to compare the sands from the various locations and positions along the shore. These BARDS patterns were compared with those of model sand samples composed of CaCO 3 , CaCO 3 /quartz mixtures, and ground sea shell/quartz mixtures to understand the phenomena. BARDS analysis allowed accurate measurements of the unique acoustic traits of the sands, which appeared good indicators of the source of the sand. The results show that both the composition and morphology of the sand determine the acoustic profiles. The proportion of seashells in the sand plays an important role in the acoustic signatures of the sands of the Dutch shores. The carbonate components of the shells and the shells’ morphology result in dissolution of the carbonates under acidic conditions and subsequent release of CO 2 in specific patterns. These specific patterns allow us to establish the source of the sand – with help of multivariate statistical methods. Evidently, the current study shows that ‘listening’ to the sound of sand reveals interesting information about its identity and origin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Acoustics
Early online date22 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • Acoustics
  • Beach
  • Broad Acoustic Resonance Dissolution Spectroscopy
  • Netherlands
  • Provenance
  • Resonance
  • Sound spectroscopy


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