Purple Sand Beach Facts
- Perhaps most notably, the incredibly picturesque Purple Sand Beach truly ranks as an astonishing sight to see. The magnificent location also bears the alternate name of Pfeiffer Beach, which some people prefer. This gorgeous site derives its name from John Pfeiffer. This family immigrated from France, and represented some of the first settlers in the region.
- However, and perhaps to its benefit, this wonder of geology formed in a rather hard to reach locale. Due to this, although not far from Big Sur, this marvel of geology fortunately remains little-known. This remains a helpful fact, however, as it aids conservation efforts. In fact, not even road signs announce the presence of the site to non-locals.
- Interestingly, the quite unique color of the beautiful beach also appears most noticeable in the winter, after the passing of the seasonal storms. As a result of the effects of these storms, the newly moistened sand glistens in the light like at no other time. This spectacular effect occurs due to the specific mineral composition of the particles forming the beach.
Purple Sand Beach Physical Description
First of all, the dazzling and unique Purple Sand Beach actually owes its distinctive color to the nearby mountains. This holds true partly due to the fact that these formed in extremely close proximity to the seashore. This extremely unusual placement represents only the first in a series of factors that created the unique beach.
Secondly, playing yet another part in that chain of factors, these mountains also remain especially rich in mineral deposits. Further, in a most unusual occurrence, the mountains contain vast amounts of the mineral manganese garnet. As you probably guessed, this delicate mineral also forms a purplish-colored silicate.
Thirdly comes the final step in the remarkable process. Local rains wash fine crystals of the mineral down to the nearby seashore. This, therefore, provides a naturally and continually renewing pigmentation of the beach. However, while pure purple predominates, traces of lilac and magenta can also be seen.
Purple Sand Beach Location and Geology
Located in North America, the lovely Purple Sand Beach does not merely represent a one-hit wonder of geology. This beach forms part of the Los Padres National Forest, in California, United States. Its brilliantly colored sand, however, is not the only distinctive feature found in this one location.
In addition to the incredible marvel of the beach itself, several marvelous sea caves also appear just along the shoreline. Quite understandably, these natural features remain extremely difficult to access, however. The ocean waves typically remain strong enough to make entering these extremely hazardous.
Additionally, just offshore sits the locally famous Keystone Arch, with a naturally occurring hole near its center. Due to its angle and placement, an incredible coincidence of Nature takes place here. That’s because the setting sun shines directly through the keyhole only during the weeks of the Winter Solstice.