Columbia River Beach Sand
Transmitted Circular Polarized Light and Reflected Darkfield Illumination
This deposit sample was part of a study for the distribution of slag particles introduce into the Columbia River from a
smelter upstream. A strandline deposit forms at a special boundary or interface. That boundary can be the site of wave action, current,
or subsurface characteristics. Strandline deposits form on beaches and at the leading or trailing edge of air classified
Significance in the Environment:
This sample of sand is from a strandline on a beach of the Columbia River and was collected 708 miles from the mouth of
the river. It contains a grain of garnet (lower center), hornblend (middle right), numerous opaque grains (mostly
magnetite and related iron rich oxides), and other minerals. The concentration of heavy minerals in this sample indicated
that heavy materials, including smelter slag should have been concentrated at this site. This field of view contains no
Circular polarized light causes all paricles in the field of view to exhibit the maximum intensity of the interference
color for that particle in that azimith of its optic axis or bisecatrix.
Reflected darkfield illumination highlights reflective surfaces or optically heterogeneous materials or surfaces.
Particles that scatter light because of their heterogenaity tend to take on an orange cast (the third particle from the
bottom on the left side). Particles that specularly reflect light tend to be bright if the angle is correct, such as the
highlights on the small black particle above the "S" in Slag.
This is a zone in which smelter slag should be found if the slag particles were about this size and were present at this
position on the beach.