Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

Oregon Coast Stranger Things: When Sand Glows or Sings

Published 08/31/2017 at 4:57 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oregon Coast Stranger Things: When Sand Glows or Sings

(Oregon Coast) – There are no multi-dimensional monsters hiding along the Oregon coast, but there are some awfully strange things on the beaches at the right time. Sand that glows and even sand that sings are two wild and beautifully strange things you could encounter here, if you're timing is right.

It's proof that actual science is much more spectacular than fiction.

Glowing sand shows up as tiny, greenish-bluish sparks, mostly in wet sand that is near where the tide is at that moment. You'll need to find a very dark beach at night, with no light interference from street lights or the moon – which means you may have to wait for a cloudy night or until the moon descends.

Rub your feet in the sand, going backwards, and as the sand kicks up you'll see those tiny flashes of light. More on glowing sand.

If you're really lucky, they'll be lurking in a pool of water and what you'll see is a sudden galaxy of teeny, tiny stars explode under your foot.

The cause is a form of phytoplankton called dinoflagellates, nearly-microscopic plant-creatures that are bioluminescent, like fireflies. They give off a sudden glow when their cell wall is touched.

This time of year increases your chances of seeing them, thanks to the warmer weather. From now through to the middle of October you tend to see more of the dinoflagellates. A stretch of sunny days can sort of “charge them up,” so to speak. But they show in other seasons when there's just a lot of blooming of phytoplankton, period. A few sunny days and a stint of stormy wave action to churn them up can bring them out in droves as well.

Sands that sing are much, much rarer, and it only happens on about two spots on the Oregon coast: just south of Cannon Beach and at the southern portions of the National Dunes Recreation Area south of Florence. Sometimes, it sounds like distant voices singing. Others, it's a bit like a violin or an odd, elongated squeaking noise. This, too, only happens under certain conditions, when two different kinds of sands grind together under the right degree of humidity.

In the Cannon Beach area it's extremely rare, and in fact mankind's presence may have eliminated it altogether. There don't seem to be any concrete incidences of it happening in recent decades, and all mentions of it apparently come from almost 100 years ago. What is slightly more common here, however, is the squeaking sands. Under the right conditions you get a squeaking noise out of the dunes when walking on them. More on singing sands, including video.

Singing sands is a tiny bit more frequent in the National Dunes Recreation Area. Even so, some park rangers who've worked at the Dunes for 20 years haven't heard it.

It's a once-in-a-lifetime find, if you catch the real thing. Catching the “real thing” is the catch, however. There are other noises the sands here can make – almost as rare at times.

Oregon Coast Beach Connection has some documentation of it occurring in Waldport in the '70s. More photos of similar sights below. Oregon Coast Lodgings for this event - Where to eat - Map and Virtual Tour








More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....

More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....

 

Oregon Coast event or adventure you can't miss

 



Coastal Spotlight


LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

Even Oregon Coast Under Air Quality Advisory; Portland at 'Unhealthy'
Essentially every part of the state of Oregon is under one kind of air quality alert or another. Weather
Secrets from Beneath Rockaway Beach: Hidden Oregon Coast History
In Rockaway Beach, some winters mean the emergence of incredible things
Oregon Coast Videos - Coastal Video Channel
Stream Videos: the latest from the beaches. Astoria, Warrenton, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Rockaway Beach, Tillamook Bay, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Yachats
Video, Mysterious Run of Sharks: Rescue Attempt of Small Shark on Oregon Coas...
Young salmon sharks keep washing up everywhere. Sciences, Seaside Aquarium
Two Oregon Coast History Curiosities: Nye Beach, Lincoln City's Redhead Roundup
A kooky beauty contest turned major festival and all about ancient Newport
The Crazy Things Summer Does to Your Central Oregon Coast
Every year, sand levels hike up during the summer and create something new. Depoe Bay, Yachats, 804 Trail, Devil's Punchbowl
Longnose Skate Creature: Wondrous and Weird Oregon Coast Find
Periodically, these beaches are the recipient of something really strange flopping around the tide line. Sciences
Portland Presentation Gives Unique Travel Tips for Oregon Coast
A talk at Noodles in Portland on Monday, August 27, called The Oregon Coast They Don't Tell You About. Lincoln events, Cannon Beach events, Oceanside events, Newport events

Back to Oregon Coast

Contact Advertise on BeachConnection.net
All Content, unless otherwise attributed, copyright BeachConnection.net Unauthorized use or publication is not permitted

Oregon Coast Lodging
Rentals
Specials

Dining

Events Calendar

Oregon Coast Weather

Travel News

Search for Oregon Coast Subjects, Articles

Virtual Tours, Maps
Deep Details