IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


24th June, 2024 Polity


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Picture Courtesy: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/australias-enigmatic-pink-sand-was-born-in-antarctic-mountains-new-research/article68303376.ece

Context: Pink sand in South Australia's beaches likely contains garnets from East Antarctica's Skelton Glacier through ancient glaciers.


  • Researchers have discovered that the pink sand found along certain beaches in South Australia originates from a hidden mountain range buried beneath the Antarctic ice sheet. This finding solves the mystery of the origin of the pink garnet crystals found in the sand.


  • Garnet is a common mineral that can be found in various colours, with deep red being the most common.
  • It is rare in beach sands due to its vulnerability to ocean waves and currents. Garnet forms under high temperatures and pressures, often in large mountain belts formed by colliding tectonic plates.
  • There are six main types of garnet, each with slightly different chemical compositions. These include Pyrope, Almandine, Spessartine, Grossular, Andradite, and Uvarovite.
  • Garnets can also form as combinations of different types, reflecting a mix of their chemical compositions.
  • Garnets commonly form in metamorphic rocks like schist, amphibolite, and eclogite. They can also be found in some igneous rocks, such as granites and peridotite.
  • Australia is the leading producer of garnets. It is highly valued in various industries due to its hardness and abrasive properties.
  • It is used as blasting media for surface preparation and cleaning, in manufacturing and material processing, as mosaic cutting stones for decorative arts and crafts, in decorative wall plasters and ceramics for aesthetic value and durability, in polishing applications for picture tubes, glass, and other surfaces.


The Hindu



Q. Glacier melt contributes to climate change, but climate change also accelerates glacier melt. Explain two positive feedback loops created by this relationship, and discuss the potential consequences for future glacier retreats.