UAE | Environment

Sands of time: The seven colours of the UAE?

The "seven sands" is an unforgettable piece of memorabilia that makes you wonder about the winds of time that have blown across the UAE's stunningly beautiful desertscape over centuries.

But are the seven colours of sands truly confined to the seven emirates respectively? Does each emirate have sand of a different colour?

  • Gulf News
  • Published: 08:57 January 26, 2013
  • The sands of the UAE
    The sands of the UAE

    The colour that sand acquires depends largely on what it is formed from. There is not really one single hue that is common or symbolic of one emirate. Sands have different colours, depending on their composition. Geologists say this attribution of one colour of sand to one emirate is more of a sales gimmick than a geological pointer.

  • Ras Al Khaimah: White
    Ras Al Khaimah: White

    The white-coloured sand is made from sandstone, which has plenty of quartz.

  • Abu Dhabi: Light red
    Abu Dhabi: Light red

    The light red colour of sand means there is a lighter concentration of iron oxide.

  • Dubai: Red
    Dubai: Red

    The red coloured sand suggests a stronger concentration of iron oxide.

  • Sharjah: Brown
    Sharjah: Brown

    This colour suggests the sand contains some organic material, iron and lead suplhide sediments in the limestone.

  • Umm Al Quwain: Greyish-blue
    Umm Al Quwain: Greyish-blue

    The greyish-blue colour comes from iron in its reduced condition. When iron stands in water it does not get oxidised and lends a greyish-blue hue.

  • Ajman: Cream
    Ajman: Cream

    This colour could possibly come from a lesser quantity of quartz present in silica or it is possible that the sands have a greater sediments of white coral deposits

  • Fujairah: Dark blue to black
    Fujairah: Dark blue to black

    The colour possibly stands for the sand that is obtained from corrosion of gabro rock found in the mountain range in the emirate.

  • The sands of the UAE
    The sands of the UAE

    The fact remains that sands are continuously shifting and are transported to different areas. No one area has a single coloured sand. We can find at least 30 differing hues of sand in each emirate. The sand in this region comes in as Aeolian deposits that are brought in by the winds. Sand and dust travel long distances and most of it is blown in from Central Asia.

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