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Contact Information

Clarke Hall
Virginia Wesleyan College
1584 Wesleyan Drive
Norfolk , VA 23502
Phone: 757.455.3359
Fax: 757.233.8743


Mon. and Wed.
8:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m.
8:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
Thurs. and Fri.
8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Student Research Projects

Sand Particle Composition Investigation of Costa Rican Beaches

Student Darren Driscoll, ‘14
Faculty Mentor(s) Dr. Victor Townsend
Department Biology
Course BIO 400: Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)


Heavy mineral sands are a valuable resource; large deposits are generally found in ancient beaches or sand dunes. The purpose of this project was to identify minerals in sand samples from two locations: Heredia, Costa Rica and Estilos, Costa Rica. These samples were identified using the X-ray analysis program AZtec on the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). Metals such as iron, titanium and aluminum were found in a variety of different colored sand particles for the different beaches. These metals are thoughts to be native to the beaches as volcano activity plays a large role in the makeup of the soils.

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