• close family • small boat • big world •

Black Sand, Cold Springs (Dominica)

July 31, 2015

by Nicole
A boatyard cottage, Carriacou

A beach we went to in Dominica was like none we had ever seen before. All the sand is black.  Dominica is a country that was, millions of years ago, formed by volcanic activity.  When his royal sponsors asked Columbus to show them what Dominica looked like, he crumpled up a piece of parchment and threw it on the table.  "This is what Dominica looks like.  Completely covered with mountains with nary a flat spot."  Dominica has a volcanic flavor - it's volcanic activity has impacted the land in many different places, like the black sand beach or its boiling lake, the second-largest hot spring in the world.  When volcanic lava meets water, it cools rapidly and shatters into various-sized fragments. This volcanic rock is called basalt. Tiny basalt pieces wash up on shore and become the sand of a black sand beach. The sand is very hot because it absorbs much more heat from the sun, and because of the minerals in the basalt it is much heaver than normal sand.

Another cool place we went to in Dominica was the cold sulfur springs, where sulfur gas bubbles up from underground. We've been to hot springs before, but never a cold sulfur spring. It was really neat, because even though the water is cold, there were bubbles coming up, so it looked like the water was boiling.

Both the places were really amazing, and we are lucky we get to see things like that.