D-Day Sand Composition

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Catch22, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. Catch22

    Catch22 Well-Known Member

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    Pretty interesting fact.

    Today, the Normandy beach once code-named "Omaha" shows few visible signs of the events of June 6, 1944, when more than 160,000 Allied troops assaulted the heavily fortified, German-occupied coastline. But the sand remembers. University of Texas geologist Earle McBride analyzed samples from the beach using optical and scanning electron microscopes and found shiny, angular grains unlikely to have been produced by any natural process. Further testing revealed the shards to be magnetic shrapnel from the Allied invasion. "If we were smart, we would have predicted that the Omaha Beach sand would contain shrapnel, but we gave it no thought," says McBride. “However, upon seeing the angular magnetic grains, we knew instantly what they were.” He and his colleagues also identified iron and glass beads formed by the intense heat of explosions. Up to 4 percent of the sand is made up of this shrapnel, the researchers report, but waves, storms, and rust will probably wipe this microscopic archaeology from the coast in another hundred years.

    From the Trenches - D-Day in the Sands of Omaha - Archaeology Magazine

    Annnnnd I meant to say Omaha Sand Composition. Apologies for a weirdish title.
     
  2. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    4%? Wow, that really is a lot!
     
  3. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    If you walk the beach at Omaha and sift through the sands, you can actually still find pieces of shrapnel. Pieces are constantly washing ashore. Back in 1994 when I was there, I actually found spent shells and casings washing up on shore, and jagged pieces of metal. When I went last year for the 2nd time, I found small pieces but nothing. I am sure that it will continue this for many more years to come.

    On Utah, you can still find wreckage of Landing Craft on the beach.
     
  4. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Interesting! Not overly surprising, can't say I remember picking anything up when I was there though.
     
  5. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Last year, it was really just small pieces, mostly small little pieces the side of pinheads. Very sporadic as well, and nothing spectacular.

    Back in 94 though, as I said, I found spent shells and shrap.
     
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