Mysterious Singing Sands Discovered on Coast of Hainan


Chinese scientists have discovered an area of ​​”singing sands” on the tropical island province of Hainan, the first time the strange hearing phenomenon has been identified on the country’s coastline.

Singing sands – also known as clattering sands, whistling sands or musical sands – consist of sandy areas of the desert or coastline that naturally produce sounds in the wind due to a combination of physical characteristics including size and grain composition.

According to the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources (NIEER), the discovery of singing sands in Hainan marks the first time an area of ​​China’s coastline has exhibited the phenomenon and boosts the province’s tourism potential. .

“The discovery of this magical natural phenomenon fills the void of coastal singing sands in China. It will provide technical support for the development and protection of tourism resources in Hainan,” said Qu Jianjun, a researcher at NIEER and leader of the team that made the Discovery.

Singing sands can be found at several inland sites in China, including the famous Singing-sand Mountain, located near the Mogao Grottoes in the oasis town of Dunhuang in northwest China’s Gansu Province. Such sites attract visitors eager to discover the strange phenomenon.

“The distribution of coastal singing sands is considered to reflect quality beaches. It has long been assumed that there are no coastal singing sands in China, and our latest study provides a new answer,” Qu said.

The NIEER team discovered several singing sand sites along the coasts of Clearwater Bay, the Shenzhou Peninsula and other parts of Hainan.

The study shows that the unique geomorphology and wave breaking dynamics of these bays have shaped the well-sorted coastal sands in terms of grain size.

Scientists studied the characteristics of coastal singing sands, such as mineral composition, particle size, surface structure and acoustic characteristics, and compared them to those of singing sands in a desert region.

Their study shows that the surface of coastal sands has typical V-shaped craters formed by underwater mechanical etching and deep dissolution craters formed by chemical etching.

“This well-developed surface porous physical structure is an important factor in controlling the sound mechanism of the singing sands,” Qu said.

However, the frequency spectrum of coastal singing sands is narrower than that of desert singing sands, with a high proportion of high-frequency components and a relatively high-pitched sound, according to the study.

According to Qu, the discovery of coastal sands in Hainan reflects the excellent quality of seawater and beaches of the resort island, which are important features for the tourism resources of Hainan Province, thus generating significant economic, social and ecological benefits.

“Further study regarding protection is needed,” Qu said. “In the meantime, it would be great to establish a coastal sand desert park, which could serve as a platform for scientific research and education.”

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