Special Report

The World’s Most Colorful Beaches

From green sand to glass, here are some of the most eye-popping beaches around the world

smithsonianmag.com

Papakolea Green Sand Beach—Hawaii, Hawaii

The Big Island isn't necessarily known for its white sand beaches—as the youngest island of the Hawaiian archipelago, Hawaii's beaches are much more rugged, shaped even to this day by an active volcano. But along Hawaii's shorelines, there are a few incredible gems, including Papakolea Beach, known for its green sand. The beach's sand gets its beautiful green color from the mineral olivine, which was deposited on its shores years ago by a now-dormant volcano. Magma from volcanoes is rich in olivine, and it's often one of the first crystals to form as lava cools—because of this, olivine is sometimes referred to as "Hawaiian Diamond." Olivine crystals are especially dense, which helps them accumulate on the beach without being washed away by the Hawaiian tides.

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