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Accumulation of fragments of durable, usually dark, heavy minerals (those with a density greater than that of quartz). These accumulations are found in streambeds or on beaches where stream flow and wave energy are sufficient to carry away low-density material but not the heavy minerals. Thus, heavy minerals resistant to weathering and abrasion concentrate in these areas, though they may be only minor constituents of inland rocks. Placer mining of such deposits yields magnetite, cassiterite, and zircon, as well as gold, platinum, and other rare metals.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on black sand, visit Britannica.com.
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