How much does sand weigh?

I’m writing about parrotfish. Parrotfish eat algae off of rocks and coral. To get the algae, they chomp off bits of rock and coral and grind them up in their esophagus. The fish then excrete fine sand. A single parrotfish can produce up to 500 kg. of sand in a year.

I want to put that in human terms. 500 kg. of sand would fill so many gallon milk cartons or so many two-liter pop bottles or so many of some other familiar, standard object.

So I need to know how much does a given volume of sand weigh? It can be any volume – a cubic inch, a cubic centimeter, a fluid ounce, a dry ounce – whatever. Give me a number, and I can do the math to get to milk cartons or pop bottles or whatever.

Thanks in advance.

I looked up sand (white quartz) in my chemical catalogue. No value is given for the density. Curiously though, this sand is listed as a CANCER SUSPECT AGENT.

This was harder to find than I expected. According to the Falcon Drilling Ltd. Core Density/Size weight table, wet sand weighs 1950 kilograms per cubic meter, while dry sand comes in at 1600 kilograms per cubic meter.

The State of Connectict actually has a regulatiojn about how much sand weighs: “A cubic yard of sand shall contain twenty-six hundred pounds” according to General Statutes of Connecticut, Revised to 1997 Title-43 - Weights and Measures.

I wonder what they do with sand that fails the weight test… impound the beach?

They rename it “salt” and spread it on the roads.

“Impound the beach.”

the origin of 'pound sand?
LOL :wink:

RE: Sand as a cancer-cause-

I think inhaling very find sand (silica) dust can somehow damage your lungs (maybe something like black lung disease?) Supposedly OSHA then declared silica a dangerous substance. Since bricks are made of silica, you’d theoretically have to keep them in a controlled room for inhalation hazards! Although I agree that inhaling a brick would be hazardous! :slight_smile:


I read an article several years ago in Scientific American concerning sand. The article mentioned how if you travel the beaches of the world, you will encounter many different kinds of “sand”, some formed by shells, some formed by igneous rock, etc…

So the density of sand can be variable. You would have to find sand with the same composition than the excreta of the parrotfish to get an accurate answer.

La franchise ne consiste pas à dire tout ce que l’on pense, mais à penser tout ce que l’on dit.
H. de Livry

Having hauled many, many yards of it I can tell you. (or at least a close approximation)

Sand weighs about 1.5 tons per cubic yard. Less if it is totally dry.

Oops forgot to add that half a yard will fill a standard pickup bed to about 8" from the top.

That help you to get a picture of how much volume 3/4 ton of sand is?