More Park Facilities Reopen During May 2013
Watch Hill and Sailors Haven marinas open May 10. Limited ferry service from Sayville to Sailors Haven resumes May 13 and ferries from Patchogue to Watch Hill start on May 18. Remaining park facilities to reopen by May 25, 2013. More »
Fire Island's beaches are composed mainly of white quartz sand of varying grain size. Occasional layers of heavy mineral sands-which include grains of garnet and magnetite-appear as colored bands among the predominantly white sediment. There are also small amounts of feldspar, tourmaline, mica and other minerals. Occasionally, you will find pebbles or fragments of shell on the beach.
The particle size of beach sand is layered, depending on the energy of the depositing waves and wind.
The size and shape of the beach is always changing. While sediment is constantly being moved more or less perpendicular to or from shoreline by tidal and wave action, the predominant net movement of sediment along Fire Island's coast is parallel with the shore through the effects of longshore currents. The movement is called longshore sediment transport and its rate is dependent on wave energy and the angle at which waves strike the coast.
What's Fire Island's sandy beach made of?
Long Island is composed of material left by glaciers thousands of years ago. The South Shore is composed of the finer glacial sediments, reworked by waves and currents to form the coastline we see today.
Did You Know?
Seals occasionally bask on Fire Island beaches in winter. Enjoy watching them from a safe distance. Remember to give these wild mammals plenty of room to retreat if you encounter one during your winter hike! More...