A Texan geologist discovered that shrapnel from the D-Day invasion are still present in Omaha Beach sand.
Earle McBride was a professor at the University of Texas until he retired in 2005, but that hasn’t stopped him from making new discoveries about rocks, warfare and world history. After all, you can take man out of the geology department, but you can’t take the geology department out of the man.
While most old men would probably spend their days on the beach drinking, eyeing up 20-somethings in their bikinis, McBride was more interested in the sand. He took a sample of sand and brought it back with him to the States. There it sat for more than two decades until McBride finally decided to look at the sand under a microscope.
He found small iron beads in the sample, which proved to be magnetic. He thought that the beads came from World War II, but he couldn’t be sure. So, he whipped out his scanning electron microscope (no home should be without one) and proved his hunch. There are also glass beads present in the sample. McBride believes that the glass was formed from the high heat of explosions during D-Day. He told Reuters, “It’s a detective story. Sand has an exciting history.”
Well, we don’t know about that, but we have to hand it to him: this particular sample of sand is making people stop and think.
So, have you ever wanted to own your own souvenir from the pivotal D-Day invasion? All you have to do is fly to Omaha beach and grab a handful of sand. It may not be the most visually interesting souvenir ever, but who knows? Maybe the tiny piece of shrapnel you’re holding took out a Nazi several decades ago.