There are dozens of singing beaches in the world. The most famous site is Camas Sgiotaig on the Isle of Eigg in western Scotland. Most of the sites produce the "squeaking" type of sound... on Eigg it's because the sand is actually made up of tiny granules of rounded quartz. It's a watery little mousy noise, very short in duration.

More impressive is booming sand. I'm not so sure I believe the "10 km" figure, but the sound is amazing. It's a powerful, lengthy hum, and sounds almost exactly like the buzzing tone at the beginning of Korn's Follow the Leader< /I> LP. The sounds seem to capture the majesty of the giant dunes on which they are found.

Singing sands lose their ability to sing with pollution -- entire beaches in Japan and Brazil have lost their song. Even a minute bit of flour has halted the signing of Eigg's sand in laboratory tests. The science of the vibration depends on the sand's purity. So, if you ever discover a singing stretch of beach, it's probably not a good idea to celebrate your find by throwing a wild kegger on the site.