Cruz Salazar, Y.M.; Upia de la Rosa, N.; Ramírez Martínez, W.R.; Caputi, L., and Arias Polanco, M., . Physicochemical characterization of beach sands from renowned tourist regions of the Dominican Republic.
The Dominican Republic's beautiful beaches drive its economy through tourism. Beach sands from tourist regions around the island were analyzed to characterize their physicochemical properties. The beaches of El Morro in Monte Cristi, Dorada in Puerto Plata, El Portillo in Samaná, Bibijagua in La Altagracia, Isla Saona in La Romana, Guayacanes in San Pedro de Macorís, Punta Salinas in Peravia, and Bahía de las Águilas in Pedernales were studied. The particle sizes of the studied beaches were found to vary from coarse (600–850 μm) to fine sands (75–211 μm), with medium sands (212–599 μm) being the most common. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis revealed morphologies dominated by lithoclasts at Punta Salinas, while coral reef fragments and marine skeletons (bioclasts) were prevalent at the other beaches. The major minerals identified through X-ray diffraction (XRD) were Mg-calcite, Mg-Fe-calcite, quartz, and aragonite. Aragonite predominated on the beaches along the Caribbean coast, while calcite was more prevalent on the Atlantic coast. Bahía de las Águilas was the only beach with sand composed almost entirely of aragonite, which harbored diatom algae in its pores. Energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) microanalysis detected Ca, Mg, and O on the surface of all samples, indicating that carbonate minerals dominated the sand composition. No toxic heavy metals were detected. Thermal decomposition occurred at temperatures ranging 453–822 °C, with total mass loss ranging from 1.9% to 42% for all locations. Additionally, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) identified vibrations of C-O bonds of calcite and aragonite. The most prominent vibrations of aragonite and calcite were found between 830 and 900 cm−1, where their peak relative intensities served as a qualitative marker. These findings offer valuable insights into the physicochemical characteristics of beach sands in the country, which can contribute to the development of sustainable tourism practices and effective coastal management.