When many people think about fracking sand and sources, the beach comes to mind. While it is true most coast lines are covered with sand, these are considered small deposits of this highly sought after silica material.
The best sources of frac sand are from the large deposits located inland in America. To the surprise of many, there are over 50 large deposits across the country. But not all sand is equal. The exact composition of the sand is determined by the rock formations that exists in the area. This is because sand is just the granular material of the rock once it is broken down by age and the weather.
Generally located with the sand is silt and gravel. The difference between them is the size of the particles. Silt is the smallest and is no larger than 62.5 microns. Sand is from 62.5 microns all the way up to 2 millimeters. Gravel is from 2 millimeters to 64 millimeters in diameter. From inland deposits, the basic composition of this sand is silica dioxide. This is what is ideal for frac sand.
The reason most coastal sand is not used as a source of frac sand is its composition. While there is silica dioxide present in this sand, there are also shell and coral fragments, along with limestone deposits. These materials do not have the same resistance to crushing as does silica.
The purpose of the frac sand is to filter in between rock layers and keep the crevices open so the trapped reservoirs can be extracted from the ground. This is why close to pure silica dioxide from inland deposits, mainly in Texas and the north eastern portions of America, are used as sources of frac sand.
There are other fracking sand and sources around the world, but the deposits in America are of sufficient quantities that importing this material would not be a cost effective move for the natural gas and oil industries.