Sam Doidge

Continual improvement

Fraser Island does not have more sand than the Sahara desert

My friend Neil mentioned the claim ‘Fraser Island has more sand than the Sahara desert’ when viewing footage of Fraser Island tonight, it sounded almost unbelievable.


Googling the claim, several results came up. Two Australian tourist sites stating this is a myth, while 2 tourist blogs recite the claim however there was no evidence presented.

More Googling and some back-of-the-envelope calculations:

  • The Sahara desert has an area of over 9,400,000 km2

  • Around 20% of the Sahara is covered by sand

  • (9400000 / 100) * 20 = 1,880,000 km2 Sahara sand area

  • Fraser Island area is 1,840 km2 total. 1,880,000 / 1,840 = 1021.73~

  • One estimate gives the average depth of the Sahara sand to be approximately 150 meters.

The Sahara Desert’s sand area is over 1000 times large than Fraser island and for Fraser Island to have more sand would have to be over (1000~ * 150m) 150km deep.

Continental crust is around 50km thick. I realise these are rough figures but I think I can say Fraser Island does not have more sand than the Sahara desert.

Myth Busted.