Today, the construction industry worldwide consumes some $130 billion worth of sand each year. Sand lies deep in our cultural consciousness. It suffuses our language. We draw lines in it, build castles in it, and hide our heads in it. In medieval Europe (and a classic Metallica song), the Sandman helped ease us into sleep. In our modern mythologies, the Sandman is a DC superhero and a Marvel supervillain. In the creation myths of indigenous cultures from West Africa to North America, sand is portrayed as the element that gives birth to the land.