Malta was originally formed from sedimentary rock by steady underwater layering and subsequent uplifting of the skeletal remains of marine algae, corals, and mollusks. The oldest layer consists of coralline limestone deposited 35 million years ago with the most recent upper coralline limestone deposited 7 million years ago.
The honey colored sand is mostly made up of microscopic remains of single cell animals called globigerina. The golden-reddish sand on the beaches accumulated by sliding off the surrounding globigerina limestone slopes.
The tan color sand consist primarily of compacted skeletal remains (tests) of ancient globigerina foraminifera. The surrounding Mediterranean water have contributed additional biogenic components including fragments of sea urchin spines, translucent and opaque bivalves, coral, and foraminifera (forams). Sand grains are mostly smooth due to wave actions on the relatively soft limestone component of the beaches.