Beaches are a type of coastline where sand, gravel, pebbles or stone accumulates along the shore. The shape, contour and location of the beach are dependent on the type of material and the coastal processes that affect the shore. Aside from being an accumulation of sediments, beaches are also an important habitat for many species.
There are three main types of beaches, depending on the material they are made of. These include coral, sand and pebbles. Sand beaches are common in the Caribbean and Florida, while coral beaches are found in islands of the Caribbean Sea.
Coral beaches are composed of eroded coral exoskeletons and are often white or pink. In the United States, beaches are mainly white, but there are some black sand beaches in the Gulf of Mexico.
Beaches are created through several processes, including longshore drift and ocean currents. These currents carry sand, shells, and other debris hundreds of kilometers from shore. Some of the material is carried by waves, while others is carried by wind. Sediment is carried from rivers to the sea through inlets and river mouths. Ocean currents can also deposit seaweed or other ocean sediments on the beach.
Storms are a natural force that can erode beaches. Big storms can create powerful swells and carry sand to the rear of the beach. They can also form sandbars. Wind can also help to erode the beach.
Beach nourishment, or adding sand to the beach, is a technique used to prevent erosion. This method has been proven effective. Using a system of small sand additions at regular intervals has helped to combat erosion.
Aside from being a great recreational area, beaches are also an important habitat for marine life. Plastic trash can impede the development of sea plants and animals in tide pools. Also, marine mammals can get tangled in floating plastic. Floating plastic may be a nuisance to people and can cause damage to the environment, as it can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.
Many famous beaches in developed areas are artificial, or built with the help of sand, rock, and other materials. Most communities want to protect the shoreline and shorefront buildings from erosion. However, the construction of seawalls has increased the rate of erosion. Currently, 70 percent of Kauai’s beach is eroding.
Beaches are a great place to learn about nature. Besides the fact that beaches are a fun place to visit, they are also an excellent educational tool for young learners. To learn more about the vocabulary of the beach, download a printable beach word list below. You can print this out for your classroom or home.
One of the most important aspects of a beach is its age. The older the quartz sand grains are, the more time they spend rolling around in the sand. When the beach is replenished, the old sands are displaced. Eventually, the new sand will wash away. Fortunately, some communities have invested in the construction of seawalls to protect their beaches.