Geomorphology And Beach Profile Determinations
A beach is basically a flat, gently sloping stretch of land which lies directly beside an ocean, river, or lake. Beach materials include pebbles, sand, rocks, and shells cover most beaches. Most beaches are man-made products of erosion and weathering. Most beaches are flat, and there are several in a long line, each with unique shapes and features. Some of the most popular beaches in the world include those at the coasts of Mexico, Brazil, Thailand, Hawaii, and California.
A beach at the south tip of Santorini, Greece has been shaped by many years of volcanic activity. The volcano was quiet for many years, but in 1963 a major eruption occurred, sending lava into the air, crashing down onto the island. This created massive amounts of erosion and waves, which have washed away part or all of the main beach. Part of the island remained above water level for many years, becoming covered with sands and building up a gradual slope. This has created a large area of smooth sand which narrows out to become the beach.
The western section of the island has rounded seaside cliffs, which form a rounded reef. As the waves crash on the beach, they mix with ocean sediment carried down from above, and combine to create the rough, uneven surface we see on most beaches. This creates waves which reach the top of the reef. The waves break on the steep beach, and create lapping areas which can serve as a start for new waves.
In many parts of the world, the rocky beach profile of the beach refers to the natural formation of the beach, without any human interference. Such examples include the rocky cliffs found in many parts of Ireland and Scotland. Another example includes the barren rock of Kinvod beach in Iceland, popular for its picturesque seascape. Rocky beaches can also be formed by the collision of two larger glaciers that flow into the sea.
The gradual formation of the beach is influenced by a combination of natural factors as well as human activities. Large pieces of rock can be dragged or pushed onto the beach by powerful winds, resulting in an irregular and rugged beach profile. Sometimes, a lagoon or channel underwater can push large chunks of rock onto the beach. Other times, the movement of the ocean itself can move large amounts of sand around.
Ocean debris is one of the greatest human influences on the beach profile of a particular beach. Larger pieces of coarse sediment like pebbles and stones are carried over the seaside by wind and need to be dislodged from their deposits. Other types of sediment can build up behind ocean structures, forming a fine-grained texture. Sand can even act as a filtering agent, helping to keep certain materials from entering the beach. A beach with several different textures can indicate different ecological functions.