Types of Beach Erosions
A beach is typically a landlocked area near the shore of an inland sea, river, lake or ocean. It generally consists of coarse grains, like sand, clay, gravel, pebbles or shingle, all of which absorb heat and therefore heat energy as they are moved across the surface of the water. The larger the mass of beach, the more rapidly heat is lost. The most common material of a beach is sand, but the composition of the fine grains of sand can be varied greatly, from quartz, sand, limestone or even polka dots.
Typically, a sandy beach consists of a slope of low hills surrounded by higher hills that form an edifice. In a less formal definition, a beach can also include a strip of land along a river, which may not be hilly, with the steepest areas joining together to form an edifice. A shaded beach, where the sun does not shine directly onto the beach, is called a glider beach. A heavily shaded and wind-whipped beach is called a hurricane beach.
Beach pollution is the accumulation of manufactured materials like plastic, bottles, aluminum cans, tin cans and other trash in the ocean. This causes an algal bloom, when organic materials such as oxygen, nitrite and ammonia are present in large enough concentrations. The most common type of ocean contamination is referred to as “scatterers” because, over time, they push back and alter the currents that move through the area. When such “scatterers” are located at the mouth of rivers or seas, the result can be severe disruptions of marine life. Ocean pollution can also cause hypoxia–or a decrease in blood circulation, caused by changes in temperature or pressure that affect the heart.
Severe beach pollution can have disastrous effects on the marine ecosystem, because chemicals from artificial products tend to chemically react with natural nutrients. One of the most severe effects is the migration and sinking of jellyfish, because their bodies are made up mostly of jellyfish flesh. The largest known jellyfish blooms was off the California coast in 1998, and has been blamed for causing millions of dollars in damage to the oceanic system. Other smaller types of jellyfish have also been found to migrate to different parts of the sea due to the increased abundance of nutrients caused by human activities.
Coastal erosion occurs when areas of land are shifted gradually closer to the sea. Most beaches will erode over a period of years, depending on how much beach a particular area can hold. This type of erosion can occur in conjunction with high tides or without any significant rise in sea level. Coastal erosion can take place when the soil is washed away by high tides, or when it is pushed out into the sea by massive storms. When areas of land erode too much, they can sometimes become unfit for living creatures and plants, which leads to the creation of new beach beds.
Dune fields are places where a sandy beach is broken by a low area of land that slopes towards the ocean. The beach area is usually not very high, because the slope acts as a natural barrier against erosion. Sand can accumulate underneath the low area of land, forming a layer of silt that prevents sunlight from reaching the sand and keeps the sand from turning into mud. Dune fields are especially useful at low tide during the summer months, when the sun is shining on the sand and making it dry out. This allows the Dune field to remain relatively dry, which keeps the soft sand from washing away into the ocean during high tides.