A beach is a strip of sand or pebbles that borders the water of a sea, ocean, lake, or river. It also refers to the area of land extending from the high-water mark to the low-water mark on a seashore.
A wide variety of beaches exist in different climates, around the world. Some are warm and sandy, while others are cold and rocky or ice-covered. The majority of beaches are covered in sediment, mostly sand, although gravel and shells may also be present. Beaches are often highly biodiverse, with a wide range of plants and animals living in the surrounding dunes and surf.
The materials that comprise a beach are the result of a long process called weathering, which breaks down rocks into smaller fragments. Over time, the erosion of waves can wear down even huge boulders, exposing their interiors. Some of these rocks are swept away by tides, while others are carried along the shore and eventually deposited on a beach. Beaches can be rich in a variety of marine organisms, including tiny hermit crabs and colourful fish.
As waves wash over a beach, they leave behind a layer of fine sand that is largely composed of quartz and other feldspars. In temperate regions, the sand on beaches is also enriched with a small amount of heavier minerals, such as mica and pyroxene. In the tropics, the sand on many beaches is almost pure calcium carbonate, which forms from the skeletons of tiny marine organisms and bits of shell.
In addition to sand and other sediment, a beach can contain debris, such as trash, bottles, plastic bags, and pieces of wood. This waste is known as beach pollution. It is often the result of storms, which can carry sewage or industrial waste into the ocean. In other cases, the waste comes from inland, via rivers or drainage pipes.
A beach is a complex, dynamic landscape that can be both a source of enjoyment and a cause of concern. It is important to understand and protect a beach’s natural processes in order to keep it healthy and safe.
It’s crucial to remember that a beach is not just for people, but also for animals, as well as plants. It’s important to keep the area free of trash and other pollutants, so that wildlife can thrive. In this way, we can help to preserve the beauty of a beach for generations to come. It’s a great place for people to relax and play, and for wildlife to find food and shelter. And of course, it’s a beautiful sight to behold. So next time you visit a beach, take a moment to appreciate its splendour. You never know, you might spot a rare species of bird or an interesting piece of coral. Happy beach-going!