A beach is a strip of land along a body of water, usually an ocean or a lake. It is made up of sand, pebbles, cobbles, rocks and shells. Beaches are continually changing due to erosion and deposition of sediments and can be a popular recreational and commercial destination. They are also a habitat for many plant and animal species that have adapted to the coastal environment.
Beach formation is a long process that involves the interaction of several factors. It starts with weathering, which is the breaking down of rocks into smaller and smaller pieces by wind and water. The rock fragments then become deposited on the shore. As the waves come in and go out, they carry this sediment back and forth with them. This is called erosion. As the sand is moved by the surf, it may be carried south on either the Pacific or Atlantic coast of the United States (called longshore drift). This sand then drains off down areas called submarine canyons.
Waves and currents continue to transport sand and other sediments, building up beaches over time. The size and shape of a beach depends on the strength of the waves, how much sediment is available and what sort of rock it is made of. Beaches are often made of white, black, tan and yellow rock fragments, depending on the geology of the area.
The beach is the area of land and water that can be reached at low tide. This area is home to many marine and terrestrial plants and animals that have adapted to the coastal environment. It is also an important resource for humans, who have built many homes, businesses, and attractions on or near beaches. Beaches are also frequently used for recreation and sport, with surfing, boogie boarding, swimming, sunbathing, fishing, jogging, walking, and sports such as volleyball.
Some beaches are popular tourist destinations and have facilities such as parking lots, lifeguards, changing rooms, showers, food vendors, and piers. Beaches are a natural resource, and care should be taken to protect them from damage and pollution.
It is important to reduce beach pollution, especially plastics and litter. Birds can choke on small bits of plastic and sea mammals can get tangled in ropes and twine. It is also important to leave living things alone, such as marine organisms and seaweed, so they do not die or become damaged. In addition, beachgoers should always be aware of the rules and regulations of each sandbar. Some allow alcohol, while others do not. It is best to avoid driving on sandbars, and visitors should never enter the water, as they can be injured by boat propellers or by waves that could carry them out to sea. It is also important to know that sandbars are delicate ecosystems and should not be modified by human hands, such as by digging holes or moving rocks. These modifications can lead to erosion and loss of sandbars.