A beach is a landform formed by a body of sediment that has accumulated along the shore. Its configuration is determined by coastal processes, the type of sediment, and the rate at which it is delivered. Beaches may be wide or narrow, steep or gentle, or any combination of these factors. Some beaches have extensive shell content, while others are devoid of shells. In addition, the width and slope of a beach will change over time. These changes are often caused by an invisible force of nature. Other features can be revealed by exploring a beach, such as rock formations, tree stumps, and mud layers.
Beaches provide an important habitat for many different animals. Sea turtles nest on beaches, and crabs and insects feed on the materials left behind by waves. Birds and other small animals dig into the sand in search of food, as well. Other species of sea life include seagrasses, which grow in areas where there is little activity.
Beaches occur in a variety of ecosystems, including temperate and tropical waters. Most of these ecosystems support different types of wildlife, so they are a great place to visit with your family. Whether you’re planning a family vacation or a business trip, the beach has something for you. Just make sure to remember to bring sunscreen!
If you’re at the beach during a storm, be alert and remember to stay close to the lifeguard. This will keep you safe and help you stay afloat. If you do get into trouble, raise your arm to signal for help or stay in a float and swim towards the breaking waves. You’ll be more likely to survive a rip current if you swim near a lifeguard.
Another feature of the beach you should look for is a berm. A berm is a line of sand that has moved onto the beach in recent times. These berms often form after a storm and gradually migrate onto the beach. They’ll often extend up to the high tide line, so they’re an indication of beach sand that’s just starting to move onto the beach.
Beach sand comes from a variety of sources, including volcanic rocks, which have eroded offshore into tiny particles of rock. In addition, some sand is eroded rock from nearby cliffs. However, the majority of beach sand is composed of tiny pieces of weathered quartz from the Appalachian Mountains.
Some of the flora that grows along a beach head is dependent on freshwater runoff from the land. When this runoff is diverted to a drain, it can suffocate those plants and increase the saltiness of the groundwater. This can also lead to the replacement of native species by mangroves. The process of restoring a beach that has been damaged by erosion is called beach nourishment. The process generally involves excavating sediments from riverbeds and sand quarries, which may contain considerable amounts of sediments that are different from those that naturally occur on the beach.