Beaches are formed by the accumulation of sediment along shorelines. The configuration and contour of a beach depend on the type of sediment, the coastal processes involved, and the rate at which it is delivered to the sea. There are three main types of beaches. The first type is formed by a strip of sediment bordering a rocky shore. The second type occurs along the outer margin of a marine accumulation plain. The third type is formed by narrow sediment barriers that separate lagoons from the open sea and are often dissected by tidal inlets.
The composition of a beach largely depends on the type and size of sediments present upstream. The size and state of compaction of sediments also determine how resistant they are to erosion. Less compacted sediments tend to be harder to erode than softer sediments. Additionally, if a beach has established vegetation, the growth of vegetation will slow the flow of fluid at the surface layer.
Some beaches have been developed over several centuries. In the early 19th century, Brighton, England, became a popular seaside resort. With royal patronage from King George IV, it became the focus of upper-class pleasure and frivolity. The trend was further elevated with the introduction of the new romantic ideal of the picturesque landscape. The author Jane Austen’s unfinished novel Sanditon exemplifies this trend. The Queen also patronized beaches in the Isle of Wight and Ramsgate in Kent, making seaside residences fashionable and luxurious.
Another type of beach is a bay. A bay is an inlet or a broad lake, and it may have a beach as well. In a nutshell, a beach is a shoreline that is used for landing or other recreational activities. Bays are generally smaller than gulfs, and are often characterized by large areas of water.
Longshore drift is an important factor in the creation of beaches. It moves sand from the first placement of sediment farther down the beach. If this movement is disrupted, a beach can be destroyed. This is why beach dynamics are crucial. A beach is only as healthy as its sand and water. So preserving the sandbanks and beaches on our beaches is essential.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the biggest responsibility for protecting our coastlines. It enforces the Clean Water Act to protect the water and prevent pollution and other hazards. It also sets standards on how waste is managed and how it reaches the ocean. While the EPA’s enforcement of the CWA can vary from one administration to another, the Obama administration largely embraced the CWA’s protections. However, the Trump administration has been taking actions that undermine its enforcement.
The formation of beaches is an integral part of the coastal environment. They are the result of wave action, which carries the sand from the ocean. The waves move the loose sediments from one part of the coast to another and smooth them out. Beaches are also covered in a layer of ocean debris. This debris breaks up hard objects into sand, which then becomes a part of the beach.