Whether it is an expansive beach, or a narrow strip of sand, each beach has its own story. For the most part, a beach is a narrow, gently sloping strip of land that is situated along the edge of a body of water, such as a lake or ocean. Sand, pebbles, rock, and shells are common materials used to build a beach. These materials are carried to the beach by a variety of means, including rivers and tides. The materials are usually derived from eroded inland landforms, such as cliffs or valleys. They may also include fragments of biological organisms, such as seashells or seaweed.
Beaches are a natural landform that is constantly changing. Beaches come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. The beach can be wide, narrow, or shaped like a crescent. Each beach has its own unique social and political context. In the mid-Atlantic region, for example, beaches are affected by prevailing winds and the seasonal changes in sea level. Beaches can also have large or small waves. Most beaches are some shade of brown, but many are white or tan.
During storms, waves push sand from 30 to 50 feet below the surface. Storms also erode beaches. Storms also carry sand and debris offshore. Beaches may also lose sand when large waves crest the shoreline, or when storms blow on the beach and toss it into the air. In addition, beaches may be exposed to erosion when bluffs or other cliffs behind the beach erode the shoreline. Beaches may also be exposed to erosion due to changes in sea level. Some beaches are closed after strong storms. Other beaches are open all year, and have a gentle slope.
Beaches can also be characterized by the shape of the bedform. Beaches vary by season, and each tidal cycle reveals new features. Some beaches may be characterized by a long, narrow berm (a narrow wedge of sand and gravel) that is often capped by a well-developed beach cusp. Beaches may also have a sandbar, a narrow exposed area of sand and sediment. Sand bars are located near the shoreline and serve as a buffer from erosion. Some beaches have two or three berms. The length and width of each berm is dependent on the frequency of storms, the length of the waves, and the height of the tide. These changes can be due to the force of nature, or they may be influenced by human development along the shoreline.
The beach can be wide or narrow, and it can be very steep. Some beaches may be made up entirely of sand, while others may contain large amounts of shells and cobbles. Beaches may also be very polluted. The beach is an ideal spot for tanning and swimming. Beaches are also a preferred vacation destination. In the United States, millions of people visit the beach during the summer months. Many people will also pack a cooler and spend the day at the beach.