A beach is a narrow, gently sloping strip of land adjacent to a body of water, usually an ocean, lake or river. It may consist of sand, pebbles, rocks or seashell fragments. Its configuration and contours depend on the nature of coastal processes, the types of sediment involved, and the rate of delivery of this sediment.
The sand and gravel on beaches are products of weathering and erosion over long periods of time. They are mainly composed of quartz, some feldspars, and a small percentage of heavy minerals. They are also often made of skeletal remnants of marine organisms and precipitated particles such as oolites.
In the tropics, tropical beaches consist mostly of calcareous sands. They are formed by oolites and other marine organisms, while in temperate latitudes they typically consist of skeletal remnants of plants and animals and a large proportion of sands.
Sands on a beach are transported by a natural process known as longshore drift, which is caused by the motion of waves and currents along the shore. This movement is important to the continued existence of a beach, because it allows sediment to be moved from points where it first arrives on the beach to points farther down the shore.
On both coasts of the United States, sand travels south by this process as it moves out of the surf zone, then north again, as waves and swells hit it and push it toward the next shore. This process continues for miles down the coastline and eventually reaches places called submarine canyons, where the sand dries up in winter.
When the sand on a beach is no longer delivered to it, gaps in its ridges will form and parabolic dunes will develop with their summits pushed outward. They will then drift to adjacent low-lying plains and bury soils, woods, and buildings.
People living near a beach tend to have a healthier lifestyle than those in other parts of the country. This is because a beach can help improve physical health by making people more active and helping them obtain enough vitamin D from the sun to fight off diseases.
In addition, a beach can help prevent premature death by strengthening the immune system. When a person is immersed in cold water several times a week, it can raise their white blood cells, which helps protect them from infection.
It can also help to lower their stress levels. Studies have shown that people who live near a beach are less likely to get stressed out by everyday activities.
Having a relaxing getaway at the beach is something that many people love to do, especially in warm, sunny climates. It’s a great place to spend time with friends and family, watch the sunset over the sea, or just sit and take it all in.
Some of the most popular forms of recreation on a beach include surfing, kayaking, swimming, and fishing. You can also find beaches that offer a range of food and drink options, such as restaurants, bars, and resorts.