A beach is a landform along a body of water that may be a lake, ocean or river. It is a sandy or pebbly area that usually contains marine plants and animals. It is a place where people can swim and play. Beaches are often a favorite vacation spot for many people.
There are three different types of beaches: 1) a sediment strip bordering a rocky or cliffy coast; 2) a sand, shell or gravel bar, or a mixture of the two, which is dissected by tidal inlets (barrier or barrier beaches); and 3) narrow sediment barriers which form lagoons separated from the open sea (flood or lagoon beaches). The characteristics and structure of beaches vary widely depending on their environment.
Beaches are constantly changing as they move and accumulate materials. They are formed from sand, silt and organic debris. They can contain shells, worms and other marine life as well as seaweed and coral. These are created by erosion over time from waves hitting a rocky coastline and also from the action of tides, which deposit and remove marine sediment. Some beach sediment is carried a long distances by the wind, forming and shaping dunes.
These sandy areas are often covered by grass, mosses and other plant life which provides a habitat for various animals. The vegetation is important to a beach because it helps slow the flow of runoff from rainfall. This slows the speed and erosive power of waves as they reach the beach, and it allows for the formation of beach dunes. Beach erosion also creates minor relief forms such as oscillation ripples, swash or rill furrows and the well-known beach cusps.
The beach is a great place to go swimming and relaxing especially on warm sunny days. It is the place where most of the aquatic creatures live and it can be very beautiful to see them. There are several types of animals that live on the beach such as seals, birds and crabs. Beaches are also used by sea turtles to lay their eggs.
There are many ways that beaches can be polluted. One way is by the waste that people throw away on them. This could include plastic bags, cans and other trash. Another way is when rainstorms wash bacteria, raw sewage and other toxic chemicals from urban areas into the ocean. Beaches are also polluted by the presence of algae and other plants.