The beach is a sandy, pebbly area along the edge of a body of water, usually an ocean or a lake. Beaches form due to erosion of inland areas by waves and wind. The resulting sand is often a mixture of fine silica particles, such as quartz, and coarser fragments, such as shells and rock.
Beaches are often home to many species of plants and animals. Crabs and insects forage on beach sand, while birds nest, sea turtles lay eggs, and sea grasses grow in shallow water near beaches. Beaches are also popular recreational sites for swimming, sunbathing, and playing beach sports.
Despite the fact that they are influenced by natural processes and the surrounding environment, all beaches share certain characteristics. They are all characterized by sand, and some of this sand is made up of very small particles (quartz), while the rest is larger fragments (feldspar). Beaches also tend to have a high proportion of calcium carbonate. This is because the skeletons of marine organisms and coralline algae are washed into coastal waters, where they are precipitated as sediment onto beaches.
The type of sand that covers a beach is determined by the climate and the prevailing winds. In temperate regions, beach sands are generally composed of quartz with some feldspars and heavier minerals, such as micas, embedded in the sand. In the tropics, beach sands are typically composed of calcium carbonate. This is because the large skeletons of marine organisms that make up the tidal flats are washed into coastal waters, where the carbonate is precipitated as sediment.
A beach is a wide, flat strip of sand that borders the ocean or a lake. The term can also refer to a town or vacation spot that is situated on a beach. Beaches can be eroded and transformed by a variety of factors, including weather, temperature, and the strength of tides.
In addition to beach sand, a beach may contain other types of materials that are found in the sea, such as rocks, coralline algae, and even mud. Beaches are shaped by the action of waves, which reshape and erode coastlines, bury materials, and transport sand in currents.
Surfers know there are different types of waves, and each type has its own unique characteristics. For example, reef breaks are much more powerful than beach breaks because the waves break in deeper water. This makes them more challenging and exciting to surf, but also very dangerous. There are also pier and jetty breaks, which are similar to a reef break but less powerful because the waves are breaking in relatively shallow water. This makes them less challenging for surfers but can be very dangerous because the waves can close out quickly and create a rip.