What is a Beach?
The term beach is a general description of any landform that is located along a coastline. A beach is a long, narrow expanse of sediment, rock, or other material that is deposited by tides and waves. A beach usually has a concave shape and slopes gently toward a body of water. It extends landward from the low water line to a point where the land changes in features or material. It is often an area of natural beauty and a favorite recreation spot for many.
Beaches have many different forms, and the profile of each varies with different wave energies. During summer, for example, waves are often calmer and there are longer periods between breaking wave crests. This gentle wave action lifts sediment up the beach, where it remains on the berm as the water recedes. Submerged sandbars are also common. And the most distinctive type of beach is the submarine beach.
The composition of a beach is determined by the sediments upstream of the beach. The particles and their state of compaction determine the way sediments move across the beach. A compacted beach is less susceptible to erosion. A beach with a dune is surrounded by a berm of vegetation. Established vegetation slows down the fluid flow at the surface layer. It increases the density and volume of the moving fluid. Hence, the structure of a beach is influenced by the nature of the surrounding area.
A beach’s contour depends on the sediments that are present upstream of the shoreline. Coastal processes, the amount and type of sediments delivered, and the rate at which these sediments are transported affect the configuration of a beach. The first type of beach is a strip of sand that borders a rocky shoreline. The second type of a coast is a flat expanse of sediment that is dissected by tidal inlets and lagoons.
A beach is the landform that consists of fine sand particles and pebbles deposited by sea waves. The sediments on a beach are formed by the erosional activity of sea waves, and the sediments carried by rivers are deposited by the sea. In some areas, a beach is also referred to as a sandbar, which is a sandy stretch of land with pebbles in it. Unlike the former, the latter is a natural feature.
The composition of a beach varies from location to location. The sediments in the beach depend on the type and rate of delivery of the sediments. In the case of a rocky coastline, the first type of a coastal area may be a narrow strip of sediment. In contrast, a beach on an island is the outer edge of a plain of marine accumulation. The third form consists of narrow and undeveloped deposits in an ocean or lagoon.