What is Beach Erosion?
A beach is generally a flat land surface adjacent to a body of water, typically an ocean, lake, or pond. It generally consists of loose stones, including sand, pebbles, shingle, or clumps of driftwood. The larger pieces of a beach are generally volcanic in origin, including pieces of igneous stone or pieces of marineic coral and sometimes pieces of rocky outcrops from cliffs. Beach destinations are usually chosen on a case-by-case basis when traveling abroad, with certain countries having more exotic beaches than others.
There are two basic theories on why some beaches have longer and more interesting times of year. One theory is that the gravitational forces of the moon and the earth cause the tide to be higher at certain times of the year and lower at others. The tides can also be affected by clouds and the presence or absence of clouds during different times of the year. Although the effects of clouds on tides are still being studied, most travelers believe that clouds have a negligible effect on tidal ranges and tides.
Seismic activity, which includes everything from earthquakes to cyclones and typhoons, is what causes most of the physical erosion of a beach. Seismic activity causes the surf to erode, which causes the beach to lose its structure and appearance over time. When this process takes place over a long period of time, it can have an enormous negative impact on a beach’s aesthetic qualities. However, when it occurs over a shorter period of time, the effects are often much less damaging.
When a beach erodes, it is simply sand moving down and away from the shore. Over hundreds of thousands of years, this can occur in many different ways. Most often, the process occurs when the beach comes in contact with the ocean through underwater currents. As the beach moves inland with the ocean, the steep cliffs are pushed inland along with the sand. As the beach gradually loses ground to the rising water, it begins to erode from the inside out. This results in the gradual building up of cinders along the beach.
Sand is the main ingredient in the creation of this phenomenon. As the beach erodes, sand grains are pushed down into the ocean. As these grains reach the deep ocean, they can sometimes become blocked by larger sediments in the water, which can sometimes form a beach berm. As the berm grows, it can sometimes reach the top of the ocean. As this happens, layers of sediment can build up on the surface of the beach, and eventually form an erosion edge. The edge has the added benefit of providing a break from the continuous build up of sand along the beach.
While many would assume that beach erosion occurs primarily because of the wind and waves, this is not always true. In certain areas, like those located near fault lines, earthquakes, or under high pressure, there is a greater rate of sand and dunes erosion. When the rate of sand and dunes erosion is high enough, a beach can erode over several years. The amount of time that an erosion will take to happen depends upon many factors, including how far inland the area is, how deep the sand and soil is, the rate of water movement, and the thickness of the sedimentary layer of sand. It is important to be aware that although erosion may occur over a long period of time, certain kinds of dunes and beaches may emerge again over again, forming a new, pristine, and rugged sand dune.