Although a popular tourist destination, beaches are dangerous. Even the safest beaches are contaminated with human and animal waste. In 2013, 10% of the water samples collected failed to meet EPA standards for swimmer safety. Some swimmers have been known to get sick while swimming in sewage-contaminated waters, including the gastrointestinal tract. Some swimmers even develop respiratory ailments, pinkeye, earaches, and meningitis. The EPA recommends that swimmers avoid swimming in beaches that have sewage contamination.
Regardless of location, beach materials can be transported for great distances by wind and waves. Some beaches have a considerable amount of shells while others do not. Some beaches change width over time, which may be due to an invisible force. Beaches also change shape and profile over time. In many cases, erosion is the main cause of a beach’s morphology. While the physical characteristics of a beach are largely consistent, the sediment can be disrupted by a freak wave.
A typical beach profile is made up of three distinct parts: the active shoreline and the passive shoreline. In oceans, a beach berm is a sloping surface that slopes downward to the sea. The face slope of a beach berm varies with the intensity of waves associated with different seasons. In large lakes, the shoreface also grades into a shallow shelf, which is a portion of the ocean or a large lake.
Foraminifera are small creatures that build pink shells. They are single-celled amoeba-like protists. When they die, these creatures leave behind their shells, forming the sand we see on our beaches. This gives beaches their sand-colored hue. So, if you want to have a beach vacation, be sure to check out the ocean in your area. The sand of your dream vacation is only a few steps away.
The materials that make up a beach are mostly derived from weathering. Waves deposit material along shorelines that is either loose, sand, or rock. Often, these materials have a concave shape. They can be sand, rock, or mud. The materials are all natural and not fixed in a permanent fashion. However, they are a popular recreational location and play an important role in the tourism industry.
Rip currents and cusps are two types of beach structures. In the surf zone, these features are called ‘beach cusps’. These horn-like features, which are carved into the outer rim of a berm, alternate with smaller embayments. The cusps deflect wave swash into the embayments, giving the beach its characteristic wavy shape.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the main government agency responsible for protecting beaches. It enforces the Clean Water Act (CWA), which regulates various activities on the beach. For example, wastewater and stormwater pollution, CAFO manure management, and oil spill response are all part of the CWA. However, EPA enforcement of CWA varies from administration to administration. The Obama administration enacted stricter enforcement of the CWA, while the Trump administration has taken steps to weaken those regulations.