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A beach is a
landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws ...

landform
alongside a body of water which consists of loose particles. The particles composing a beach are typically made from
rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compound, chemical composition and the way in w ...
, such as
sand Sand is a granular material composed of finely divided rock (geology), rock and mineral particles. Sand has various compositions but is defined by its grain size. Sand grains are smaller than gravel and coarser than silt. Sand can also refer ...

sand
,
gravel Gravel is a loose aggregation of rock fragments. Gravel occurs naturally throughout the world as a result of sedimentary and erosive geologic processes; it is also produced in large quantities commercially as crushed stone. Gravel is classifie ...

gravel
, shingle,
pebble A pebble is a clast Clastic rocks are composed of fragments, or clasts, of pre-existing minerals In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth ...

pebble
s, etc., or
biological Biology is the natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowl ...

biological
sources, such as
mollusc shell The mollusc (or molluskOften spelled mollusk shell in the USA; the spelling "mollusc" are preferred by ) shell is typically a calcareous exoskeleton An exoskeleton (from Greek έξω, ''éxō'' "outer" and σκελετός, ''skeletós'' "s ...

mollusc shell
s or
coralline algae Coralline algae are red algae in the order Corallinales. They are characterized by a thallus that is hard because of calcareous deposits contained within the cell walls. The colors of these algae are most typically pink, or some other shade of red ...

coralline algae
. Sediments settle in different densities and structures, depending on the local wave action and weather, creating different textures, colors and gradients or layers of material. Though some beaches form on freshwater locations, most beaches are in coastal areas where
wave In physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular su ...
or
current Currents or The Current may refer to: Science and technology * Current (fluid) A current in a fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually Deformation (mechanics), deforms (flows) under an applied shear stress, or external force. ...
action
deposits A deposit account is a bank account maintained by a financial institution in which a customer can deposit and withdraw money. Deposit accounts can be savings accounts, Transaction account#Current accounts, current accounts or any of several other ...
and reworks sediments.
Erosion In earth science Earth science or geoscience includes all fields of natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific ...
and changing of beach geologies happens through natural processes, like
wave action In fluid dynamics In and , fluid dynamics is a subdiscipline of that describes the flow of s—s and es. It has several subdisciplines, including ' (the study of air and other gases in motion) and hydrodynamics (the study of liquids in ...
and
extreme weather events
extreme weather events
. Where wind conditions are correct, beaches can be backed by
coastal dunes A dune is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the s ...
which offer protection and regeneration for the beach. However, these natural forces have become more extreme due to climate change, permanently altering beaches at very rapid rates. Some estimates describe as much as 50 percent of the earth's sandy beaches disappearing by 2100 due to climate-change driven sea level rise. Sandy beaches occupy about one third of global coastlines. These beaches are popular for
recreation Recreation is an activity of leisure Leisure has often been defined as a quality of experience or as free time. Free time is spent away from , , , , and , as well as necessary activities such as and ing. Leisure as an experience usuall ...

recreation
, playing important economic and cultural roles—often driving local
tourism Tourism is travel Travel is the movement of people between distant geographical location In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of th ...
industries. To support these uses, some beaches have man-made infrastructure, such as
lifeguard A lifeguard is a rescuer who supervises the safety and rescue of swimmers, surfers, and other water sports participants such as in a swimming pool, water park, beach, spa, river and lake. Lifeguards are trained in swimming and CPR/AED first ai ...
posts,
changing room A changing room, locker room, dressing room (usually in a sports, theater or staff context) or changeroom (regional use) is a room or area designated for changing one's clothes. Changing rooms are provided in a semi-public situation to enable ...

changing room
s, showers,
shack A shack (or, less often, shanty) is a type of small shelter or dwelling, often primitive or rudimentary in design and construction. Like hut A hut is a primitive dwelling, which may be constructed of various local materials. Huts are a ty ...

shack
s and bars. They may also have
hospitality Hospitality is the relationship between a guest and a host, wherein the host receives the guest with some amount of goodwill, including the reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers. Louis, chevalier de Jaucourt describes ...
venues (such as resorts, camps, hotels, and restaurants) nearby or housing, both for permanent and seasonal residents. Human forces have significantly changed beaches globally: direct impacts include bad construction practices on dunes and coastlines, while indirect human impacts include
water pollution Water pollution (or aquatic pollution) is the contamination of water bodies ( Lysefjord) in Norway Norway ( nb, ; nn, ; se, Norga; smj, Vuodna; sma, Nöörje), officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic countries, Nordic c ...

water pollution
,
plastic pollution Plastic pollution is the accumulation of plastic Plastics are a wide range of syntheticA synthetic is an artificial material produced by organic chemistry, organic chemical synthesis. Synthetic may also refer to: In the sense of both ...
and
coastal erosion Coastal erosion is the loss or displacement of land, or the long-term removal of sediment Sediment is a naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering Weathering is the deterioration of rocks A roc ...
from
sea level rise Tide gauge measurements show that the current global sea level rise began at the start of the 20th century. Between 1900 and 2017, the globally averaged sea level Mean sea level (MSL) (often shortened to sea level) is an average In colloqu ...

sea level rise
and
climate change Contemporary climate change includes both the global warming caused by humans, and its impacts on Earth's weather patterns. There have been previous periods of climate change, but the current changes are more rapid than any known even ...
. Some
coastal management Coastal management is defence against flooding A flood is an overflow of water that submerges land that is usually dry. In the sense of "flowing water", the word may also be applied to the inflow of the tide Tides are the rise an ...
practices are designed to preserve or restore natural beach processes, while some beaches are actively restored through practices like
beach nourishment Beach nourishment (also referred to as beach renourishment, beach replenishment, or sand replenishment) describes a process by which sediment Sediment is a naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering Weat ...
. Wild beaches, also known as undeveloped or undiscovered beaches, are not developed for tourism or recreation. Preserved beaches are important biomes with important roles in aquatic or marine biodiversity, such as for breeding grounds for
sea turtle Sea turtles (superfamily Chelonioidea), sometimes called marine turtles, are reptiles of the order Testudines Turtles are reptile Reptiles are tetrapod Tetrapods (; from Greek 'four' and 'foot') are four-limbed animals constitut ...

sea turtle
s or nesting areas for
seabird Seabirds (also known as marine birds) are bird Birds are a group of s constituting the Aves , characterised by s, toothless beaked jaws, the of eggs, a high rate, a four-chambered , and a strong yet lightweight . Birds live worl ...

seabird
s or
penguin Penguins (order (biology), order Sphenisciformes , family (biology), family Spheniscidae ) are a group of Water bird, aquatic flightless bird, flightless birds. They live almost exclusively in the southern hemisphere: only one species, the Gal ...

penguin
s. Preserved beaches and their associated dune are important for protection from extreme weather for inland ecosystems and human infrastructure.


Location and profile

Although the is most commonly associated with the word ''beach'', beaches are also found by lakes and alongside large rivers. ''Beach'' may refer to: * small systems where rock material moves onshore, offshore, or alongshore by the forces of waves and currents; or * geological units of considerable size. The former are described in detail below; the larger geological units are discussed elsewhere under bars. There are several conspicuous parts to a beach that relate to the processes that form and shape it. The part mostly above water (depending upon tide), and more or less actively influenced by the waves at some point in the tide, is termed the beach berm. The
berm A berm is a level space, shelf, or raised barrier (usually made of compacted soil In geotechnical engineering, soil compaction is the process in which stress applied to a soil causes densification as air is displaced from the pores between th ...

berm
is the deposit of material comprising the active shoreline. The berm has a ''crest'' (top) and a ''face''—the latter being the slope leading down towards the water from the crest. At the very bottom of the face, there may be a ''trough'', and further seaward one or more long shore bars: slightly raised, underwater embankments formed where the waves first start to break. The sand deposit may extend well inland from the ''berm crest'', where there may be evidence of one or more older crests (the ''storm beach'') resulting from very large storm waves and beyond the influence of the normal waves. At some point the influence of the waves (even storm waves) on the material comprising the beach stops, and if the particles are small enough (sand size or smaller), winds shape the feature. Where wind is the force distributing the grains inland, the deposit behind the beach becomes a ''
dune A dune is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the ...

dune
''. These geomorphic features compose what is called the ''beach profile''. The beach profile changes seasonally due to the change in wave energy experienced during summer and winter months. In temperate areas where summer is characterised by calmer seas and longer periods between breaking wave crests, the beach profile is higher in summer. The gentle wave action during this season tends to transport sediment up the beach towards the berm where it is deposited and remains while the water recedes. Onshore winds carry it further inland forming and enhancing dunes. Conversely, the beach profile is lower in the storm season (winter in temperate areas) due to the increased wave energy, and the shorter periods between breaking wave crests. Higher energy waves breaking in quick succession tend to mobilise sediment from the shallows, keeping it in suspension where it is prone to be carried along the beach by longshore currents, or carried out to sea to form longshore bars, especially if the longshore current meets an outflow from a river or flooding stream. The removal of sediment from the beach berm and dune thus decreases the beach profile. If storms coincide with unusually high tides, or with a freak wave event such as a tidal surge or tsunami which causes significant
coastal flooding Coastal flooding normally occurs when dry and low-lying land is submerged by seawater. The range of a coastal flooding is a result of the elevation of floodwater that penetrates the inland which is controlled by the topography Topography is ...
, substantial quantities of material may be eroded from the coastal plain or dunes behind the berm by receding water. This flow may alter the shape of the coastline, enlarge the mouths of rivers and create new deltas at the mouths of streams that had not been powerful enough to overcome longshore movement of sediment. The line between beach and dune is difficult to define in the field. Over any significant period of time, sediment is always being exchanged between them. The ''drift line'' (the high point of material deposited by waves) is one potential demarcation. This would be the point at which significant wind movement of sand could occur, since the normal waves do not wet the sand beyond this area. However, the drift line is likely to move inland under assault by storm waves.Blair and Dawn Witherington (2007), ''Florida's Living Beaches, A Guide for the Curious Beachcomber'', (Pineapple Press)


Formation

Beaches are the result of wave action by which
wave In physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular su ...

wave
s or
currents Currents or The Current may refer to: Science and technology * Current (fluid), the flow of a liquid or a gas ** Air current, a flow of air ** Ocean current, a current in the ocean *** Rip current, a kind of water current ** Current (stream), c ...
move
sand Sand is a granular material composed of finely divided rock (geology), rock and mineral particles. Sand has various compositions but is defined by its grain size. Sand grains are smaller than gravel and coarser than silt. Sand can also refer ...

sand
or other loose
sediment Sediment is a naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering and erosion, and is subsequently sediment transport, transported by the action of wind, water, or ice or by the force of gravity acting on the particles. ...

sediment
s of which the beach is made as these particles are held in
suspension Suspension or suspended may refer to: Science and engineering * Suspension (topology), in mathematics * Suspension (dynamical systems), in mathematics * Suspension of a ring, in mathematics * Suspension (chemistry), small solid particles suspende ...
. Alternatively, sand may be moved by
saltation Saltation may refer to: * Saltation (biology), an evolutionary hypothesis emphasizing sudden and drastic change * Saltation (geology), a process of particle transport by fluids * Cutaneous rabbit illusion (sensory saltation), a perceptual illusion ...
(a bouncing movement of large particles). Beach materials come from erosion of rocks offshore, as well as from headland
erosion In earth science Earth science or geoscience includes all fields of natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific ...

erosion
and
slumping Slumping is a technique in which items are made in a kiln , Wrecclesham, Surrey Surrey () is a county in South East England which borders Kent to the east, East Sussex to the southeast, West Sussex to the south, Hampshire to the west, B ...

slumping
producing deposits of
scree Scree is a collection of broken rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compound ...

scree
. A
coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient c ...

coral reef
offshore is a significant source of sand particles. Some species of fish that feed on
algae Algae (; singular alga ) is an informal term for a large and diverse group of photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to convert Conversion or convert may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Co ...

algae
attached to coral outcrops and rocks can create substantial quantities of sand particles over their lifetime as they nibble during feeding, digesting the
organic matter Organic matter, organic material, or natural organic matter refers to the large source of Carbon compounds, carbon-based compounds found within natural and engineered, terrestrial, and aquatic environments. It is matter composed of organic compo ...
, and discarding the rock and coral particles which pass through their digestive tracts. The composition of the beach depends upon the nature and quantity of
sediments Sediment is a naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering and erosion, and is subsequently sediment transport, transported by the action of wind, water, or ice or by the force of gravity acting on the particles. ...
upstream of the beach, and the speed of flow and turbidity of water and wind. Sediments are moved by moving water and wind according to their particle size and state of compaction. Particles tend to settle and compact in still water. Once compacted, they are more resistant to
erosion In earth science Earth science or geoscience includes all fields of natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific ...

erosion
. Established vegetation (especially species with complex network root systems) will resist erosion by slowing the fluid flow at the surface layer. When affected by moving water or wind, particles that are eroded and held in suspension will increase the erosive power of the fluid that holds them by increasing the average density, viscosity, and volume of the moving fluid.
Coastline The coast, also known as the coastline or seashore, is defined as the area where land meets the sea or ocean, or as a line that forms the boundary between the land and the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body ...

Coastline
s facing very energetic wind and wave systems will tend to hold only large rocks as smaller particles will be held in suspension in the turbid water column and carried to calmer areas by longshore currents and tides. Coastlines that are protected from waves and winds will tend to allow finer sediments such as
clay Clay is a type of fine-grained natural soil Surface-water- gley developed in glacial till, Northern Ireland.">Northern_Ireland.html" ;"title="glacial till, Northern Ireland">glacial till, Northern Ireland. Soil is a mixture of organic m ...

clay
and mud to precipitate creating
mud flat Mud is soil, loam, silt or clay mixed with water. It usually forms after rainfall or near water sources. Ancient mud deposits harden over geological time to form sedimentary rock Sedimentary rocks are types of Rock (geology), rock that are ...
s and
mangrove A mangrove is a shrub A shrub (often called a bush) is a small- to medium-sized perennial A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the Kingdom (biology), kingdom Pl ...

mangrove
forests. The shape of a beach depends on whether the waves are constructive or destructive, and whether the material is sand or shingle. Waves are constructive if the period between their wave crests is long enough for the breaking water to recede and the sediment to settle before the succeeding wave arrives and breaks. Fine sediment transported from lower down the beach profile will compact if the receding water percolates or soaks into the beach. Compacted sediment is more resistant to movement by turbulent water from succeeding waves. Conversely, waves are destructive if the period between the wave crests is short. Sediment that remains in suspension when the following wave crest arrives will not be able to settle and compact and will be more susceptible to erosion by and receding tides. The nature of sediments found on a beach tends to indicate the energy of the waves and wind in the locality. Constructive waves move material up the beach while destructive waves move the material down the beach. During seasons when destructive waves are prevalent, the shallows will carry an increased load of sediment and organic matter in suspension. On sandy beaches, the turbulent backwash of destructive waves removes material forming a gently sloping beach. On
pebble A pebble is a clast Clastic rocks are composed of fragments, or clasts, of pre-existing minerals In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth ...

pebble
and shingle beaches the swash is dissipated more quickly because the large particle size allows greater
percolation Fig. 2: Percolation in a square lattice (Click to animate) In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural science that studies ...

percolation
, thereby reducing the power of the backwash, and the beach remains steep. Compacted fine sediments will form a smooth beach surface that resists wind and water erosion. During hot calm seasons, a crust may form on the surface of ocean beaches as the heat of the sun evaporates the water leaving the salt which crystallises around the sand particles. This crust forms an additional protective layer that resists wind erosion unless disturbed by animals or dissolved by the advancing tide. Cusps and horns form where incoming waves divide, depositing sand as horns and scouring out sand to form cusps. This forms the uneven face on some sand
shoreline A shore or a shoreline is the fringe of land Land is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanently submerged in water. Most but not all land is situated at elevations above sea level (variable over geologic time frames) and consis ...

shoreline
s. White sand beaches look white because the quartz or eroded
limestone Limestone is a common type of carbonate In chemistry, a carbonate is a salt Salt is a mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride (NaCl), a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of Salt (chemistry), salts; salt in its na ...

limestone
in the sand reflects or sunlight without absorbing other colors.


Sand colors

The composition of the sand varies depending on the local minerals and geology. Some of the types of sand found in beaches around the world are: * White sand: Mostly made of
quartz Quartz is a hard, crystalline mineral composed of silica (silicon dioxide). The atoms are linked in a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon-oxygen Tetrahedral molecular geometry, tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, ...

quartz
and
limestone Limestone is a common type of carbonate In chemistry, a carbonate is a salt Salt is a mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride (NaCl), a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of Salt (chemistry), salts; salt in its na ...

limestone
, it can also contain other minerals like
feldspar Feldspars are a group of rock-forming aluminium Aluminium (aluminum in and ) is a with the  Al and  13. Aluminium has a density lower than those of other common , at approximately one third that of . It has a great affinity ...
and
gypsum Gypsum is a soft sulfate mineral The sulfate minerals are a class of mineral In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with ...

gypsum
. * Light-colored sand: This sand gets its color from quartz and
iron Iron () is a chemical element In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behav ...

iron
, and is the most common sand color in
Southern Europe Southern Europe is the southern region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth a ...

Southern Europe
and other regions of the
Mediterranean Basin In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin (also known as the Mediterranean region or sometimes Mediterranea) is the region of lands around the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by ...
, such as
Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = Location of Tunisia in northern Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous , after in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11. ...

Tunisia
. * Tropical white sand: On tropical islands, the sand is composed of
calcium carbonate Calcium carbonate is a chemical compound A chemical compound is a chemical substance composed of many identical molecules (or molecular entity, molecular entities) composed of atoms from more than one chemical element, element held togethe ...

calcium carbonate
from the shells and skeletons of marine organisms, like
coral Corals are marine invertebrates Marine invertebrates are the invertebrates that live in marine habitats. Invertebrate is a blanket term that includes all animals apart from the vertebrate members of the chordate phylum. Invertebrates lack a ver ...

coral
s and
mollusks Mollusca is the second-largest phylum of invertebrate animals after the Arthropoda. The members are known as molluscs or mollusks (). Around 85,000 extant taxon, extant species of molluscs are recognized. The number of fossil species is es ...
, as found in
Aruba Aruba ( , , ) is an island and a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands , national_anthem = ) , image_map = Kingdom of the Netherlands (orthographic projection).svg , map_width = 250px , image_map2 = File:KonDerNed-10-1 ...

Aruba
. * Pink coral sand: Like the above, is composed of
calcium carbonate Calcium carbonate is a chemical compound A chemical compound is a chemical substance composed of many identical molecules (or molecular entity, molecular entities) composed of atoms from more than one chemical element, element held togethe ...

calcium carbonate
and gets its pink hue from fragments of coral, such as in
Bermuda ) , anthem = "God Save the Queen "God Save the Queen", alternatively "God Save the King" (dependent on the gender of the reigning monarch), is the or in most s, their territories, and the British . The author of the tune is unknown, ...

Bermuda
and the
Bahama Islands The Bahamas (), known officially as the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is a country within the Lucayan Archipelago of the West Indies The West Indies are a subregion of North America, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocea ...
. * Black sand: Black sand is composed of
volcanic rock Volcanic rock (often shortened to volcanics in scientific contexts) is a formed from erupted from a . In other words, it differs from other by being of origin. Like all rock types, the concept of volcanic rock is artificial, and in nature vo ...

volcanic rock
, like
basalt Basalt (, ) is a fine-grained extrusive A volcanic rock from Italy with a relatively large six-sided phenocryst (diameter about 1 mm) surrounded by a fine-grained groundmass, as seen in thin section under a petrographic microscope Extr ...

basalt
and
obsidian Obsidian (; ) is a naturally occurring volcanic glass formed when lava extrusive rock, extruded from a volcano cools rapidly with minimal crystal growth. It is an igneous rock. Obsidian is produced from felsic lava, rich in the lighter element ...

obsidian
, which give it its gray-black color.
Hawaii Hawaii ( ; haw, Hawaii or ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...

Hawaii
's Punaluu Beach,
Madeira Madeira ( , , ), officially the Autonomous Region of Madeira ( pt, Região Autónoma da Madeira), is one of the two autonomous Regions of Portugal, autonomous regions of Portugal, the other being the Azores. It is an archipelago situated in t ...

Madeira
's and
Fuerteventura Fuerteventura () is one of the Canary Islands The Canary Islands (; es, Islas Canarias, ), also known informally as ''the Canaries'', is a Spanish archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, in a region known as Macaronesia. At their closest point ...

Fuerteventura
's Ajuy beach are examples of this type of sand. * Red sand: This kind of sand is created by the oxidation of iron from volcanic rocks.
Santorini Santorini ( el, Σαντορίνη, ), officially Thira (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in S ...

Santorini
's Kokkini Beach or the beaches on
Prince Edward Island (''The small protected by the great'') , image_map = Prince Edward Island in Canada (special marker) 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = English English usually ref ...

Prince Edward Island
in Canada are examples of this kind of sand. * Orange sand: Orange sand is high on iron. It can also me a combination of orange limestone, crushed shells, and volcanic deposits. in
Gozo Gozo (, also ), known locallyIn mathematics, a mathematical object is said to satisfy a property locally, if the property is satisfied on some limited, immediate portions of the object (e.g., on some ''sufficiently small'' or ''arbitrarily small ...

Gozo
, Malta or Porto Ferro in
Sardinia Sardinia ( ; it, Sardegna ; sc, Sardigna or ) is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , ...

Sardinia
are examples of each, respectively. * Green sand: In this kind of sand, the mineral
olivine The mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occurs naturally in pure form.John P. R ...

olivine
has been separated from other volcanic fragments by erosive forces. A famous example is Hawaii's Papakolea Beach , which has sand containing basalt and coral fragments. Olivine beaches have high potential for
carbon sequestration Carbon sequestration or carbon dioxide removal File:Tree planting closeup.jpg, Planting trees is a means of carbon dioxide removal. Carbon dioxide removal (CDR), also known as greenhouse gas removal, is a process in which carbon dioxide g ...

carbon sequestration
, and artificial greensand beaches are being explored for this process by Project Vesta .


Erosion and accretion


Natural erosion and accretion


Causes

Beaches are changed in shape chiefly by the movement of water and wind. Any weather event that is associated with turbid or fast-flowing water or high winds will erode exposed beaches. Longshore currents will tend to replenish beach sediments and repair storm damage. Tidal waterways generally change the shape of their adjacent beaches by small degrees with every tidal cycle. Over time these changes can become substantial leading to significant changes in the size and location of the beach.


Effects on flora

Changes in the shape of the beach may undermine the roots of large trees and other flora. Many beach adapted species (such as coconut palms) have a fine root system and large root ball which tends to withstand wave and wind action and tends to stabilize beaches better than other trees with a lesser root ball.


Effects on adjacent land

Erosion of beaches can expose less resilient soils and rocks to wind and wave action leading to undermining of coastal headlands eventually resulting in catastrophic collapse of large quantities of overburden into the shallows. This material may be distributed along the beach front leading to a change in the habitat as sea grasses and corals in the shallows may be buried or deprived of light and nutrients.


Manmade erosion and accretion

Coastal areas settled by man inevitably become subject to the effects of man-made structures and processes. Over long periods of time, these influences may substantially alter the shape of the coastline, and the character of the beach.


Destruction of flora

Beachfront flora plays a major role in stabilizing the foredunes and preventing beach head erosion and inland movement of dunes. If flora with network root systems (creepers, grasses, and palms) are able to become established, they provide an effective coastal defense as they trap sand particles and rainwater and enrich the surface layer of the dunes, allowing other plant species to become established. They also protect the berm from erosion by high winds, freak waves and subsiding floodwaters. Over long periods of time, well-stabilized foreshore areas will tend to accrete, while unstabilized foreshores will tend to erode, leading to substantial changes in the shape of the coastline. These changes usually occur over periods of many years. Freak wave events such as tsunami, tidal waves, and storm surges may substantially alter the shape, profile and location of a beach within hours. Destruction of flora on the berm by the use of herbicides, excessive pedestrian or vehicle traffic, or disruption to freshwater flows may lead to erosion of the berm and dunes. While the destruction of flora may be a gradual process that is imperceptible to regular beach users, it often becomes immediately apparent after storms associated with high winds and freak wave events that can rapidly move large volumes of exposed and unstable sand, depositing them further inland, or carrying them out into the permanent water forming offshore bars, lagoons or increasing the area of the beach exposed at low tide. Large and rapid movements of exposed sand can bury and smother flora in adjacent areas, aggravating the loss of habitat for fauna, and enlarging the area of instability. If there is an adequate supply of sand, and weather conditions do not allow vegetation to recover and stabilize the sediment, wind-blown sand can continue to advance, engulfing and permanently altering downwind landscapes. Sediment moved by waves or receding floodwaters can be deposited in coastal shallows, engulfing reed beds and changing the character of underwater flora and fauna in the coastal shallows. Burning or clearance of vegetation on the land adjacent to the beach head, for farming and residential development, changes the surface wind patterns, and exposes the surface of the beach to wind erosion. Farming and residential development are also commonly associated with changes in local surface water flows. If these flows are concentrated in stormwater drains emptying onto the beach head, they may erode the beach creating a lagoon or delta. Dense vegetation tends to absorb rainfall reducing the speed of runoff and releasing it over longer periods of time. Destruction by burning or clearance of the natural vegetation tends to increase the speed and erosive power of runoff from rainfall. This runoff will tend to carry more silt and organic matter from the land onto the beach and into the sea. If the flow is constant, runoff from cleared land arriving at the beach head will tend to deposit this material into the sand changing its color, odor and fauna.


Creation of beach access points

The concentration of pedestrian and vehicular traffic accessing the beach for recreational purposes may cause increased erosion at the access points if measures are not taken to stabilize the beach surface above high-water mark. Recognition of the dangers of loss of beach front flora has caused many local authorities responsible for managing coastal areas to restrict beach access points by physical structures or legal sanctions, and fence off foredunes in an effort to protect the flora. These measures are often associated with the construction of structures at these access points to allow traffic to pass over or through the dunes without causing further damage.


Concentration of runoff

Beaches provide a filter for runoff from the coastal plain. If the runoff is naturally dispersed along the beach, water borne silt and organic matter will be retained on the land and will feed the flora in the coastal area. Runoff that is dispersed along the beach will tend to percolate through the beach and may emerge from the beach at low tide. The retention of the freshwater may also help to maintain underground water reserves and will resist salt water incursion. If the surface flow of the runoff is diverted and concentrated by drains that create constant flows over the beach above the sea or river level, the beach will be eroded and ultimately form an inlet unless longshore flows deposit sediments to repair the breach. Once eroded, an inlet may allow tidal inflows of salt water to pollute areas inland from the beach and may also affect the quality of underground water supplies and the height of the water table.


Deprivation of runoff

Some flora naturally occurring on the beach head requires freshwater runoff from the land. Diversion of freshwater runoff into drains may deprive these plants of their water supplies and allow sea water incursion, increasing the saltiness of the groundwater. Species that are not able to survive in salt water may die and be replaced by mangroves or other species adapted to salty environments.


Inappropriate beach nourishment

Beach nourishment is the importing and deposition of sand or other sediments in an effort to restore a beach that has been damaged by erosion. Beach nourishment often involves excavation of sediments from riverbeds or sand quarries. This excavated sediment may be substantially different in size and appearance to the naturally occurring beach sand. In extreme cases, beach nourishment may involve placement of large pebbles or rocks in an effort to permanently restore a shoreline subject to constant erosion and loss of foreshore. This is often required where the flow of new sediment caused by the longshore current has been disrupted by construction of harbors, breakwaters, causeways or boat ramps, creating new current flows that scour the sand from behind these structures and deprive the beach of restorative sediments. If the causes of the erosion are not addressed, beach nourishment can become a necessary and permanent feature of beach maintenance. During beach nourishment activities, care must be taken to place new sediments so that the new sediments compact and stabilize before aggressive wave or wind action can erode them. Material that is concentrated too far down the beach may form a temporary groyne that will encourage scouring behind it. Sediments that are too fine or too light may be eroded before they have compacted or been integrated into the established vegetation. Foreign unwashed sediments may introduce flora or fauna that are not usually found in that locality. Brighton Beach, on the south coast of England, is a shingle beach that has been nourished with very large pebbles in an effort to withstand the erosion of the upper area of the beach. These large pebbles made the beach unwelcoming for pedestrians for a period of time until natural processes integrated the naturally occurring shingle into the pebble base.


Use for recreation


History

Even in Roman times, wealthy people spent their free time on the coast. They also built large villa complexes with bathing facilities (so-called maritime villas) in particularly beautiful locations. Excavations of Roman architecture can still be found today, for example on the
Amalfi Coast The Amalfi Coast ( it, Costiera Amalfitana) is a stretch of coastline on the Tyrrhenian Sea The Tyrrhenian Sea (; it, Mar Tirreno , french: Mer Tyrrhénienne , sc, Mare Tirrenu, co, Mari Tirrenu, scn, Mari Tirrenu, nap, Mare Tirreno) is p ...
near Naples and in
Barcola Barcola is a maritime neighbourhood of Trieste, Italy. It is a popular tourist place with beaches and long promenade walkways, near to the Habsburg-established Miramare, Miramare Castle. Barcola is highly valued for the high quality of life and li ...
in Trieste. The development of the beach as a popular leisure resort from the mid-19th century was the first manifestation of what is now the global tourist industry. The first seaside resorts were opened in the 18th century for the aristocracy, who began to frequent the seaside as well as the then fashionable spa towns, for recreation and health. One of the earliest such seaside resorts, was Scarborough in
Yorkshire Yorkshire (; abbreviated Yorks), formally known as the County of York, is a historic county of Northern England Northern England, also known as the North of England or simply the North, is the most northern area of England England ...

Yorkshire
during the 1720s; it had been a fashionable spa town since a stream of acidic water was discovered running from one of the cliffs to the south of the town in the 17th century. The first rolling
bathing machine Bathing is the washing of the body with a liquid, usually water or an aqueous solution, or the immersion of the body in water. It may be practiced for personal hygiene, religious ritual or therapy, therapeutic purposes. By analogy, especially as a ...
s were introduced by 1735. The opening of the resort in
Brighton Brighton () is a constituent part of the city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd ...

Brighton
and its reception of from
King George IV George IV (George Augustus Frederick; 12 August 1762 – 26 June 1830) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of ...
, extended the seaside as a resort for health and pleasure to the much larger
London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...

London
market, and the beach became a centre for upper-class pleasure and frivolity. This trend was praised and artistically elevated by the new
romantic Romantic may refer to: Genres and eras * The Romantic era, an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement of the 18th and 19th centuries ** Romantic music, of that era ** Romantic poetry, of that era ** Romanticism in science, of that er ...
ideal of the picturesque landscape;
Jane Austen Jane Austen (; 16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist known primarily for her six major novels, which interpret, critique and comment upon the British landed gentry The landed gentry, or the ''gentry'', is a l ...

Jane Austen
's unfinished novel ''
Sanditon ''Sanditon'' (1817) is an unfinished work, unfinished novel by the English writer Jane Austen. In January 1817, Austen began work on a new novel she called ''The Brothers'', later titled ''Sanditon'', and completed eleven chapters before stopp ...
'' is an example of that. Later,
Queen Victoria Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of En ...

Queen Victoria
's long-standing patronage of the
Isle of Wight The Isle of Wight () is a Counties of England, county and the List of islands of England, largest and second-most populous island of England. It is in the English Channel, between two and five miles off the coast of Hampshire, from which it is ...

Isle of Wight
and
Ramsgate Ramsgate is a seaside resort, seaside town in the district of Thanet District, Thanet in east Kent, England. It was one of the great English seaside towns of the 19th century. In 2001 it had a population of about 40,000. In 2011, according to th ...
in
Kent Kent is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and Robert ...

Kent
ensured that a seaside residence was considered as a highly fashionable possession for those wealthy enough to afford more than one home.


Seaside resorts for the working class

The extension of this form of leisure to the middle and working classes began with the development of the
railway Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transferring passengers and goods on wheeled vehicle A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine that transports people or cargo. Vehicles include wagons, bicycles, motor veh ...

railway
s in the 1840s, which offered cheap fares to fast-growing resort towns. In particular, the completion of a
branch line A branch line is a secondary railway Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transferring passengers and goods on wheeled vehicle A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine that transports people or cargo. Veh ...
to the small seaside town of
Blackpool Blackpool is a large town and seaside resort on the north west coast of England. The town is on the Irish Sea, between the River Ribble, Ribble and River Wyre, Wyre estuaries, west of Preston, Lancashire, Preston, north of Liverpool, nort ...

Blackpool
from led to a sustained economic and demographic boom. A sudden influx of visitors, arriving by rail, led entrepreneurs to build accommodation and create new attractions, leading to more visitors and a rapid cycle of growth throughout the 1850s and 1860s. The growth was intensified by the practice among the Lancashire
cotton mill A cotton mill is a building that houses spinning Spin or spinning may refer to: Businesses * SPIN (cable system) SPIN (or South Pacific Island Network) was a submarine communications cable, submarine communications cable system that would c ...

cotton mill
owners of closing the factories for a week every year to service and repair machinery. These became known as
wakes week The Wakes Week is a holiday A holiday is a day set aside by custom Custom may refer to: Sense: Customary * Convention (norm), a set of agreed, stipulated or generally accepted rules, norms, standards or criteria, often taking the form of a cus ...
s. Each town's mills would close for a different week, allowing Blackpool to manage a steady and reliable stream of visitors over a prolonged period in the summer. A prominent feature of the resort was the
promenade An esplanade or promenade is a long, open, level area, usually next to a river or large body of water (Lysefjord) in Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ...

promenade
and the
pleasure pier , on the West Side of Manhattan Manhattan (), known regionally as the City and the urban core of the New York metropolitan area, is the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City New York City (NYC), often simply ca ...
s, where an eclectic variety of performances vied for the people's attention. In 1863, the in Blackpool was completed, rapidly becoming a centre of attraction for elite visitors. was completed in 1868, with a theatre and a large open-air dance floor.. Many of the popular beach resorts were equipped with
bathing machine Bathing is the washing of the body with a liquid, usually water or an aqueous solution, or the immersion of the body in water. It may be practiced for personal hygiene, religious ritual or therapy, therapeutic purposes. By analogy, especially as a ...
s, because even the all-covering
beachwear A swimsuit is an item of clothing designed to be worn by people engaging in a water-based activity or List of water sports, water sports, such as human swimming, swimming, Diving (sport), diving and surfing, or sun-orientated activities, such as ...
of the period was considered immodest. By the end of the century the English coastline had over 100 large resort towns, some with populations exceeding 50,000.


Expansion around the world

The development of the seaside resort abroad was stimulated by the well-developed English love of the beach. The
French Riviera The French Riviera (known in French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country prima ...

French Riviera
alongside the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...

Mediterranean
had already become a popular destination for the British upper class by the end of the 18th century. In 1864, the first railway to
Nice Nice ( , ; Niçard: , classical norm, or , nonstandard, ; it, Nizza ; grc, Νίκαια; la, Nicaea) is the Urban area (France)#List of France's aires urbaines (metropolitan areas), seventh most populous urban area in France and the prefectu ...

Nice
was completed, making the Riviera accessible to visitors from all over Europe. By 1874, residents of foreign enclaves in Nice, most of whom were British, numbered 25,000. The coastline became renowned for attracting the royalty of Europe, including
Queen Victoria Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of En ...

Queen Victoria
and
King Edward VII Edward VII (Albert Edward; 9 November 1841 – 6 May 1910) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland There have been 12 British monarchs There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union A political ...
. Continental European attitudes towards
gambling Gambling (also known as betting) is the wagering something of Value (economics), value ("the stakes") on an Event (probability theory), event with an uncertain outcome with the intent of winning something else of value. Gambling thus requires ...
and
nakedness Nudity is a state of being in which a human is not wearing clothing or specifically is not covering the genitals. Worldwide, social norms vary from banning nudity except in complete privacy to the acceptance of public nudity as a natural huma ...
tended to be more lax than in Britain, so British and French entrepreneurs were quick to exploit the possibilities. In 1863, Charles III, Prince of
Monaco Monaco (; ), officially the Principality of Monaco (french: Principauté de Monaco; Monégasque Ligurian: ''Prinçipatu de Mu̍negu''), is a sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The ...

Monaco
, and François Blanc, a French businessman, arranged for
steamship A steamship, often referred to as a steamer, is a type of steam-powered vessel Steam-powered vessels include steamboats and steamships. Smaller steamboats were developed first. They were replaced by larger steamships which were often ocean-going. ...

steamship
s and carriages to take visitors from Nice to Monaco, where large luxury hotels, gardens and casinos were built. The place was renamed
Monte Carlo Monte Carlo (; ; french: Monte-Carlo , or colloquially ''Monte-Carl'' ; lij, label= Monégasque, Munte Carlu; ) is officially an administrative area of the Principality of Monaco Monaco (; ), officially the Principality of Monaco (french: ...

Monte Carlo
. Commercial sea bathing spread to the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
and parts of the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
by the end of the 19th century. The first public beach in the United States was
Revere Beach Revere Beach is a public beach in Revere, Massachusetts, located about north of downtown Boston, Massachusetts, Boston. The beach is over long. In 1875, a rail link was constructed to the beach, leading to its increasing popularity as a summer ...
, which opened in 1896. During that same time,
Henry Flagler Henry Morrison Flagler (January 2, 1830 – May 20, 1913) was an American industrialist A business magnate is someone who has achieved great success and enormous wealth through the ownership of multiple lines of enterprise. The term chara ...
developed the
Florida East Coast Railway The Florida East Coast Railway is a operating in the state of , currently owned by . Built primarily in the last quarter of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century, the FEC was a project of principal . He originally visite ...
, which linked the coastal sea resorts developing at St. Augustine, FL and
Miami Beach Miami Beach is a coastal in , , . It was incorporated on March 26, 1915. The is located on natural and s between the and , the latter of which separates the Beach from the mainland city of . The of , comprising the southernmost of Miami ...

Miami Beach
, FL, to winter travelers from the northern
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
and
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...

Canada
on the
East Coast Railway The East Coast Railway (abbreviated ECoR) is one of the 18 railway zones of Indian Railways. It came into existence on 1 April 2003. The headquarters of the zone are at Bhubaneswar railway station, Bhubaneswar. History Consequent upon the par ...
. By the early 20th century surfing was developed in
Hawaii Hawaii ( ; haw, Hawaii or ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...

Hawaii
and
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
; it spread to
southern California Southern California (sometimes known as SoCal; es, Sur de California) is a geographic and cultural region that generally comprises the southern portion of the U.S. state of California California is a in the . With over 39.3million resi ...

southern California
by the early 1960s. By the 1970s cheap and affordable air travel led to the growth of a truly global tourism market which benefited areas such as the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...

Mediterranean
,
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
,
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital citie ...

South Africa
, and the coastal
Sun Belt The Sun Belt is a region of the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S ...
regions of the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
.


Today

Beaches can be popular on warm sunny days. In the
Victorian era In the history of the United Kingdom The history of the United Kingdom began in the early eighteenth century with the Treaty of Union A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international l ...
, many popular beach resorts were equipped with
bathing machine Bathing is the washing of the body with a liquid, usually water or an aqueous solution, or the immersion of the body in water. It may be practiced for personal hygiene, religious ritual or therapy, therapeutic purposes. By analogy, especially as a ...
s because even the all-covering
beachwear A swimsuit is an item of clothing designed to be worn by people engaging in a water-based activity or List of water sports, water sports, such as human swimming, swimming, Diving (sport), diving and surfing, or sun-orientated activities, such as ...
of the period was considered immodest. This social standard still prevails in many Muslim countries. At the other end of the spectrum are and
nude beach A nude beach, sometimes called a clothing-optional or free beach, is a beach where users are at liberty to be nude. Nude beaches usually have mixed bathing. Such beaches are usually on public lands, and any member of the public is allowed to ...

nude beach
es where clothing is optional or not allowed. In most countries social norms are significantly different on a beach in hot weather, compared to adjacent areas where similar behavior might not be tolerated and might even be prosecuted . In more than thirty countries in Europe, South Africa, New Zealand, Canada, Costa Rica, South America and the
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles ...
, the best recreational beaches are awarded Blue Flag status, based on such criteria as water quality and safety provision. Subsequent loss of this status can have a severe effect on tourism revenues. Beaches are often dumping grounds for
waste Waste (or wastes) are unwanted or unusable materials. Waste is any substance which is discarded after primary use, or is worthless, defective and of no use. A by-product A by-product or byproduct is a secondary product derived from a produ ...

waste
and litter, necessitating the use of
beach cleaner A sand cleaning machine, beach cleaner, or (colloquially) sandboni is a vehicle that drags a raking or sifting device over beach sand to remove rubbish and other foreign matter. They are manually self-pulled vehicles on tracks or wheels or pull ...

beach cleaner
s and other cleanup projects. More significantly, many beaches are a discharge zone for untreated sewage in most
underdeveloped countries 450px, Example of Older Classifications by the IMF and the United Nations, UN from 2008 A developing country is a country with a less developed industrial base and a low Human Development Index (HDI) relative to other countries. However, ...
; even in
developed countries A developed country (or industrialized country, high-income country, more economically developed country (MEDC), advanced country) is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one centralized governmen ...
beach closure is an occasional circumstance due to
sanitary sewer overflow Sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) is a condition in which untreated sewage Sewage, or domestic/municipal wastewater, is a type of wastewater that is produced by a community of people. It is characterized by volume Volume is the quantity of t ...
. In these cases of marine discharge, waterborne disease from
fecal Feces ( or faeces) is the solid or semisolid remains of food that was not digested in the small intestine The small intestine or small bowel is an organ in the gastrointestinal tract The gastrointestinal tract, (GI tract, GIT, digestive ...

fecal
pathogen In biology, a pathogen ( el, πάθος, "suffering", "passion" and , "producer of") in the oldest and broadest sense, is any organism that can produce disease. A pathogen may also be referred to as an infectious agent, or simply a Germ theory ...
s and contamination of certain marine species are a frequent outcome.


Artificial beaches

Some beaches are artificial; they are either permanent or temporary (For examples see
Monaco Monaco (; ), officially the Principality of Monaco (french: Principauté de Monaco; Monégasque Ligurian: ''Prinçipatu de Mu̍negu''), is a sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The ...

Monaco
,
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...

Paris
,
Copenhagen Copenhagen ( da, København ) is the capital and most populous city of Denmark. As of 1 January 2021, the city had a population of 799,033 (638,117 in Copenhagen Municipality, 103,677 in Frederiksberg Municipality, 42,670 in Tårnby Municipal ...

Copenhagen
,
Rotterdam Rotterdam ( , , ) is the second largest city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2n ...

Rotterdam
,
Nottingham Nottingham ( or locally ) is a city status in the United Kingdom, city and Unitary authorities of England, unitary authority area in Nottinghamshire, England. Part of the East Midlands region, it is north of London, south of Sheffield, north ...

Nottingham
,
Toronto Toronto (, ) is the capital city of the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian province of Ontario. With a recorded population of 2,731,571 in 2016 in 2016, it is the List of the largest municipalities in Canada by population, most p ...

Toronto
,
Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Pe ...
,
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...
, and
Tianjin Tianjin (; ; Mandarin: ), Postal Map Romanization, alternately romanized as Tientsin, is a Direct-administered municipalities of China, municipality and a coastal metropolis in North China, Northern China on the shore of the Bohai Sea. It is ...
). The soothing qualities of a beach and the pleasant environment offered to the beachgoer are replicated in artificial beaches, such as "beach style" pools with zero-depth entry and wave pools that recreate the natural waves pounding upon a beach. In a zero-depth entry pool, the bottom surface slopes gradually from above water down to depth. Another approach involves so-called
urban beach An urban beach (also city beach and sometimes beach club) is an artificially-created environment in an urban setting which simulates a public beachfront A shore or a shoreline is the fringe of land Land is the solid surface of the Ear ...
es, a form of public park becoming common in large cities. Urban beaches attempt to mimic natural beaches with fountains that imitate surf and mask city noises, and in some cases can be used as a play park.
Beach nourishment Beach nourishment (also referred to as beach renourishment, beach replenishment, or sand replenishment) describes a process by which sediment Sediment is a naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering Weat ...
involves pumping sand onto beaches to improve their health. Beach nourishment is common for major beach cities around the world; however the beaches that have been nourished can still appear quite natural and often many visitors are unaware of the works undertaken to support the health of the beach. Such beaches are often not recognized by consumers as artificial. A famous example of beach nourishment came with the replenishment of Waikīkī Beach in
Honolulu Honolulu (; ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lo ...

Honolulu
,
Hawaii Hawaii ( ; haw, Hawaii or ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...

Hawaii
, where sand from
Manhattan BeachManhattan Beach may refer to: Places In the United States: * Manhattan Beach, California * Manhattan Beach (Denver), Colorado, first amusement park built west of the Mississippi River (1881) that burnt down in 1908 and was rebuilt as Luna Park * Man ...
,
California California is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

California
was transported via ship and barge throughout most of the 20th century in order to combat Waikiki's erosion problems. The Surfrider Foundation has debated the merits of
artificial reef An artificial reef is a human-created underwater structure, typically built to promote marine life Marine life, sea life, or ocean life is the plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by p ...
s with members torn between their desire to support natural coastal environments and opportunities to enhance the quality of surfing waves. Similar debates surround
beach nourishment Beach nourishment (also referred to as beach renourishment, beach replenishment, or sand replenishment) describes a process by which sediment Sediment is a naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering Weat ...
and
snow cannon Image:SuperCrystal@Camelback.jpg, Snow production at Camelback Ski Area, United States. Snowmaking is the production of snow by forcing water and pressurized air through a "snow gun," also known as a "snow cannon." Snowmaking is mainly used at ski ...

snow cannon
in sensitive environments.


Restrictions on access

Public access to beaches is restricted in some parts of the world. For example, most beaches on the
Jersey Shore The Jersey Shore (known by locals as The Shore) is the coastal region of the U.S. state In the , a state is a , of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a , each state holds al jurisdiction over a separate and defined geograp ...
are restricted to people who can purchase beach tags.Amodio, Aimee
What are Beach Tags
''visitnjshore.com''.
Some beaches also restrict dogs for some periods of the year.


Private beaches

Also, private beaches such as those along the shores, may belong to the neighborhood association nearby. Signs are usually posted the entrance. A permit or special use occasion event may be granted upon executing the proper channels to legally obtain one. In some places, such as Florida, it is not always clear which parts of a beach are public or private.


Public beaches

The first public beach in the United States opened on 12 July 1896, in the town of
Revere, Massachusetts Revere is a city in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States, located approximately from Downtown Crossing, downtown Boston. Founded as North Chelsea in 1846, it was renamed in 1871 after the American Revolutionary War Patriot (American R ...
, with over 45,000 people attending on the opening day. The beach was run bay the Metropolitan Parks Commission and the new beach had a bandstand, public bathhouses, shade pavilions, and lined by a broad boulevard that ran along the beach. Public access to beaches is protected by law in the U.S. State of Oregon, thanks to a 1967 state law, the Oregon Beach Bill, which guaranteed public access from the Columbia River to the California state line, "so that the public may have the free and uninterrupted use".


Access design

Beach access is an important consideration where substantial numbers of pedestrians or vehicles require access to the beach. Allowing random access across delicate foredunes is seldom considered good practice as it is likely to lead to destruction of flora and consequent erosion of the fore dunes. A well-designed beach access should: * provide a durable surface able to withstand the traffic flow; * aesthetically complement the surrounding structures and natural landforms; * be located in an area that is convenient for users and consistent with safe traffic flows; * be scaled to match the traffic flow (i.e. wide and strong enough to safely carry the size and quantity of pedestrians and vehicles intended to use it); * be maintained appropriately; and * be signed and lit to discourage beach users from creating their own alternative crossings that may be more destructive to the beachhead.


Concrete ramp or steps

A concrete ramp should follow the natural profile of the beach to prevent it from changing the normal flow of waves, longshore currents, water and wind. A ramp that is below the beach profile will tend to become buried and cease to provide a good surface for vehicular traffic. A ramp or stair that protrudes above the beach profile will tend to disrupt longshore currents creating deposits in front of the ramp, and scouring behind. Concrete ramps are the most expensive vehicular beach accesses to construct requiring use of a quick-drying concrete or a cofferdam to protect them from tidal water during the concrete curing process. Concrete is favored where traffic flows are heavy and access is required by vehicles that are not adapted to soft sand (e.g. road registered passenger vehicles and boat trailers). Concrete stairs are commonly favored on beaches adjacent to population centers where beach users may arrive on the beach in street shoes, or where the foreshore roadway is substantially higher than the beach head and a ramp would be too steep for safe use by pedestrians. A composite stair ramp may incorporate a central or side stair with one or more ramps allowing pedestrians to lead buggies or small boat dollies onto the beach without the aid of a powered vehicle or winch. Concrete ramps and steps should be maintained to prevent a buildup of moss or algae that may make their wet surfaces slippery and dangerous to pedestrians and vehicles.


Corduroy (beach ladder)

A corduroy or beach ladder (or board and chain) is an array of planks (usually hardwood or treated timber) laid close together and perpendicular to the direction of traffic flow, and secured at each end by a chain or cable to form a pathway or ramp over the sand dune. Corduroys are cheap and easy to construct and quick to deploy or relocate. They are commonly used for pedestrian access paths and light duty vehicular access ways. They naturally conform to the shape of the underlying beach or dune profile, and adjust well to moderate erosion, especially longshore drift. However, they can cease to be an effective access surface if they become buried or undermined by erosion by surface runoff coming from the beach head. If the corduroy is not wide enough for vehicles using it, the sediment on either side may be displaced creating a spoon drain that accelerates surface runoff and can quickly lead to serious erosion. Significant erosion of the sediment beside and under the corduroy can render it completely ineffective and make it dangerous to pedestrian users who may fall between the planks.


Fabric ramp

Fabric ramps are commonly employed by the military for temporary purposes where the underlying sediment is stable and hard enough to support the weight of the traffic. A sheet of porous fabric is laid over the sand to stabilize the surface and prevent vehicles from bogging. Fabric Ramps usually cease to be useful after one tidal cycle as they are easily washed away, or buried in sediment.


Foliage ramp

A foliage ramp is formed by planting resilient species of hardy plants such as grasses over a well-formed sediment ramp. The plants may be supported while they become established by placement of layers of mesh, netting, or coarse organic material such as vines or branches. This type of ramp is ideally suited for intermittent use by vehicles with a low wheel loading such as dune buggies or agricultural vehicles with large tyres. A foliage ramp should require minimal maintenance if initially formed to follow the beach profile, and not overused.


Gravel ramp

A gravel ramp is formed by excavating the underlying loose sediment and filling the excavation with layers of gravel of graduated sizes as defined by
John Loudon McAdam John Loudon McAdam (23 September 1756https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XY88-68G – 26 November 1836) was a Scottish civil engineer and road-builder. He was the inventor of "macadam Macadam is a type of road construction, pio ...

John Loudon McAdam
. The gravel is compacted to form a solid surface according to the needs of the traffic. Gravel ramps are less expensive to construct than concrete ramps and are able to carry heavy road traffic provided the excavation is deep enough to reach solid subsoil. Gravel ramps are subject to erosion by water. If the edges are retained with boards or walls and the profile matches the surrounding beach profile, a gravel ramp may become more stable as finer sediments are deposited by percolating water.


Longest beaches

Amongst the world's longest beaches are: * Eighty Mile Beach () in north-west Australia; *
Praia do Cassino Praia do Cassino (Portuguese language, Portuguese for ''Casino Beach'') is the longest sea beach in the world and is located in the southernmost of the Brazilian coast (), on the South Atlantic Ocean, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. It is th ...

Praia do Cassino
() in Brazil; *
Padre Island Padre Island is the largest of the Texas barrier islands and the world's longest barrier island. The island is located along Texas's southern coast of the Gulf of Mexico and is noted for its white sandy beaches. Meaning ''father'' in Spanish langua ...
beach (about ) in Gulf of Mexico, Texas. *
Ninety Mile Beach, Victoria The Ninety Mile Beach is a sandy stretch of beach on the south-eastern coastline of the East Gippsland region of Victoria, Australia, Victoria in Australia. The beach faces Bass Strait and backs the Gippsland Lakes. The beach is just over in le ...
() in Victoria, Australia; * ( unbroken); * Playa Novillera beach (about ) in Mexico. * Ninety Mile Beach, New Zealand, 90 Mile Beach in New Zealand (); * Fraser Island beach (about ) in Queensland, Australia; * Troia-Sines Beach () in Portugal; * the Jersey Shore, 204 km/127 miles; and * Long Beach, Washington (which is about ).


Wildlife

A beach is an unstable environment that exposes plants and animals to changeable and potentially harsh conditions. Some animals burrow into the sand and feed on material deposited by the waves. Crabs, insects and shorebirds feed on these beach dwellers. The endangered piping plover and some tern species rely on beaches for nesting. Sea turtles also bury their eggs in ocean beaches. Seagrasses and other beach plants grow on undisturbed areas of the beach and dunes. Ocean beaches are habitats with organisms adapted to salt spray, tidal overwash, and shifting sands. Some of these organisms are found only on beaches. Examples of these beach organisms in the southeast US include plants like sea oats, sea rocket, beach elder, beach morning glory (''Ipomoea pes-caprae''), and beach peanut, and animals such as mole crabs (''Hippoidea''), coquina clams (''Donax (bivalve), Donax''), ghost crabs, and white beach tiger beetles.


See also

* Beach advisory * Beach cleaner * Beach evolution * Coast * List of beaches * Sand art and play * Shore * Strand plain * Urban beach * Beach polo * Beach ball


References


Further reading

* Bascom, W. 1980. ''Waves and Beaches''. Anchor Press/Doubleday, Garden City, New York. 366 p. *


External links


Coping with beach erosion
– UNESCO {{Authority control Beaches, Coastal and oceanic landforms Oceanographical terminology Erosion landforms Tourist attractions