السبت، 17 ديسمبر، 2011

Beach formation

Beaches are the result of wave action by which waves or currents move sand or other loose sediments of which the beach is made as these particles are held in suspension. Alternatively, sand may be moved by saltation (a bouncing movement of large particles). Beach materials come from erosion of rocks offshore, as well as from headland erosion and slumping producing deposits of scree. Some of the whitest sand in the world, along Florida's Emerald Coast, comes from the erosion of quartz in the Appalachian Mountains. A coral reef offshore is a significant source of sand particles.

The shape of a beach depends on whether or not the waves are constructive or destructive, and whether the material is sand or shingle. Constructive waves move material up the beach while destructive waves move the material down the beach. On sandy beaches, the backwash of the waves removes material forming a gently sloping beach. On shingle beaches the swash is dissipated because the large particle size allows percolation, so the backwash is not very powerful, and the beach remains steep. 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 shorelines.

There are several beaches which are claimed to be the "World's longest", including Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh (120 km unbroken), Praia do Cassino, Fraser Island beach, 90 Mile Beach in Australia (151 km) and 90 Mile Beach in New Zealand (88 km), Troia-Sines Beach (63 km) in Portugal and Long Beach, Washington (which is about 40 km).

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