Beach Sand Types
There are basically three types of beach. The first happens as a flat sedimentary strip bordering an unbroken ocean bottom; the next is the outer edge of a coastal plain of fluvial or marine accumulation (shore). These structures are usually dissected by some seasonal tide inlets and sometimes are separated by lagoons. The third type is more specialized and is a series of rocks that are laid down with the erosion of the sea floor.
Coastal Plain The coastal plain is created by the continuous erosion of the flat bed of the sea floor. The coastal plain is also known as “oceanic bed”. The land on this coastal plain is typically flat or level, but it is usually tectonically unstable and therefore has to be excavated by the lander.
The shoreline of the coastal plain is usually unbroken but can be irregular with some areas being deeper than others. Usually there is not much in the way of vegetation between the sea floor and the shore. The vegetation of the coastal plain is usually confined to the coastal plain itself with some areas becoming submerged under water during high tides. The vegetation of the coastal plain is normally dominated by hardy plants such as cacti and algae which thrive on the salty soil and provide a vital food source for fish.
The main problem with the coastal plain is that they are usually so small that the beach sand can become too thin to prevent erosion. Therefore, the beach sand cannot be used by any of the beach sanding machines available to remove the sand, as these sanding machines are unable to penetrate the thin bed of the sea floor.
The coral reefs around the coastal plain act as barriers to protect it from natural disturbances and provide a home to marine wildlife. The barrier reefs are particularly important in protecting areas of high tourist value.
The third type is known as a barrier reef that is formed from large masses of coral that lie on the surface of the ocean or on the shores of the coastal plain. The thickness of these reefs can range from a few meters to a few kilometers.
In order to remove the beach sand, the beach sanding machines available are not able to penetrate the reef layer. This means that if the sand is dredged by a beach sanding machine it can actually damage the reef layers and thus reduce their ability to protect against natural disturbances.
So, the barrier reef is a valuable asset to any beach. It helps to provide shelter from natural disturbances and provides habitat for many marine wildlife; however it is also useful in helping to protect the beach sand bed.
Sand is an essential part of our lives and is essential to all forms of living, including humans. So it is only right that beaches should be protected by barriers that can resist the natural forces of erosion.