sandbarsandbanksand bar
In some cases, shoals may be precursors to beach expansion and dunes formation, providing a source of windblown sediment to augment such beach or dunes landforms. Since prehistoric times humans have chosen some shoals as a site of habitation. In some early cases the locations provided easy access to exploit marine resources. In modern times these sites are sometimes chosen for the water amenity or view, but many such locations are prone to storm damage. hu:Turzás Marine lagoons. Brackish water estuaries.

Marine habitats

marinemarine habitatseabed topography
By contrast, sand is easily shifted by waves and currents, and when sand dries out it can be blown in the wind, accumulating into shifting sand dunes. Beyond the high tide mark, if the beach is low-lying, the wind can form rolling hills of sand dunes. Small dunes shift and reshape under the influence of the wind while larger dunes stabilise the sand with vegetation. Ocean processes grade loose sediments to particle sizes other than sand, such as gravel or cobbles. Waves breaking on a beach can leave a berm, which is a raised ridge of coarser pebbles or sand, at the high tide mark. Shingle beaches are made of particles larger than sand, such as cobbles, or small stones.

List of beaches

BeachesBeaches in the United StatesBeaches of Jamaica
Beach evolution. Coast. Coastal geography. List of environment topics. List of seaside resorts. List of tourist attractions worldwide. Nude beach. Shore. Urban beach.


maritimemarineopen sea
An even longer trench runs alongside the coast of Peru and Chile, reaching a depth of 8,065 m and extending for approximately 5900 km. It occurs where the oceanic Nazca Plate slides under the continental South American Plate and is associated with the upthrust and volcanic activity of the Andes. The zone where land meets sea is known as the coast and the part between the lowest spring tides and the upper limit reached by splashing waves is the shore. A beach is the accumulation of sand or shingle on the shore. A headland is a point of land jutting out into the sea and a larger promontory is known as a cape.


landlandformsphysical features
Biological factors can also influence landforms— for example, note the role of vegetation in the development of dune systems and salt marshes, and the work of corals and algae in the formation of coral reefs. Landforms do not include man-made features, such as canals, ports and many harbors; and geographic features, such as deserts, forests, and grasslands. Many of the terms are not restricted to refer to features of the planet Earth, and can be used to describe surface features of other planets and similar objects in the Universe. Examples are mountains, hills, polar caps, and valleys, which are found on all of the terrestrial planets.


The material ends up as shingle and sand. Another significant source of erosion, particularly on carbonate coastlines, is boring, scraping and grinding of organisms, a process termed bioerosion. Sediment is transported along the coast in the direction of the prevailing current (longshore drift). When the upcurrent amount of sediment is less than the amount being carried away, erosion occurs. When the upcurrent amount of sediment is greater, sand or gravel banks will tend to form as a result of deposition. These banks may slowly migrate along the coast in the direction of the longshore drift, alternately protecting and exposing parts of the coastline.

Saltation (geology)

saltationsaltatingsaltation layer
The Physics of Blown Sand and Desert Dunes. Dune sand saltation video, Kansas State University. Close up of dune sand saltation, Kansas State University. The Bibliography of Aeolian Research.

Flat coast

beach bermsbermsalluvial
At a flat coast or flat shoreline, the land descends gradually into the sea. Flat coasts can be formed either as a result of the sea advancing into gently-sloping terrain or through the abrasion of loose rock. They may be basically divided into two parallel strips: the shoreface and the beach. Flat coasts consist of loose material such as sand and gravel. Wind transports finer grains of sand inland over the dunes. The sea washes pebbles and sand away from the coast and dumps it at other locations. The typical sequence of landforms created by the sea is described as a "littoral series".

Coastal development hazards

Coastal development
Using the capitalised annual cost of the project, for every $1 that has been invested annually on the nourishment, Miami Beach has received almost $500 annually in foreign exchange. ru:Закрепление песков Human impacts on coasts. Sea level rise. Erosion. Global population. Natural hazard. Sand dunes. Dune restoration. Coastal sediment supply. Hard engineering. Soft engineering. Coastal management. ICZM. Beach nourishment.


Littoral sands (e.g. beach sands, runoff river sands, coastal bars and spits, largely clastic with little faunal content). The continental shelf (silty clays, increasing marine faunal content). The shelf margin (low terrigenous supply, mostly calcareous faunal skeletons). The shelf slope (much more fine-grained silts and clays). Beds of estuaries with the resultant deposits called "bay mud".

Sediment transport

transporttransportedtransport sediment
In typical rivers the largest carried sediment is of sand and gravel size, but larger floods can carry cobbles and even boulders. Fluvial sediment transport can result in the formation of ripples and dunes, in fractal-shaped patterns of erosion, in complex patterns of natural river systems, and in the development of floodplains. Coastal sediment transport takes place in near-shore environments due to the motions of waves and currents. At the mouths of rivers, coastal sediment and fluvial sediment transport processes mesh to create river deltas. Coastal sediment transport results in the formation of characteristic coastal landforms such as beaches, barrier islands, and capes.

Lower Saxon Wadden Sea National Park

Lower SaxonyWadden SeaWattenmeer
Seals may also be observed on the sandbanks of the Wadden Sea and the adjacent salt marshes, sandy beaches and sand dunes. The salt marshes are a breeding area for the pied avocet and terns as well as a habitat for the sea holly and sea lavender that bloom in summer. The typical plant of the dunes is the beachgrass, which anchors the dunes with its extensive root system. Since the Ramsar Convention of 1971, the present-day national park regions and the Dollart Bay have been protected as "wetlands of international importance".

The Bruun Rule

Bruun Rule
L is the horizontal length of the bottom affected by the sea level rise (from the dune peak to depth of closure), in metres. h is the depth of closure (the water depth beyond which significant sediment transport does not occur ), in metres. B is the dune height above sea level, in metres. β is the average slope of the active profile. Coastal erosion. Coastal management. Coastal geography. Sediment transport. Longshore drift. Sea level rise.

Heavy mineral sands ore deposits

mineral sandsheavy mineral sandsheavy minerals
Also, sand bars developed at the mouths of rivers which feed the placer deposits are rich trap sites where the winnowing action of the waves are most efficient, because heavy minerals, if they are going to be too heavy to be moved, will deposit at an isthmus in preference to drifting too far down the beach. The coast of Namibia is host to economic diamantiferous beach sands, which are exploited by building sea walls and isolating stretches of coastline. The beaches are so isolated that they are sometimes processed in their entirety, down to the bedrock, in search of diamonds.

Stout whiting

S. robusta
In contrast, the eastern population do use inshore nursery areas for the juveniles including bays and surf beaches, with this difference between populations attributed to increased competition between sillaginids by some authors. In both populations, spawning occurs over summer, with the fish spawning multiple times between December and March. Stout whiting are fast growers in comparison to most other smelt-whitings, reaching 80% of its final length after 2 years of life. The species is known to reach a maximum age of 7 years, although most individuals do not survive more than 3 years.

Strand plain

West coast of Namibia. South-east and south-west coasts of Australia, and in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Letea and Caraorman, Danube Delta, Romania. Beach. Beach evolution. Coast. River delta. Shore.


sandstonesred sandstoneGodulian sandstone
Sandstone shapes 'forged by gravity' (July 2014), BBC Terrestrial environments. 1) Rivers (levees, point bars, channel sands). 2) Alluvial fans. 3) Glacial outwash. 4) Lakes. 5) Deserts (sand dunes and ergs). Marine environments. 1) Deltas. 2) Beach and shoreface sands. 3) Tidal flats. 4) Offshore bars and sand waves. 5) Storm deposits (tempestites). 6) Turbidites (submarine channels and fans). Quartz framework grains are the dominant minerals in most clastic sedimentary rocks; this is because they have exceptional physical properties, such as hardness and chemical stability.


Gravel mininggravel yardaggregates
In Breton, "grav" means coast. Adding the "-el" suffix in Breton denotes the component parts of something larger. Thus "gravel" means the small stones which make up such a beach on the coast. Many dictionaries ignore the Breton language, citing Old French gravele or gravelle. Gravel often has the meaning a mixture of different size pieces of stone mixed with sand and possibly some clay. In American English, rocks broken into small pieces by a crusher are known as crushed stone. Types of gravel include: In locales where gravelly soil is predominant, plant life is generally more sparse.

Beach nourishment

beach replenishmentsand replenishmentbeach renourishment
Some beaches do not have enough sand available to coastal processes to respond naturally to storms. When not enough sand is available, the beach cannot recover following storms. Many areas of high erosion are due to human activities. Reasons can include: seawalls locking up sand dunes, coastal structures like ports and harbors that prevent longshore transport, dams and other river management structures. Continuous, long-term renourishment efforts, especially in cuspate-cape coastlines, can play a role in longshore transport inhibition and downdrift erosion.

Ammophila (plant)

marram grassAmmophilabeach grass
In the semi-fixed dunes (community SD7), where the quantity of blown sand is declining Ammophila becomes less competitive, and other species, notably Festuca rubra (red fescue) become prominent. The ability of marram grass to grow on and bind sand makes it a useful plant in the stabilization of coastal dunes and artificial defences on sandy coasts. The usefulness was recognized in the late 18th century. On the North Sea coast of Jutland, Denmark, marram grass was traditionally much used for fuel, thatch, cattle fodder (after frost) etc. The use led to sand drift and loss of arable land.

Erg (landform)

ergergsSand Sea
In South America, ergs are limited by the Andes Mountains, but they do contain extremely large dunes in coastal Peru and northwestern Argentina. They are also found in several parts of the northeast coast of Brazil. The only active erg in North America is in the Gran Desierto de Altar (31.95°N, -114.14°W) that extends from the Sonoran Desert in the northwestern Mexican state of Sonora to the Yuma Desert of Arizona and the Algodones Dunes of southeastern California. An erg that has been fixed by vegetation forms the Nebraska Sandhills (42.13°N, -102.19°W).

Sand dune stabilization

sand dune plantssand dune fixationstabilize
Figure five shows a photo of a panel put up at Spencer Park by the Christchurch City Council indicating that people should not walk on the area, as it is an area for sand dune restoration. It needs to be re-iterated that sand dune restoration and protection is in the public’s best interest as the loss of sediment on any coast line leads to the erosion of beaches, which in turn leads to a loss of recreational value of many coastlines.


coralscoral headsAnthozoa
Coastlines protected by coral reefs are also more stable in terms of erosion than those without. Coastal communities near coral reefs rely heavily on them. Worldwide, more than 500 million people depend on coral reefs for food, income, coastal protection, and more. The total economic value of coral reef services in the United States - including fisheries, tourism, and coastal protection - is more than $3.4 billion a year. Annual growth bands in some corals, such as the deep sea bamboo corals (Isididae), may be among the first signs of the effects of ocean acidification on marine life.

Graded shoreline

Coastal development processes
A graded shoreline is a stage in the cycle of coastal development characterised by a flat and straight coastline. It is formed under the influence of wind and water from the original bays, islands, peninsulas and promontories. Sand and gravel is carried away and dumped at other locations depending on the direction and strength of sea currents. Typical of graded shorelines are the formation of dunes, wide sandy beaches and sometimes a lagoon or a spit. Where two graded shorelines meet, a headland may form with a sandy reef in the sea beyond it. Parallel to the graded shoreline sandbanks may form as a result of sediments transported away from the shore.

Curonian Spit

Kurische Nehrung
The northern shoreline of Curonian Spit is the site of beaches for tourists. Parnidis sand dune drifted by harsh winds is rising up to 52 meters above sea level. The interpretation of the name of Parnidis dune – local residents believe that the name comes from the phrase meaning “passed across Nida”, because this wind-blown dune has several times passed through the village of Nida. Scientists estimated that each person climbing or descending on the steep dune slopes moves several tons of sand, so hikers are only allowed to climb in designated paths. There is a granite sundial, built on Parnidis dune accurately showing the time. The sundial is a 13.8 m high stone pillar weighing 36 tons.