Beach

Beach

[beech]
Beach, Mrs. H. H. A., 1867-1944, American composer and pianist, b. Henniker, N.H., as Amy Marcy Cheney. A child prodigy, she received rather meagre training as a pianist in the United States, and toured there and in Europe. In composition she was largely self-taught. Her Gaelic Symphony (1896) was the first symphony by an American woman. She composed more than 150 works, including a piano concerto, chamber music, choral pieces, and well-known songs such as "Ah, Love but a Day" and "The Year's at the Spring." Her music is in the romantic style of the 19th cent.

See Amy Beach by A. F. Block (1999).

Beach, Moses Yale, 1800-1868, American journalist, b. Wallingford, Conn. As a young man he invented a rag-cutting machine and a gunpowder engine. In 1838 he bought the New York Sun from his brother-in-law, Benjamin Henry Day, for whom he had been working as production manager. The Sun's chief competitor in the penny-paper field was the New York Herald, edited by James Gordon Bennett. The two rival papers used ingenious means to get news fast—the Sun even kept carrier pigeons in a special house atop its building. Costs, especially during the Mexican War, mounted so much that at a conference in Beach's office the editors of a number of New York newspapers established the New York Associated Press to cooperate in securing the news. Beach is credited with the first European edition of an American paper, the weekly American Sun (1848), and with starting the newspaper syndicated article. In 1848 he turned the New York Sun over to his sons, Moses Sperry Beach and Alfred E. Beach.

See F. M. O'Brien, The Story of the Sun (1928, repr. 1968).

beach, a gently sloping zone where deposits of unconsolidated sediments are subject to wave action at the shore of an ocean or lake. Most of the sediment making up a beach is supplied by rivers or by the erosion of highlands adjacent to the coast.

Beaches extend from a low waterline landward to a definite change in material or physiographic form, such as the presence of a cliff or dune complex marking a clear demarcation of the edge of a coast. The surf zone is the area between the landward limit of the waves and where the farthest seaward wave breaks. The foreshore, the active portion of the beach, is a seaward-sloping surface extending from the low tide limit of the beach to the crest of a ridge, called the berm, formed by storm waves. Water motion landward and seaward across the foreshore is called swash and backwash, respectively. The foreshore's slope angle is related to the size of the beach material and the vigor of the waves. The backshore extends landward from the berm as a broad terrace or gently landward-sloping surface, often broken by one or more beach ridges. Seaward of the surf zone is the offshore zone, which commonly contains a trough and an offshore bar where the waves begin to break before reforming and dispensing their energy on the beach. Along low sandy coasts, such as the Eastern coast of the United States, a long, narrow beach, called a barrier beach, is commonly separated from the coast by a narrow lagoon. Where a beach extends from land and terminates in open water it is called a spit or a hook.

Beaches undergo a cyclical migration of sand between the beach and the offshore zone caused by seasonal changes in the supply of sedimentary material and by the changes in intensity and direction of the approaching waves. The action of tides causes daily cycles of cut and fill. Waves approaching the shore obliquely move the sediment along the beach in a zigzag pattern called longshore transport. Since beaches are mobile deposits, they owe their existence to a constant replenishment of sand. In many coastal areas a deficiency in the supply of sand from human intervention or the natural changes in the coastal environment results in serious erosion problems. Artificial replenishment by pumping sand onto the beach from offshore or halting the moving sand from longshore drift by building breakwaters are two solutions to erosional problems.

See W. Bascom, Waves and Beaches: The Dynamics of the Ocean Surface, (1980).

or beach flea

Hopping terrestrial crustacean (family Talitridae). The European sand flea (Talitrus saltator) is about 0.6 in. (1.5 cm) long. The long-horned sand flea (T. longicornis), found on the North American Atlantic coast, has antennae the same length as the waxy white body, up to 1 in. (2.5 cm) long. During the day, sand fleas lie buried near the high-tide mark; at night, they forage for organic debris. The common sand flea (Orchestia agilis, or platensis) lives along Atlantic coasts of Europe and the Americas.

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Sediments that accumulate along sea or lake shores. One type of beach occurs as a sediment strip bordering a rocky or cliffy coast. A second type is the outer margin of a marine plain. The third type consists of narrow sediment barriers stretching for dozens or even hundreds of miles parallel to the general direction of the coast. These barriers separate lagoons from the open sea and generally are dissected by tidal inlets. Certain sediment forelands, such as spits, points, and tombolos (which connect an island with a mainland), occasionally are called beaches.

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City (pop., 2000: 425,257), southeastern Virginia. It is situated on the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay. Founded in 1887, it developed as a resort after a railroad was built linking it with Norfolk. After World War I it became an important base in the national coastal defense system. In 1963 it and the former Princess Anne county merged to become the City of Virginia Beach. Its economy is based on tourism and military installations. Cape Henry Memorial is in the city and the Cape Henry Lighthouse (1791) is nearby.

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U.S. rock group. The band was formed in California in 1961 by brothers Brian Wilson (b. 1942) on keyboards and bass, Dennis Wilson (1944–83) on drums, and Carl Wilson (1946–98) on guitar; their cousin Mike Love (b. 1941) on drums; and Alan Jardine (b. 1942) on guitar. Within a year they launched a string of surfing-oriented hits marked by close vocal harmony, including “Surfin' Safari” and “California Girls.” By 1966 they had released more than 10 albums, including Pet Sounds (1966), considered their best. Despite Brian Wilson's reclusiveness due to stress- and drug-related breakdowns, the band continued to make recordings into the 1980s and toured into the 1990s.

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City (pop., 2000: 87,933), southeastern Florida, U.S. It is situated on an island across Biscayne Bay from Miami. Until 1912 the site was a mangrove swamp. John S. Collins and Carl F. Fisher pioneered real estate development and built a bridge across the bay; the area was dredged to form an island measuring 7.4 sq mi (19 sq km), with an 8-mi (13-km) beach. The city, incorporated in 1915, is now a luxury resort and convention centre. It is connected with Miami by several causeways and is noted for its Art Deco architecture.

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City (pop., 2000: 461,522), southwestern California, U.S. The site was originally an Indian trading camp, and Spanish ranches were located there in the 18th century. Laid out as Willmore City in 1880 and incorporated in 1888, it was renamed for its 8.5-mi (13.5-km) beach. The discovery of oil nearby in 1921 led to rapid growth. An earthquake in 1933 caused extensive damage. It is connected to the Los Angeles harbour by the Cerritos Channel. The British ocean liner Queen Mary has been moored in the harbour since 1969.

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City (pop., 2000: 189,594), southwestern California, U.S. Located on the Pacific coast, it was first called Shell Beach and after its subdivision (1901) was known as Pacific City. To encourage its promotion as a seaside resort, it was renamed Huntington Beach for the railroad magnate Henry E. Huntington. Its major economic assets are oil wells and refineries.

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Coastal city (pop., 2000: 64,112), northeastern Florida, U.S. Located south of Jacksonville, it was founded by Mathias Day in 1870 and incorporated in 1876. In 1926 the cities of Seabreeze, Daytona, and Daytona Beach were incorporated as Daytona Beach. The Ormond-Daytona beach of hard, white sand has been used for automobile speed trials since 1903. The city is known for the Daytona International Speedway.

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orig. Amy Marcy Cheney known as Mrs. H.H.A. Beach

(born Sept. 5, 1867, Henniker, N.H., U.S.—died Dec. 27, 1944, New York, N.Y.) U.S. composer and pianist. A precociously brilliant musician, she performed as soloist with major orchestras in the U.S. and Europe. As a composer she was devoted to German Romanticism rather than American themes or sources. Her best-loved works were her songs. Her Gaelic Symphony (1894) was the first symphony by an American woman. Other works include a piano concerto (1899), the choral pieces The Chambered Nautilus (1907) and Canticle of the Sun (1928), the opera Cabildo (1932), and a piano quintet (1907).

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orig. Amy Marcy Cheney known as Mrs. H.H.A. Beach

(born Sept. 5, 1867, Henniker, N.H., U.S.—died Dec. 27, 1944, New York, N.Y.) U.S. composer and pianist. A precociously brilliant musician, she performed as soloist with major orchestras in the U.S. and Europe. As a composer she was devoted to German Romanticism rather than American themes or sources. Her best-loved works were her songs. Her Gaelic Symphony (1894) was the first symphony by an American woman. Other works include a piano concerto (1899), the choral pieces The Chambered Nautilus (1907) and Canticle of the Sun (1928), the opera Cabildo (1932), and a piano quintet (1907).

Learn more about Beach, Amy Marcy with a free trial on Britannica.com.

A beach is a geological landform along the shoreline of a body of water. It usually consists of loose particles which are often composed of rock, such as sand, gravel, shingle, pebbles, or cobble. The particles of which the beach is composed can sometimes instead have biological origins, such as shell fragments or coralline algae fragments.

Beaches often occur along coastal areas, where wave or current action deposits and reworks sediments.

Although the seashore is most commonly associated with the word "beach", beaches are not only found by the ocean: beaches also occur at the margin of the land along lakes and rivers where sediments are reworked or deposited.

The term 'beach' may refer to:

  • small systems in which the 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, all of which 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 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 longshore 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.

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. The beach profile is higher during the summer due to the gentle wave action during this season. The lower energy waves deposit sediment on the beach berm and dune, adding to the beach profile. Conversely, the beach profile is lower in the winter due to the increased wave energy associated with storms. Higher energy waves erode sediment from the beach berm and dune, and deposit it off shore, forming longshore bars. The removal of sediment from the beach berm and dune decreases the beach profile.

The line between beach and dune is difficult to define in the field. Over any significant period of time, sand 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.

Beach formation

Beaches are deposition landforms, and 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), Fraser Island beach, 90 Mile Beach in Australia and 90 Mile Beach in New Zealand (88 km) and Long Beach, Washington (which is about 40 km). Wasaga Beach, Ontario on Georgian Bay claims to have the world's longest freshwater beach. But the longest beach in the world is in fact Praia do Cassino, a 240km long beach located in southern Brazil, near the border with Uruguay.

Beaches and recreation

In the Victorian era, many popular beach resorts were equipped with bathing machines because even the all-covering beachwear of the period was considered immodest. This social standard still prevails in many Muslim countries. At the other end of the spectrum are topfree beaches and nude beaches 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 behaviour might not be tolerated. For example, undressing down to swimwear, showering in public, women exposing their breasts and lying with legs apart, etc.

A walk along the beach is also popular, including a long walk in the case of a long beach, for example from one seaside resort to the next. When and where the sand is not too hot, people often walk barefoot on the beach, because of the pleasant feeling of sand on their soles and between their toes. The best beach walking areas typically are near the shoreline, where the sand is wet and more comfortable to walk in. A person will also enjoy walking with their bare feet in the water.

In more than thirty countries in Europe, South Africa, New Zealand, Canada, Costa Rica, South America and the Caribbean, 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.

Due to intense use by the expanding human population, beaches are often dumping grounds for waste and litter, necessitating the use of beach cleaners and other cleanup projects. More significantly, many beaches are a discharge zone for untreated sewage in most underdeveloped countries; even in developed countries beach closure is an occasional circumstance due to sanitary sewer overflow. In these cases of marine discharge, waterborne disease from fecal pathogens and contamination of certain marine species is a frequent outcome.

Beach tokens

Beach tokens, a form of season pass admission ticket, may be required for entrance, for people and even pets. They are made of metal etc. durable material, to enable them to withstand swimming, so the bearer can just carry them around his neck or on his swimsuit. Goals may be:

  • restricting to only community members
  • user fees for lifeguards, clean up

Artificial beaches

Some beaches are artificial; they are either permanent or temporary (For examples see Monaco, Paris, Rotterdam, Toronto, Hong Kong and Singapore).

The soothing qualities of a beach and the pleasant environment offered to the beach goer 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 beaches, 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 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 as artificial.

A concept of IENCE has been devised to describe investment into the capacity of natural environments. IENCE is Investment to Enhance the Natural Capacity of the Environment and includes things like beach nourishment of natural beaches to enhance recreational enjoyment and snow machines that extend ski seasons for areas with an existing snow economy developed upon a natural snowy mountain. As the name implies IENCE is not quite mainstream natural science as its goal is to artificially invest into an environment's capacity to support anthropogenic economic activity. An artificial reef designed to enhance wave quality for surfing is another example of IENCE. The Surfrider Foundation has debated the merits of artificial reefs 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 and Snow cannon in sensitive environments.

Beaches as habitat

A beach is an unstable environment which exposes plants and animals to changeable and potentially harsh conditions. Some small 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 lay their eggs on 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 aka Ipomoea pes-caprae, and beach peanut, and animals such as mole crabs aka Hippoidea, coquina clams aka Donax, ghost crabs, and white beach tiger beetles.

See also

References & Sources

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

External links

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