Beaches are the parts of the shore of a sea, ocean, large river, lake, and other bodies of water, usually washed by waves or tides. This is the place where people usually swim, surf, sunbathe and relax, among other enjoyable activities. There are popular beaches that attract a huge number of tourists, while there are other beaches that remain virtually untouched. Here are some other fun facts about beaches that you may not know!
Wild beaches are beaches that have been untouched by human activity (like nearby houses, resorts, hotels, shops, restaurants, etc.).
Praia do Cassino (Cassino Beach) in Brazil is reputed to be the longest uninterrupted beach in the world, measuring 212 kilometers (132 miles) long.
Sands on the beach are composed of silica (SiO2) in the form of mineral quartz.
It’s in Down Under: Fraser Island, located off the coast of Queensland, Australia. Covering about 163,000 hectares and with a coastline measuring 65 kilometers long, it is the largest sand island in the world. In 1992 Fraser Island was also named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Blue Flag is a certification awarded to a beach or a marina that meets certain standards such as cleanliness, quality, and safety of the waters and the whole beach environment. Recreational beaches that pass these standards are awarded a Blue Flag Status.
Beaches come in different colors, the more common being white, gray, or black. There are beaches which have colors as rare as red, gold-yellow, and even green. The colors of the beach are based on the type of sediment that comprise the sand.
It doesn’t look it, but beaches always change their environments. Shorelines may expand or shrink by several feet due to the combination of any of these factors: wind, waves, storms, and other extreme weather conditions. Waves can either erode beaches or expand them by carrying materials to other regions. If the beaches have cliffs or hills, the waves will repeatedly crash onto them until the cliffs are eroded and then collapse into the beach, considerably changing the shoreline. Winds transport sand beyond the waves thus creating sand dunes that will become occupied by plants. When the vegetation becomes more lush, it impedes the action of the wind, thus preventing it from blowing the sand away. This results in an increase of sand dunes over time.
Have you seen some arch-like patterns along the shoreline when you go to the beach? They’re called beach cusps, and they are formed due to the differing grades of sediments. The horns consist of coarser grains while the embayments are made up of finer materials.
The Guinness Book of World Records registered the tallest sandcastle to date, in May 2011 in Connecticut, USA. It measured 37 feet and 10 inches (11.53 meters) tall.
Most of our planet is made up of water — 94% of Earth is aquatic, and 71% of it is made up of oceans.
Several animals, plants, and other organisms call the beach their home. Microorganisms such as algae and diatoms reside in the sand, and considerable concentrations of diatoms give the sand a golden shimmer. Invertebrates like ghost shrimps, ghost crabs, blue crabs, pagurid crabs, and other crab species burrow into the sand. Salt-tolerant plants such as sea grass thrive on the beach. Birds such as the tern make nests in the bare sand. Seals, seal lions, and walruses rest on the sand, while land mammals like foxes and feral cats sometimes live on the beach, mostly scavenging for food.
The island state of Hawaii is the home of the strangely colored sand beaches: apart from pure white, there are also beaches with jet-black, golden-yellow, red, and green sands.
There are particular beaches and sand dunes that create sounds, that range from whistles to barks to frog-like noises. This mystery leaves a lot of people stunned, even scientists.