The beach is a favorite vacation or picnic spot for many families all over the world. Most of us think of beaches as the sandy area by the ocean or sea. However, they can also be part of the shore by rivers, lakes, or other water bodies.
Overall, beaches are viewed as places to relax, have fun, and generally enjoy themselves. People may choose to lie down on the sand and sunbathe or just watch the waves crash on the shore. Alternatively, one may also go surfing, swimming, or ride on a motorboat when they’re at the beach If you love beaches, below are some fun and interesting facts to enhance your knowledge about them.
There are some highly popular beaches around the world, with Cooper’s Beach and Myrtle Beach being two examples. These beaches are targeted at tourist, with plenty of water activities and guides available. Having human activity on beaches also makes them safer as there are likely to be lifeguards on duty.
However, there are some wild beaches left on the planet. These are beaches that haven’t seen much human traffic due to several reasons. One of these reasons might be that they’re hard to reach, hence their isolation. Some authorities might also be trying to preserve these beaches and their natural beauty. Hence, access to them might be restricted or come at a high price.
The Longest Beach
Some beaches might be only a few miles long, while others might be double that length or even more. The Praia do Cassino, or Casino Beach is reported to be the longest uninterrupted stretches of beach in the whole world. It measures around 132 miles of 212 kilometers long. Some sources also report it to be about 158 miles or 254 kilometers long.
The Casino Beach is the southernmost beach located in the Brazilian coast. The beaches in Brazil are famed for their high temperatures and white sand. This beach is no different, while the welcoming nature of the locals makes it a popular tourist attraction. There are also several water activities available here, with surfing being in especially high demand.
About the Sand
The sand we find on beaches have an interesting composition, with silica (SiO2) being in the majority. This is a sort of mineral quartz that makes up most of the sand in non-tropical beaches and inland continental beaches. Calcium carbonate comes next, which is mostly aragonite created over around half a billion years from life forms such as shellfish and coral. It dominates beaches where reefs make up most of the ecosystem, such as in the Caribbean.
The sand granules on beaches have a texture somewhere between silt and gravel. However, its composition makes it a non-renewable resource. If we look at beach sand through a microscope, the image is fascinating, with tiny shells and other minerals mixed into the particles.
A Sand Island
There’s a whole sand island down by the Australian continent, just off the Queensland coast. Its name is Fraser Island, and it measures around 163,000 hectares. The coastline is 65 kilometers in total. While there are other sand islands in the world, this one is the largest known to man. Since 1992, this island was named as an official World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
A Temporary Gift
Beaches might seem common now, but they might not always be around. According to many scientists, beaches are temporary phenomena. They came about due to changes in sea level after the latest Ice Age. Beaches, in themselves, are not a timeless wonder but always in transition. In fact, some beaches might already be receding and have vanished for good at some point in the future.
With global warming and climate change, studies now show that the average sea level is slowly rising. This could mean that beach resorts and other tourist attractions might become uninhabitable sooner than we think.
When a beach or marina manages to reach certain standards and/or requirements, they get a Blue Flag certification. This means that it the place is deemed to have a secure beach environment, clean and safe water, and is overall satisfactory in cleanliness and other important factors.
It’s important that recreational beaches meet such standards, as many families visit such places on the regular. If we’re thinking about vacationing at a beach resort or just going to the beach for a few hours, it’s recommended to look for heir Blue Flag Status. This is especially important if there are children included in the trip.
We usually think of beaches as being either white, gray, black or yellow. However, there are beaches of many colors all over the globe. These include green, red, and even shaded colors that make for a fascinating sight. These colors are due to the sediments present in those specific parts of the world. In Hawaii alone, we can see pure white, jet black, golden, green, and red sands in different beaches.
Along with the colors, we may also notice some wavy patterns along a beach at some point. These are known as beach cusps, with the patterns formed as a result of different sediment grades. The horns of the cusp have the coarser textures, while the finer ones make up the embayments.
While beaches might look the same from one day to the next, they’re actually changing quite rapidly. The shorelines could expand, shrink, or change their shape by many feet in the course of a single day. This could be due to reasons like changes in the wind, the waves, looming storms, or any other weather extremes.
The constant crash of waves can also increase or decrease the size of beaches by bringing them more material or taking it away. If there are cliffs and hills nearby, the crashing of the waves can erode them over time. When the cliffs finally collapse, they can make a huge change in the shoreline.
The winds also bring sand to beaches and take it away, creating sand dunes where plants can grow. If any vegetation does grow, it can affect the wind and prevent it from blowing away the sand. This results in more sand dunes over time.
The beach might seem empty when there are no humans around, but it’s actually the home of many living organisms. We can find algae, diatoms, and other microorganisms in the sand. It’s actually the diatoms that give beach sand a shimmering effect.
There are also invertebrates living at the beach. Some of these may include ghost crabs, pagurid crabs, blue crabs, ghost shrimps, etc. The crabs usually burrow inside the sand to hide when there are people nearby but are also hunted for eating purposes.
Sea grass is a salt-tolerant plant that we might also find on beaches. Birds like the tern made nests right inside the sand. Turtles have also been known to bury their eggs inside the sandy, while there would be seals, walruses, and sea lions using the beach as a resting place. Land animals such as feral cats and foxes may also come onto the beach at times, mostly looking for food left behind by beachgoers.
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, sea lions, and walruses rest on the sand, while land mammals like foxes and feral cats sometimes live on the beach, mostly scavenging for food.
One strange and unexplained phenomena surrounding beaches are the sounds. These seem to emanate from the sand dunes or the beach itself. The sounds are varied and could be a whistle, a bark, or frog-like croaks. Along North Carolina, for instance, residents might hear some booming sounds from an empty beach or the ocean. Even scientists are unable to offer much explanation for this mystery.
The facts here would hopefully help us to understand beaches and appreciate them in a deeper way. It’s important that beach-goers know about the natural environments they’re enjoying on a regular basis. This would also help to make people realize that they need to preserve such places if they are to last.