What gives a beach its unique features?

cfiles45766

Tides. Winds. Waves. You might think of those right away when you ask yourself “Why are beaches so different from one another?” The story of how and why beaches are unique is more than what we witness while lying in a beach chair watching the tide go out hour by hour. The personality of a beach actually started long before … depending on what type of activity occurs near it.

If a beach is on a coast with a lot of earthquakes and volcanoes than it means that coast is active. Active coasts are going to be rocky, jagged, and edgy. Think “lots of cliffs”. This is easily seen along the West coast of the U.S. On the other hand, a beach might have a gentle slope with dunes leading to the sea. Think “the picture above”. There may be earthquakes but they’re rare and no volcanoes. This would mean the coast is passive. Being an active or passive coast is the foundation of a beach. Almost like its genetics or DNA.

active_passiveSo what gives a beach its true character is what it relates with on a daily basis. Just like the people and media we interact with on a daily basis shape our true character. For instance, does a beach have an expansive estuary nearby? Does a beach have an energetic or dormant volcano nearby? If this is the case the coast would also be considered primary. Primary coasts have been created by land based factors such as drowned river valleys, glaciers, or volcanoes. On the other hand, the ocean can play an important role in shaping a coast as well. Maybe there is considerable wave erosion lapping the shore? Are coral reefs, barrier islands, or other marine depositions nearby that helped to form a shoreline? These coasts are called secondary.

Beaches are either on a passive or active foundation and each have prevailing short term factors of primary (land based erosion) or secondary (ocean based erosion). The combination of characteristics give each beach a distinctive quality. Just like each one of us each beach is valuable and precious.

Seven silly sea science words

Somewhere along the line people got the idea that science is scary and intimidating. But, like so much of this world … science is much more than what we first think. Science can be silly. Science can be fun. Science can be collecting and analyzing data. But, science is creating questions. And, science is sharing results.

Science can even make you smile. To prove it – here are some silly sounding words that make me laugh every time I say them. I actually had to have my daughter narrate this short film because “caudle peduncle” is just too much sometimes. Hopefully this clip will make you curious to explore new words and realms within science. It’s bound to make you smile at least! By the way, do you have a favorite sounding sea science word?

What's your faorite sea science word?

Seven silly sea science words Music by Colin Miller/Narrated by Winnie Miller

 

Christmas critter countdown: Harp seal

This is the fluffy creature that tugs at our heartstrings and purses to fork over donations. What should you do though if you see a seal coming up on shore and lounging like he doesn’t have a care in the world? Or, if they’ve somehow lost their adorable, cute white fur and are a patchy? Find out here.

Christmas tree countdown

Christmas critter countdown: Snowflake eel

Eels have the ability to genuinely give me the creeps. It’s probably because of the scene from Princess Bride. But, actually it might have something to do with the fact that some have the ability to tie their bodies in knots and use this to gain leverage when tearing food. Find out some more uplifting facts of eels here. … … … read on as you wish!

Christmas critter countdown

Christmas critter countdown: Star puffer

Did you know some species of puffers and other fish can live in both fresh and saltwater? It’s called euryhaline. Like … rhymes with “your-e-hey-leen!”. What’s it called when an animal isn’t this adaptable? Find out here.

Christmas critter countdown

Christmas critter countdown: Decorator crab

The decorator crab will hold a piece of decoration against it shell until it begins to grow there! Find out what’s used as a decoration here.

Christmas critter countdown

Christmas critter countdown: Red drum

Red drum have an ability to produce a drumming sound on their air bladders which is how they got commons name. Learn who what other fish share this characteristic with them here. Pa-rum-pa-pa-pum …

Christmas critter countdown

 

Christmas critter countdown: Snowy plovers

Snowy plovers are among some of the cutest shorebirds, don’t you think? Or, are they a seabird or a wading bird? Find out what the difference is here.

Christmas critter countdown

Christmas critter countdown: Star coral

Coral may look like a rock but they’re certainly not! Take some time to learn about the vulnerable species here. It’s climate change we have to worry about but the ocean habitat is up against ocean acidification and the first clue is from coral.

Christmas critter countdown

Christmas critter countdown: Angel shark

Hark! Unlike rays and skates, the nocturnal angel shark doesn’t have a mouth on the underside of its body, but rather in front. Learn more here.

Christmas critter countdown