Encyclopedia of Coastal Science

2019 Edition
| Editors: Charles W. Finkl, Christopher Makowski

Beach Sediment Characteristics

  • Alan S. TrenhaileEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-93806-6_41

Beach sediments are derived from a wide variety of sources, including cliff erosion, rivers, glaciers, volcanoes, coral reefs, sea shells, the Holocene rise in sea level, and the cannibalization of ancient coastal deposits. The nature of the source and the type and intensity of the erosional, transportational, and depositional processes in a coastal region determine the type of material that makes up a beach. In turn, the characteristics of the sediments strongly influence beach morphology and the processes that operate on it (Trenhaile 1997).

Grain Size

The grain size of pebbles and other large clastic material can be measured with callipers, and sieves are used for sand and other coarse beach sediments. A number of techniques are used to determine the size of finer sediments including Coulter Counters, pipettes, hydrometers, optical settling instruments, and electron microscopes. The grain size can be expressed using the Wentworth scale, which is based on classes that are separated...
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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geography DepartmentUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada