Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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Coastal management sourcebooks 1
Chapter 1

The disappearing beach:
what can be done?

This chapter looks at the many different circumstances that may cause a beach to disappear and suggests some possible responses in each situation.

Figure 2 shows a simple diagram naming the various parts of a beach. A beach can be defined as a zone of loose material extending from the low water mark to a point landward where either the topography abruptly changes or permanent vegetation first appears. Although beaches are often made up of sand particles, they may also consist of clay, silt, gravel, cobbles or boulders, or any combination of these.

Figure 2. Cross-section of a typical beach

Clay Less than 0.004 mm Less than 0.00015 inches
Silt 0.004–0.08 mm 0.00015–0.003 inches
Sand 0.08–4.6 mm 0.003–0.18 inches
Gravel 4.6–77 mm 0.18–3 inches
Cobbles 77–256 mm 3–10 inches
Boulders Greater than 256 mm Greater than 10 inches
Case 1 Case 2 Case 3 Case 4 Case 5 Case 6
Case 7 Case 8 Case 9 Case 10 Case 11
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