UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
This summer there seems to be more rocks up against the cliffs at the beach and less sand. Also the tides seem to be higher, rarely on the minus side and usually plus 3 - 6 feet. Is this usual?
Question Date: 2007-08-13
Answer 1:

There is a little seasonal change on beaches due to the fact that runoff on average is greater in winter (storms) than in summer. Because of differences the coastal currents have more or less to work with (as far as movement goes) in summer vs winter although this is just a generalization. so over all one does expect to see different fine scale beach sedimentation differences between summer and winter. As far as the tides per se. These are tied to the motion of Earth around Sun and motion of Moon around Earth so they are pretty cyclic although small differences can arise when conjunctions occur...I dont think there has been anything particularly unusual this summer.

Answer 2:

I'm not familiar with the terminology of tides, so I can't address your second observation. As for the positions of the rocks, they are located there because the water is able to transport objects up there only during situations where the in which are really strong (e.g. storms) and are capable of moving large boulders. Smaller waves wash the sand around, and wash the sand down onto the beach because they don't reach up so high next to the cliffs. Offshore, the sand gives way to mud, where the energy of the water is even less.

Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2020 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use