Encyclopedia of Coastal Science

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

Beach Stratigraphy

  • Toru Tamura
  • Yoshiki SaitoEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-93806-6_42


A beach is the boundary between the land and water bodies such as oceans and lakes that develops on wave-dominated coasts. It is defined as a shore consisting mainly of unconsolidated sand and gravel extending from the low-water line to where marked changes in physiographic form and/or sand and gravel are observed or to the permanent vegetation line. The zone between the low-water and high-water levels, which has a concave topography and slopes gradually seaward, is known as the foreshore. The area landward from the crest of the berm of a beach is called the backshore.

The slope gradient of the beach face varies according to material, particularly the grain size, and wave intensity (Carter 1988; Hardisty 1990). In general, beaches consisting of coarse-grained materials and with steeper waves have steeper slopes. Waves and currents transport and deposit sediments of beaches, resulting in characteristic stratigraphy (Harms et al. 1975; McCubbin 1981).

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geological Survey of JapanNational Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and TechnologyTsukubaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Natural Environmental Studies, Graduate School of Frontier SciencesUniversity of TokyoKashiwaJapan
  3. 3.Estuary Research CenterShimane UniversityMatsueJapan