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Waves & Tides
of Coasts
Littoral Cells
Sediment Budget
Cliffs and Platforms
What was the dollar value
of beach tourism in 2001?

a.  6 million dollars
b.  60 million dollars
c.  60 billion dollars
Crowds enjoying the beach at Santa Monica.

Dropcap Sun, surf, sand...
The beach is an icon for the Golden State.

Yet California's beaches are ephemeral "rivers of sand" in constant motion due to erosional and depositional processes.

Some of these processes are natural; others result from human intervention. If beaches are to be preserved into the future, it is essential to understand the flow of energy and sediment through coastal areas. Coastal Basics summarizes the primary processes that shape our coast.

Surf sloshing up beach at sunset, looking north with mountains in distance.
Sunset over Santa Monica Beach. Photographer - permission pending

Use this knowledge and take part in decision-making to preserve the future value of our precious coast.

We suggest starting with Beaches.

Coastal Morphology Group • Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Last modifed Monday, October 7, 2003

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