Comparing Beaches

Now that you know how to draw a beach profile, you have a record of the shape of the beach on the day that you made your measurements.  But is it always like that?  Pose some questions and then think about what you need to do to find out the answers.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Is the beach profile the same the morning after a storm?
  • Is the beach profile the same on a sandy beach as on a pebbly beach?
  • Is the beach profile the same at the north / east end of the beach as at the south / west?
  • Does a beach in front of cliffs have the same profile as a beach in front of sand dunes?

To find out the answer to any of these questions you are going to need to do some more fieldwork.  You will either need to visit the same location at two different times or visit two contrasting locations.  You will then have two beach profiles which you can compare.  Which one is steeper?  Which one has a smoother shape?

Can you explain your results?

Can you see any problem with the method?  An alternative way of measuring would be to vary the distance between the poles to position them at the points where the slope angle changes.  You would have to measure the distance between the poles each time and account for this when drawing the profile but it would give you a more accurate diagram.