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An investigation into how beach material varies in shape and size up the beach.

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An investigation into how beach material varies in shape and size up the beach I decided to do 'An investigation into how beach material varies in size and shape up the beach' as this topic has always interested me and it should be easy to do in the allotted time slot. I am glad I now understand why pebbles are where they are and how there shape is affected as a result. The aim of my project was to investigate how beach sediment varied in size and shape up the beach and to investigate variations in the angle of the beach profile and beach width. To do this I collected results in the tables I had made earlier under the following headings: Long axis- the length of the pebble in cm Short axis- the width of the pebble in cm Radius- half of the diameter (long axis.) Roundness- on a scale of 1-6, how round was the pebble? Thickness-how thick was the pebble when lying on its side? The data for my project were collected at Lulworth cove, which is situated, on the south coast of England, Dorset. Lulworth cove is a typical example of a concordant coastline and is such a shape due to weaker rocks (Wealden Clay) being eroded and more resistant rocks (Portland limestone) not being eroded at the mouth of the cove. Thus the cove shape is formed. This is significant because it suggests that many of the pebbles I will find will be made largely of Portland limestone, which is still intact. Any other pebbles I find that are made of different materials e.g. Wealden Clay will probably be found near the sea (at 5m), as they are weaker and therefore quickly denuded. Hypothesis: I predicted that the closer to the shore, the smaller the pebble size and the less the angularity, i.e. a smaller long axis, short axis, thickness, radius and lower angularity. ...read more.


At 10-15m up the beach, the points are close to the mean as this is the 'active site' where material constantly comes to and from the beach and back in to the sea so the points are bound to be close together. This is because in storms all of the material is washed up to the base of cliffs by large destructive waves, which have a strong swash and weaker backwash due to percolation through the large sized sediment. This meant that the small backwash only carried the smaller material back seaward, the large material stayed where it was. This process of sorting the beach sediment meant that the larger beach material stays nearer to the cliffs and the smaller rocks tended to be moved back to the swash zone. Thus suggesting that my hypothesis will be proved correct. Also beach sediment at transect A-B was Greensand and at C-D, E-F and G-H was Purbeck and Portland limestone, which is more resistant than the Greensand which explains why at 5m Transects C-D and G-H have a larger long axis than would be otherwise expected. I believe that we can expect to see that the bar graph bares close comparisons and linkages with the other graphs as the features of pebbles are usually proportional to one another. We can immediately compare this graph to the graph of distance up the beach against the long axis. Once again transect G-H seems to have the largest beach material at almost every distance, with the exception at 15 m where transect C-D had a short axis of 5.2 cm and transect G-H had a short axis of 4.7 cm. The two graphs should look so similar as the long axis is often related to the short axis. We can also see that at 5m and 20m up the beach the sediment was very large for transects C-D and G-H. ...read more.


This was a perfect situation for my hypothesis and would have been very different elsewhere at another location. I would probably not have found that another location was a cove shape and thus would not have the more resistant rocks conveniently placed at the back of the cove and the less resistant rocks conveniently placed at the front of the cove. I believe that I would not have found the same theory emerge at other times. This is because in the past, especially a long, long time ago, the pebbles near the shore would not have been eroded very much by the sea as they would not have been by the shore long enough for a lot of noticeable change in their size or shape. This would make the investigation pointless, as the pebbles near the sea would appear the same size and shape to those near to the cliffs, large and angular, thus completely disproving my hypothesis. Conclusion: My project was to investigate how beach sediment varied in size and shape up the beach. I have found that in general, sediment is smaller and less angular near the sea due to hydraulic action, attrition, corrosion and corrasion acting on the pebbles. Also, sediment tended to be larger and more angular nearer to the cliffs as these processes seldom acted upon the pebbles. Of course there were some anomalies as no investigation is perfect and so I left them out of my final conclusion, as they would not have helped to prove my hypothesis correct. I have also noticed that it was very relevant that I sampled pebbles at the same places that I measured the beach profiles as the beach profiles successfully predicted (in most cases) what size of pebble I was likely to find at which point up the beach. From looking at my graphs and explanations, we can clearly see that my hypothesis was overall proved correct as I predicted just what eventually happened. ...read more.

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