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Further Investigations: Beaches and Sand

  1. Research organisms that live in sandy substrates. Explain their adaptations for this environment.
  2. Using Table 5.8 as starting point, investigate abiogenic sand particles from your area. Determine where they come from and how old they are.
  3. In your town, or at a coastal area you would like to visit, is the shoreline eroding or accreting? What is your evidence?
    1. What methods are being used to protect property from wave damage?
    2. What determines where oceanfront houses may be built?
    3. Where did the sand originally come from? Where is it going?
    4. Has additional sand been imported, and if so, where did it come from?
  4. Coastal engineering projects can be found in many locations. Investigate the coastal engineering projects in your community or in an area you would like to visit.
    1. Describe both the physical detail and the construction history of these coastal engineering structures.
    2. What was the intended purpose of these structures?
    3. How did local citizens respond to the project?
    4. How effective was the engineering project?
    5. Did the manmade coastal structures have any negative environmental effects? Or positive effects?
  5. Investigate issues related to the economic value of shoreline real estate and the increased popularity of ocean sports. Give special consideration to issues related to the construction of buildings or roadways along sand dune areas and the effects on vegetation and sand stability.
  6. What are some of the coastal regulation policies in your community or in an area you would like to visit?
    1. When did they start?
    2. How are they enforced?
    3. Research how effective they are at regulating human behavior.
  7. Simulate sand dune formation and erosion. Set up a beach simulation tank. Keep it dry. Put sand into the tank. Using a fan to simulate wind, observe the process of sand due formation. Simulate how dunes are eroded and how they migrate (move). Simulate ways to protect the dunes from erosion, including planting low vines, shrubs, and trees.
  8. Study windward and leeward beaches of an island. Compare the two coastlines in terms of number and length of beaches. Estimate beach width and slope. Note the presence or absence of coastal and nearshore features such as sand dunes and bars.

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Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawaii, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.