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chapter_14_le modified - Waves Beaches and Coasts Physical...

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Steve Kadel, Glendale Community College Waves, Beaches, and Coasts Physical Geology 11/e, Chapter 14
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Waves and Energy Transfer Ordinary ocean waves ( not tsunamis) are created by wind blowing over the surface of the water When waves strike coastlines, wind energy is transferred to the rocks and sediments on beaches This energy is available to erode coastlines and transport sediments Beach erosion during storms increases greatly, and can undermine structures
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Water Waves Height of water waves determined by wind speed , length of time that wind blows, and distance wind blows over the water ( fetch ) Waves break along the shore as surf , spending most of their energy moving sand along the beach Wave height is the vertical distance between the crest (top) and trough (bottom) of a wave Wavelength is the horizontal distance between two wave crests (or two troughs)
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Water Waves Movement of water in waves is in a nearly circular path called an orbit In deep water, energy advances with the wave, but the water does not Orbital motion in waves decreases with depth until it is essentially gone at a depth of half the wavelength As water shallows, orbital motion will eventually impact the sea bottom, causing waves to pile up and topple over, forming breakers in the surf zone
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Near-Shore Circulation Waves hitting the shoreline at an angle will bend and change direction to become more nearly parallel to the shoreline in a process called wave refraction Refracted waves still hit the coastline at a slight angle, pushing water and sediments parallel to the coastline in the form of a longshore current
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Near-Shore Circulation Narrow currents that flow straight out to sea through the surf zone are called rip currents
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