Waves and the formation of beaches

By Rebecca Priestley In Science

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20th December, 2012
I’ve never been much of a beach person, but I plan to take a refreshing late-afternoon swim on Christmas Day. If I’ve had a glass or two of festive bubbly with lunch, I’ll be walking to my nearest beach, a small Wellington bay with only a few metres of coarse dark sand between the road and the waves. If I drive, I can choose between the expansive grey sands of Lyall Bay, the glorious white sands of Scorching Bay or the imported golden sands of Oriental Bay. Why are all these beaches so different? And where did they come from? Much of the sand on our beaches dates back to the last glacial ...

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