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Science

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Where Does the Sediment on a Beach Come From?

Run Time: 00:06:30

Scientist Britt Argow discusses how sediment on a beach contributes to the vast continental shelf offshore over time. But once the sediment becomes part of the continental shelf, it is lost from the beach system. Wave energy moves sediment along the beach and offshore, but does not extend deep enough to bring sediment back onshore from the shelf. Instead, the source of sediment that builds a beach must lie inland. Standing by a mountain stream, Dr. Sherilyn Williams-Stroud, senior research scientist at Chevron-Texaco Energy Technology Company, explains how moving water can carry material from mountains to the sea. Water that flows over rocks smoothes and breaks them down into smaller pieces of sediment and then transports them to new locations. The water of a tumbling stream, over millions of years, carries rocks, sand, and silt to lower elevations. Using the transport of the Connecticut River to the Atlantic Ocean as an example, she shows how rivers carry sediment out to the sea. Featured Scientist: Sherilyn Williams Stroud, Ph.D.

Standards

NSES Standard

Grades 5-8 Standard D. Landforms are the result of a combination of constructive (sedimentation, volcanoes) and destructive forces (weathering and erosion).


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