A beach is a landform alongside a body of water which consists of loose particles. The particles composing a beach are typically made from rock, such as sand, gravel, shingle, pebbles, etc., or biological sources, such as mollusc shells or coralline algae. Sediments settle in different densities and structures, depending on the local wave action and weather, creating different textures, colors and gradients or layers of material.
Though some beaches form on freshwater locations, most beaches are in coastal areas where wave or current action deposits and reworks sediments. Erosion and changing of beach geologies happens through natural processes, like wave action and extreme weather events. Where wind conditions are correct, beaches can be backed by coastal dunes which offer protection and regeneration for the beach. However, these natural forces have become more extreme due to climate change, permanently altering beaches at very rapid rates. Some estimates describe as much as 50 percent of the earth's sandy beaches disappearing by 2100 due to climate-change driven sea level rise.
Sandy beaches occupy about one third of global coastlines.