# What Happens When A Wave Nears And Washes Up On A Beach?

On a gentle slope, waves begin to feel the bottom far from the shore. The waves grow slowly taller and lean forward, and foam spills down their fronts as they run up …

## What causes a wave to break on the shore?

The base of the wave is slowed down by friction against the sea bottom, while the top of the wave rushes ahead, so the wave crest begins to lean more and more forward until it topples over, and breaks on the shore.

## What makes a wave feel the bottom of the sea?

Study each image below to learn how waves move and break. When the water depth decreases to one half of a wave’s wavelength, the wave starts to “feel the bottom”. That means that the deepest water molecules set into circular motion by the wave’s energy run into the seafloor.

## How long does it take for a wave to hit the beach?

The speed of the wave train is 1.5 x 12, or 18 miles an hour. Since the waves are coming from 400 nautical miles away, they should star hitting the beach in just over 22 hours (400/18 = 22.22).

## How are waves able to move sand on the beach?

Waves can move sand when their energy is in contact with the bottom. Spilling breakers spend the most time and energy dragging across the seabed, so they should be able to push more sand onto the beach. Surging waves hardly interact with the bottom at all, so they will have little effect on offshore sand.

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