A beach cusp is a formation of sand, gravel or other beach material in the form of an arc. The cusp is the point of the arc on each side, directed toward the ocean. A beach cusp can refer to the point or to the entire formation, including the arc with points at each end. Beach cusps normally occur in a row along the beach, having the same size and spacing in a regular pattern.
Beach cusps are more likely to form on beaches that have coarse material like pebbles. Although wave action causes the formation of beach cusps, the process is not fully understood. One theory suggests the frequency of wave patterns may help to create them.
When incoming waves meet a flow of water returning seaward from a previous wave, this generates waves that move toward the left and right, parallel to the shoreline. They can move in opposite directions. When they collide, this can increase the height of an incoming wave. The frequency of these wave patterns may produce the arcs and beach cusps.
They usually found to be from 10 to 20 feet from one cusp to the next. Large beach cusp formations have been seen to grow to as much as 200 feet across.
Beach cusps are more likely to appear where the waves are large. Beach cusps are more common along an ocean shoreline than other bodies of water because the waves are usually bigger. The direction of incoming waves may also affect how beach cusps are formed.
Islands of Thailand.
A beach formation in the form of an arc with a cusp or point at each end
See also: Beaches
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