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Sunday, May 7, 2017

who put the sand on beach ? - a beach washed away reappears after 33 years !!

Summer is at its peak ~ the day temperatures are high and more people throng the shores of Marina beach to have some respite from sweltering weather.  The waves, shores and sandy stretches are interesting .. and often there is the Q from children – ‘who brought in so much of sand and where from ?’ 

Live Science explains that  sandy beach is essentially where pulverized, weathered rock along with some fragments of shelled creatures and other biota have collected, tossed up by the waves and as sediment from inland areas. Sand is basically the material gotten from  breakdown in rocks, when the rocks weather and decompose over hundreds of thousands and millions of years.  Not every rocky mineral is equally built to last. So, over time, the weathering process yields certain common compositions for sand as the stronger materials persist. Some of the minerals are very unstable and decompose, while others such as feldspar, quartz and hornblende are more stable," "They're harder, more resistant minerals, and so they tend to stay behind" – adds the magazine.  This mineral formula gives beaches that sort of typically, well, "beachy" complexion of a light brown found in many places.

Before that, some news from Germany.  Postwar Germany began its second biggest evacuation of a major city on Sunday as ordnance disposal experts moved in to Hanover to tackle five RAF bombs from World War II found on building sites. Reports state that fifty thousand people from flats, houses, care homes and clinics were on the move in Hanover at 9.00am and told they won't be allowed back for up to 24 hours. The number amounts to ten per cent of the city's population.

Hanover was hit 125 times by Allied air forces during the war. The unstable duds that must be tackled date from a raid in October 1943 when 260,000 high explosive and incendiary devices were dropped.  The raid killed 1,245 locals and left a further 250,000 homeless. Hanover was often a target for Allied forces in World War II. It was a vital railway junction through which two major east-west and north-south routes passed.  Additionally, it was an industrial city where tyres for military vehicles and aircraft were produced. Tyres were made by Continental AG factories in Hanover, while another factory - run by Accumulatoren Fabrik Aktiengesellschaf (AFA) - built batteries for submarines and torpedoes. The Hanover evacuation was only topped by a mass movement of people in Augsburg on Christmas Eve last year when 54,000 people were forced from their homes by unexplored wartime bombs.

That should be scary – elsewhere villagers are delighted after an entire beach that was washed away 33 years ago has reappeared - virtually overnight thanks to a freak tide.  The stunning beach near the Irish village of Dooagh on Achill Island vanished in Spring storms of 1984 after waves washed away all the sand. With nothing more than rock pools left behind, almost all the villages' hotels, guesthouses and cafes shut down.

MailOnline reports that the  beach re-appeared miraculously thanks to a freak tide, hundreds of thousands of tonnes of sand were dumped on the beach over ten days in April, re-creating a stunning 300m long beach.  The picturesque stretch is still in place, with locals hoping it sticks around long enough for the beach to be given blue-flag status during next year's inspection. A Tourism manager is quoted as saying: 'Before it disappeared, the beach had been there for as long as living memory, almost continuously, until 1984-85. 'During that time there was some big storms that really destroyed the beach and it was completely washed away and 1984 was the last time the beach was there. He said the bulk of the sand was deposited in just over a week, leaving locals delighted and added that it is so nice  for the villagers to have their beach back. 

It is an incredible example of the force and power of nature and how the coast can change in a matter of days. With lots of people seeing the news, there is now plenty more visitors.  The article states that the beach allegedly once vanished in the 1890s but returned within three decades.  The beach used to be integral to the population of Achill and during the 1845 famine, families moved to nearby to live off the fish and rich soils. According to the history books, the beach at Dooagh vanished in the 1890s but had returned within three decades, when a pier was built in 1927.  Back then, a bugle would summon villagers to the beach when large amounts of wrack seaweed was washed ashore with the spring tides.

Nature is all powerful and unpredictable too.  The strength of storm and waves, change on decadal time-scales, and it is also possible that environmental conditions have altered providing the ideal conditions for a fresh build up of sand. It is also possible there has been a change in the supply of sand, much further down the coast.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

7th May 2017.

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