GRAND RAPIDS — Recently beach erosion has been an ongoing problem in West Michigan, but what is the science behind why it happens? We have seen some pretty destructive beach erosion all along Lake Michigan so let’s learn about why it happens. Let's get started!
What you need:
- Small container
Step 1: Fill the small container with sand as if you were starting to build a sandcastle at the beach
Step 2: Empty sand onto a plate
Step 3: Take pipette and place several drops of water onto the sand
Step 4: Observe how many drops of water it takes for the sand to start to move
We are watching how erosion can work. We hear about erosion a lot in West Michigan and recently have had really bad problem with beach erosion all along Lake Michigan. Erosion is the process by which the surface of earth is worn away or being eroded by wind, water or other natural agents.
Sand is picked up off the beach and transferred to deeper water. This process makes our beaches appear shorter and lower and sometimes you can even see a sharp drop-off in the sand level.
Beach erosion is caused by currents and waves as the energy pulls the sand away. The whole process is speed up when highs winds are added to the mix. With already high water levels and strong winds throughout last year we’ve had a lot of damage done to our lake shore. The severe erosion like we have seen leads to flooding , building loss and road damage. Typically, coastal communities fight erosion be rebuilding beaches and protecting and restoring sand dunes.
We just created beach erosion. Send our meteorologist Candace Monacelli your pictures doing this experiments at home! She will feature future meteorologists on my Facebook page daily!