By Stella A. Stiegeler BSc (eds.)

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They do this by a process that involves surface turbulence at a time when the waves or swell have become unstable and break. Usually this is because of their encountering very shallpw water, but it may also be due to their meeting with opposing currents or wind. This complete breakdown of waves or swell must not be confused with breaking seas or so-called white horses, in which there is only partial collapse, at sea, of wave crests. The breaker zone is characteristically wide off gently sloping coasts and relatively narrow off steeply shelving coasts.

A beach of coarse sand, having a steeper gradient than one of finer material, will develop a berm more rapidly, since wave action is restricted to a narrower width of beach. See also beach ridge. beryl. A hexagonal mineral of composition BeJAhSi601s found in granitic rocks and *pegmatites. Beryl is white to pale green in colour. The gem variety aquamarine is bluish green. The bright green variety is emerald, found mainly in metamorphic rocks. bifurcation ratio. The quantitative relationship between *stream orders, expressed as the number of streams of one order divided by the number of streams of the next highest order.

Off low coasts, barriers are often in the form of barrier islands, the lagoonal areas behind being of the mangrove type in warm sea regions and of the salt-marsh type or even devoid of vegetation in the case of temperate or cold sea regions. S. and the Gulf of Mexico coast, carry dunes. Most sand and shingle barriers are destined to overwash, even breaching on occasions during severe storms. The more common sandy barriers are formed by the continued activity of *constructive waves, which can progressively build up material above water level.

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