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highest part of wave


lowest part of wave

wave height

vertical distance between trough and crest


time a wave takes to go by any given point


distance between wave crests or troughs

wind speed

increases size of waves

wind duration

increases size of waves


span of open water over which the wind blows

deep water waves

depth greater than 1/2 wavelength, ideal shape, offshore, dont break

shallow water waves

depth less than 1/2 wavelength, friction causes shape to change, drag on bottom, break on beach

wave energy translated onto beaches, which causes

erosion, accretion


water rushing onto beach


water rushing off beach

factors affecting wind wave size

wind velocity, wind duration, fetch, state of sea

biologcal significance

aeration, erosion/accretion, habitat changes

high energy means

large particle

low energy means

small particles

3 types of breaking waves

plunging breakers, spilling breakers, surging breakers

plunging breakers

moderately sloped beach, wave curls forming tube, good surfing waves

spilling breakers

gentle slope, wave breaks slowly over long distance, crest spills over front of wave; Gulf of Mexico

surging breakers

steep slope, breaks/rolls right onto beach, destructive

what wave type is in SC

plunging breakers

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