How many grains of sand are on a beach?

Ever wanted to know how many grains of sand there are on an entire beach? Well, researchers have just started counting on a stretch of sand in Cornwall, England.

The team from England, America and Australia is using a 40m beach to assess coastal erosion with more than 100 state-of-the-art instruments that record water levels, flow speeds, rates of sand movement and beach change.

The project of counting the sand grains will be carried out until October 22 and the results will be analysed to determine whether coastal erosion is causing beaches to shrink or be displaced.

Prof Gerd Masselink, of Plymouth University, said: ‘This very comprehensive field experiment has been five years in the making and will provide new fundamental knowledge on how sand moves on beaches.

‘This information will help develop computer models of sediment transport and coastal  erosion and will improve predictions of how beaches respond to climate change.’

The instruments will be deployed from a 40m scaffold structure inserted at the high-tide level.

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