Sand is both built up and removed from beaches continually. Input from the land, mostly carried by rivers, reaches the shore where it is distributed and sorted by wave and tidal action. Details of volume and shape of sand depend on the geometry of the shoreline, distance the grains travel, energy of the waves, tides, and storms, and other factors. Whether a particular beach is gaining sand or losing sand depends on all those things.
Sand grains may also form from the broken shells of organisms in addition to the typical quartz sand washed into the sea by rivers, so the presence or absence of life affects the nature of sand beaches as well. On the beach itself, plants may stabilize the sand helping it to stay in place in the face of waves and storms.
Sometimes, depending on conditions, beaches erode away without rebuilding the sandy shore. On the Eastern Coastline of the United States for example, the beach recedes 30cm a year and is re-sanded every 7 years at an enormous cost in order to maintain the tourism industry.
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