GARY HINCKS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GARY HINCKS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Storm wave formation, artwork. The action of the wind (large blue arrow) and rain on the water's surface causes the surface water to move in circular motions (circular arrows). This motion causes the water below the surface to move in successively smaller circles. When the waves move towards shallower water (yellow arrow) at the coast, the depth of the water becomes smaller than the circular region and the wave breaks. Breaking waves throw material onto a beach and then drag it back, processes known as swash and backwash respectively (red arrows).
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