How to Read a Florida Gulf Coast Beach

How to Read a Florida Gulf Coast Beach -- A Guide to Shadow Dunes, Ghost Forests, and Other Telltale Clues from an Ever-Changing Coast

Come explore the geology of Florida's Gulf Coast beaches, from a bird's-eye view down to a crab's-eye view. You'll journey from Panhandle sugar-sand beaches to southwestern shell beaches, taking a fresh look at the ever-changing landscape. With Tonya Clayton as your guide, you'll learn how to recognize the stories and read the clues of these dynamic shores, reshaped daily by winds, waves, and sometimes bulldozers or dump trucks.

This dynamic tour begins with a broad description of Florida's Gulf Coast, roaming from popular Perdido Key in the northwest to remote Cape Sable in the south. You'll first fly over large-scale coastal features such as the barrier islands, learning to spot signs of the many processes that shape the shores. In subsequent chapters you'll visit dunes and beaches to check out sand ripples, tracings, and other markings that show the handiwork of beach breezes, ocean waves, animal life, and even raindrops and air bubbles. You'll also encounter signs of human shaping, including massive boulder structures and sand megatransfers. With a conversational style and more than a hundred illustrations, How to Read a Florida Gulf Coast Beach makes coastal science accessible, carrying vacationers and Florida natives alike on a lively, informative tour of local beach features.

Dr. Tonya Clayton is a freelance science writer, editor and Florida Master Naturalist Program graduate.

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