The following is a map unit description from the "Soil Survey of Norfolk and Suffolk Counties, Massachusetts (Peragallo, 1989)"

Be-Beaches. This map unit consists of areas of sand and gravel along the shoreline of Massachusetts Bay. The areas are subject to wave action and, in some places, tidal flooding. They are long and narrow in shape, and follow the contour of the coastline, inlets, and bays. They range from 5 to 50 acres. Slopes are short and range from 0 to 8 percent.

Typically, Beaches consist of deep marine deposits of sand derived from granite. Some areas have a gravelly or cobbly surface. Many beaches in the Boston Basin are covered with fragments of dark, flat shale and slate.

Included with this unit in mapping are areas of Udorthents, smooth, and areas of Urban land. Also included are areas of old sand dunes that have been leveled for development. Some areas have rock outcrops. Included areas make up about 5 percent of the map unit.

  • Soil properties:
  • Permeability: Rapid or very rapid.

    Available water capacity: Very low.

    Tidal flooding: Low areas are subject to daily wave action. High areas are subject to storm tides.

    Most areas of Beaches do not have vegetation and are in intensive use for summer bathing and related kinds of recreation. The few areas that are sparsely covered with beach grass and beach shrubs are suited to use as sites for shore bird nesting. Beaches are generally not suitable for most other uses.

    This map unit has not been assigned to a capability subclass.

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