Yesterday I visited Sand Dollar Beach, near Lunenburg, with the kids. There's lots of room to run around: the beach has a 400 m wide foreshore, which means lots of shallow water at high tide (as in the Google Maps picture here). The low angle (less than half a degree) also sees the tide go in and out very quickly, allowing little time for reworking the delicate ripples. Their preservation is further helped by the fact that the waves along this sheltered coast are typically low-amplitude.

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At the edge of the just-visible stream cutting through the beach, the regular wave ripples, produced by oscillating currents, morph into more chaotic linguiod current ripples (right-hand side, mostly obscured by the stream). I can't say for sure, but the pattern may have been modified by animal tracks (deer, dog, dude?) during some previous low tide.

As I posted before, I am interested in the persistence of patterns across scales and even processes. For instance, this view (right) reminded me of blogger Silver Fox's recent post about the Basin and Range caterpillar army. An entirely different process: parallel morpholution.

If you look closely at the Google Map, above, you can see dim duneforms in the shallows, as a series of sub-parallel dark stripes. They echo the ripples in orientation and process, but have a wavelength of about 30 m. If you can't see them maybe this annotated version will help.

I would not claim to be an expert in the feeding traces of invertebrates, but I love taking pictures of them. I think the animals grazing in the cusps of these ripples were Chiridotea coeca, a tiny crustacean. You can read (a lot) more about them in Hauck et al (2008), Palaios 23, 336–343. According to these authors, such trails may be modern analogs of a rather common trace fossil called Nereites