I live within walking distance of Del Monte beach in Crow City, USA (Also known as Monterey, California).

I enjoy scouring the beach for interesting-looking stones, seashells, and bits of seaworn colored glass fragments.

It seems to me that "my" beach is more fruitful than other beaches / your typical, run-of-the-mill beach. Every time I go, it's different, depending on the wave action from the previous night, but there are usually at least a couple of good "rock fields" as I call them through which to sift for sightly souvenirs.

On some occasions there are several sand dollars, but usually none; one some occasions, there are several beaches dead animals (birds, seals) but usually none; sometimes quite a bit of "sea glass" but usually very little if any. Oftentimes there are a lot of pieces of "holey" rocks (light in weight, either light or dark grey rocks with perforations in them, but their relative abundance differs from visit to visit.

I believe Monterey Bay is quite deep and that the dropoff is pretty dramatic - does this have anything to do with the generosity of the Pacific in this particular spot? It seems that the opposite would take place - since the material to be deposited comes from quite a depth (assumedly) it would take a lot to belch it forth.

Does the variability of material depend on which spot, or which depth of the ocean floor is being scoured with a particular storm / series of waves?

Note: after an unusually heavy amount of erosion of sand (when the sea "takes more than it gives" such as Saturday night, which I noticed Sunday morning) there are also more "treasure hunters" (cats with geiger counters) out on the beach. What are they seeking - lost rings and such, which are closer to the surface after the waves strip away some of the topsand?

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    You're asking at least two questions here. Your Note at the end is a separate and distinct question. Recommend splitting them off and clearing it up. May 30, 2016 at 18:42
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    I'd say those treasure hunters use metal detectors and not geiger counters. If they were actually using geiger counters (and finding things) you would have something to worry about as a nearby resident.
    – Pere
    Jan 13, 2019 at 15:42

1 Answer 1


In my experience, beaches that are less protected are the ones which have the most items washing up on them. For example, in Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island, many items arrive from Japan because there is no land in between those places, whereas on the east side of the island, there is almost nothing washing up from Japan because there is so much land in the way of the open ocean. It is also to do with the currents there, and where they are bringing stuff from. Also, bigger storms wash up stuff that was sitting, so if there is a big storm there is more on the beach, from what I have seen.

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