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Coastal Landscapes


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Fetch
The distance a wave has travelled from its beginning to the coast where it breaks.
Wavelength
The distance between one crest of a wave and the next one.
Crest
The top of a wave.
Prevailing wind
The normal direction the wind blows from, it impacts the normal wave direction and can affect longshore drift and erosion rates.
Coastal retreat
The rate at which land is disappearing due to coastal erosion.
Tide
The rising and falling of the sea twice daily caused by the moon and sun.
Swash
The forward movement of a wave up a beach.
Backwash
The backward movement of water down a beach when a wave has broken.
Constructive
A powerful wave with a strong swash that surges up a beach.
Destructive
A wave formed by a local storm that crashes down onto a beach and has a powerful backwash.
Erosion
Wearing away of the land
Hydraulic action
The sheer power of the waves forcing into cracks, compressing air and breaking the rocks apart.
Abrasion
The effect of rocks being flung at the cliff by powerful waves and rubbing the cliffs away.
solution
The dissolving of rocks such as limestone and chalk.
Attrition
The knocking together of pebbles, making them gradually smaller and smoother.
Chemical Weathering
Break down of rocks in situ by changes in rock mineral composition, often by rain and water.
Biological weathering
Break down of rocks in situ by plants and animals burrowing into and weakening the rock.
Mechanical weathering
Break down of rock in situ by physical processes caused by changes in temperature (freeze thaw, exfoliation(heat expansion)).
Sliding
Slabs of rock slide down the slope by gravity. Often along a bedding plane.
Slumping
Saturated soils and weak rock flow down the slope, often where there is permeable rock on top of impermeable rock.
Mass movement
Movement of large amounts weakened rock / soil down a slope.
Rock fall
When rock from a weathered cliff falls down, often when rock at the base of a cliff has been eroded.
Transportation
Movement of material and sediment along the coast.
Traction
Heavy particles rolled along the seabed.
Solution
The transport of dissolved chemicals.
Saltation
A hopping movement of pebbles along the seabed.
Suspension
Lighter particles carried (suspended) within the water.
Longshore drift
The transport of sediment along a stretch of coastline caused by waves approaching the beach at an angle.
Gravity
Natural force which drags water back down a beach.
Deposition
The dropping of transported sediment and material when waves lose energy.
Beach
A deposit of sand or shingle at the coast, often found in a bay.
Geology
The make up and type of rocks around the coast that influence landforms.
faults
Weaknesses or joints in the rock that make erosion more likely.
More resistant rock
Hard rock which take more time to erode. Often metamorphic or igneous rock types.
Less resistant rock
Softer rocks which are easier to erode, often sedimentary.
Discordant
Rocks that lie perpendicular to the coast, often resulting in headlands and bays.
concordant
Rocks that lie parallel to the coast.
Headland
Land protruding (sticking out) into the sea. Often more resistant rock.
Bay
A broad coastal inlet often with a beach. Often less resistant rock.
Wave cut notch
A small indentation (or notch) cut into a cliff roughly at the level of high tide caused by concentrated marine erosion at this level.
Cave
A hollowed out feature at the base of an eroding cliff.
arch
A headland that has been partly broken through by the sea to form a thin roofed arch.
Wave cut platform
A very gently sloping rock shelf caused by erosion at the base of cliffs
stack
An isolated pinnacle of rock sticking out of the sea.
spit
A finger of new land made of sand or shingle, jutting out into the sea from the coast
Salt marsh
Low-lying coastal wetland mostly extending between high and low tide. Often found behind a spit.
Bay bar
A spit that as grown across a bay to join two headlands.
Sustainable coastal management
An integrated coastal management plan for a stretch of coastline in England and Wales.
Urbanisation
Use of land for towns, villages and settlements.
Agriculture
Use of land for farming.
Industry
Use of land for business or manufacturing.
Hard engineering
Building artificial structures such as sea walls aimed at controlling natural processes.
Soft engineering
A sustainable approach to managing the coast which out using artificial structures
Managed retreat
Allowing controlled flooding of low lying coastal areas or cliff collapse in areas where the value of the land is low.
Sea walls
Concrete or rock barrier built at top of beach to reflect wave energy.
Groynes
Timber or rock structures built out to sea to create a bigger beach by trapping sediment.
Rip rap
Piles of large boulders dumped at the foot of a cliff to absorb wave energy.
Beach nourishment
The man made addition of sand and sediment to a beach to make it bigger.
Offshore reefs
Large rocks placed out to sea to break waves further out and reduce wave energy hitting the land.
Dawlish Warren
A spit in South Devon which has formed at the mouth of the River Exe.