coastal enviroments

introduction to the coasts topic, including notes on factors that influence the coastline, the three main zones on the coastline and the coastal energy system.

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Coastal environments
The coast is a narrow overlap zone between the land and sea in which the
processes of each operate.
A range of physical processes including erosion, weathering, deposition,
transportation and mass movement (sub aerial) give rise to distinctive
coastal landforms.
The coast is an open energy system. Powered by the energy of waves, tidal
currents and wind.
Factors affecting the coast
Rock type- less or more resistant rock. Less resistant rock erodes quicker.
Clay can cause rotational slump (mass movement)
Relief- morphology (shape) of coast influences what landforms are made.
Shape of seabed influences wave type and therefore influences levels of
Fetch- longer the wave in length the more erosion is likely to take place.
Aspect- direction of prevailing winds and the strength of it.
Type of waves- constructive or destructive
Prevailing winds- influences, erosion and disposition levels.
Tides- high or low tides (do they meet the cliff?) high level tides increase
the erosion of the cliff.
Sea level change
Storm surges
Increase erosion
Can cause the displacement of 1000's of people- Bangladesh home to 170
million people is in a area of which 70% is below sea level.
Causes: global warming, isostatic rebound, thermal expansion.
Human influences
Use and management of coast can create or solve problems
Groynes stop erosion in that certain area but cause further erosion down
the coast.

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Offshore zone
Area of relatively deep water
Wave induced sediment limited in water more than 20metres deep
Nearshore zone
Waves break and move inshore
Travel up the beach as swash and back out to sea as backwash
Area affected by swash/backwash is determined by tidal range and
gradient of Nearshore zone.
Backshore zone
Lies beyond reach of waves
Area of sand dunes and old shingle ridges.…read more


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