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Along a coastline there are features created by erosion. These include cliffs,
wave-cut platforms and wave-cut notches. There are also headlands and bays,
caves, arches, stacks and stumps.
Cliffs, wave-cut platforms and notches
One of the most common features of a
coastline is a cliff. Cliffs are shaped through a
combination of erosion and weathering - the
breakdown of rocks caused by weather
Soft rock, eg sand and clay, erodes easily to
create gently sloping cliffs. Hard rock, eg chalk,
is more resistant and erodes slowly to create steep cliffs.
The erosion of cliffs
The process of cliff erosion
1. Weather weakens the top of the cliff.
2. The sea attacks the base of the cliff forming a wave-cut notch.
3. The notch increases in size causing the cliff to collapse.
4. The backwash carries the rubble towards the sea forming a wave-cut
5. The process repeats and the cliff continues to retreat.
Headlands and bays
Headlands are formed when the sea attacks a section of coast with alternating
bands of hard and soft rock.
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The bands of soft rock, such as sand and clay, erode more quickly than those of
more resistant rock, such as chalk. This leaves a section of land jutting out into the
sea called a headland. The areas where the soft rock has eroded away, next to
the headland, are called bays.
Geology is the study of the types of rocks that make up the Earth's crust.…read more
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Weathering and erosion can create caves, arches, stacks and stumps along a
Caves occur when waves force their way into cracks in the cliff face. The water
contains sand and other materials that grind away at the rock until the cracks
become a cave. Hydraulic action is the predominant process.
If the cave is formed in a headland, it may eventually break through to the other
side forming an arch.…read more