Formation of coastal landforms

This is my attempt on an essay for the formation of coastal landforms

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Saiganesh Kanu Lim
Geography Essay: Examine the formation of coastal landforms associated
with either erosional or depositional processes
In this essay I will be discussing the formation of coastal land forms associated with erosional
processes. Erosion is the gradual breakdown of rock due to movement and energy acting on the
surface. The main types of erosion that are the causes of the formation of coastal land forms are
Hydraulic action, Abrasion, Corrasion, Attrition.
It will be helpful if I firstly explain the meaning of these terms and describe the actual processes that
are at work.
I will talk about hydraulic action to start off. Hydraulic action contributes most to erosion at the
coast. This is when waves break off at the foot of a cliff and can carry out a significant amount of
erosion. When air is blasted into the cracks caused by hydraulic action in the cliff face, (the process
is named cavitation), loose rocks are dislodged and removed. Gradually, a wavecut notch forms
that is close to the high tide line, leading to undercutting of the cliff. This will lead to further retreat of
the cliffs and wavecut platforms will be formed. A wave cut platform is a direct indication that
coastal erosion, specifically hydraulic action, has been at work on the cliff faces at the coast.
Abrasion is the sandpapering effect of loose rocks being constantly scraped across outlying rock,
e.g. a wavecut platform. The most obvious sign that would indicate evidence of abrasion at work
would be a smooth and polished look across a region of rock surface. Note: the wear and tear of
most erosional processes is due to the force of friction acting on the surface of rocks.
Corrasion is when rocks trapped in substances such as seaweed get hurled onto a cliff face, which
goes on to cause the surface of the cliff face to be chipped and gauged. Even though this erosional
process does not occur as much of the others it is still a significant cause of erosion.
Attrition is when rocks carried by seaweed bash against each other at considerable force, which
gradually makes them smaller and smaller due to high energies of heat caused by friction.

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Saiganesh Kanu Lim
Now I will discuss how different types of erosional landforms are formed from coastal erosion. The
general most obvious landforms caused by coastal erosion include headlands and bays, cliffs,
stacks and stumps, and wavecut platforms.
Headlands are outcrops of rock from land that protrudes into the sea, and it is common that
between two headlands a sandy bay would be present.…read more


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