Geography- Coasts

Physical Geography- Coasts

Revision notes, easy to remember facts including references to lots of case studies.

Suitable for all examination boards however case studies (higlighted in blue) are specific to AQA.

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Fetch - the distance of open water over which the wind can blow.
Beach - a deposit of sand or shingle at the coast, often found at the head of a bay.
Crest - the top of a wave.
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 wave - a powerful wave with a strong swash that surges up a beach and
deposits material. Loved by surfers. (Newquay)
Destructive wave - a wave formed by a local storm that crashes down onto a beach and
has a powerful backwash, pulling sand and shingle down the beach.
Waves approaching the cost -
1) Circular orbit in open water
2) Friction with the seabed distorts the circular orbital motion
3) Increasingly elliptical orbit. Top of the wave moves faster.
4) Wave begins to break.
5) Water from previous wave returns. Water rushes up the beach.
Mass movement - is the downhill movement of material under the influence of gravity.
(the landslip at Holbeck Hall, Scarborough)
Rock fall - the collapse of a cliff face or the fall of individual rocks from a cliff. Fragments of
rock break away from the cliff face, often due to freeze-thaw weathering.
Landslide - blocks of rocks slide downhill.
Mudflow - saturated soil and weak rock flows down a slope.
Rotational slip - slump of rock along a curved surface.
Hydraulic power - the sheer power of the waves as they smash into a cliff. Trapped air is
blasted into holes and crack in the rocks (cavitation), eventually causing the rock to break
Corrasion - the effect of rocks being flung at the cliff by powerful waves.
Abrasion - this is the `sandpapering' effect of pebbles grinding over a rocky platform, often
causing it to become smooth.
Solution - the dissolving of rocks, such as limestone and chalk.
Attrition - the knocking together if pebbles, making them gradually smaller and smoother.

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Solution - the transport of dissolved chemicals. Often derived from limestone or chalk.
Suspension - lighter particles carried (suspended) within the water.
Traction - heavy particles rolled along the seabed.
Saltation - a hopping movement of pebbles along the seabed. Particles that are too heavy
to be suspended.
Longshore drift - the transport of sediment along a stretch of coastline caused by waves
approaching the beach at an angle.
Headland - a promontory of land jutting out into the sea.…read more

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Berm - Ridges or berms are common characteristics of a beach. They are small ridges
coinciding with high-tide lines and storm tides. Some beaches may have several berms, each
one representing a different high-tide level. (Berms on a beach at Deal on the Kent coast)
Causes of sea level rise - the main cause is thermal expansion of the seawater. The
melting of ice on the land will also have an effect, however melting sea ice e.g.…read more

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Vegetation succession - a sequence of vegetation species colonising and environment.…read more


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