Geography: The Coastal Zone - Revision Guide

This is the revision guide I made to help me through the Coastal Zone section of AQA GCSE Geography

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  • Created by: Gabby2805
  • Created on: 02-07-14 21:30
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The Coastal Zone
The coastline is where the land meets the sea. Coastlines are dynamic they are
changing all the time. In some areas, the coast is being eroded or worn away,
whilst in others, new land is being deposited or built up.
Waves shape the coastline. The frequency of waves, their power, whether
they're stronger as they rush up the beach or back down the beach, the nature
of the rock type, and the geology, all affect what is going to happen at the
Key terms...
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
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
Constructive wave: a powerful wave with a strong swash that surges up a
Destructive wave: a wave formed by a local storm that crashes down onto a
beach and has a powerful backwash
How waves form...
Waves are usually formed by wind blowing over the sea. Friction with the
surface of the water causes ripples to form and these develop into waves. The
stretch of open water over which the wind blows is called the fetch. The longer
the fetch, the more powerful the wave can become.

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Waves can also be formed more dramatically when earthquakes or volcanic
eruptions shake the seabed. These waves are called tsunamis.
When waves reach the coast...
In the open sea, despite the wavy motion of the water surface, there is little
horizontal transfer of water. It is only when the waves approach the shore that
there is forward movement of water as waves break and wash up the beach.
The seabed interrupts the circular orbital movement of the water.…read more

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Destructive waves are formed by local storms close to the coast. They are so
named because they `destroy' the beach. Destructive waves are closely spaced
and often interfere with each other, producing a chaotic, swirling mass of water.
They rear up to form towering waves before crashing down onto the beach.
There is little forward motion (swash) when a destructive wave breaks, but
powerful backwash. This explains the removal of sediment and the
destruction of the beach.…read more

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Erosion is when the rocks are broken down and carried away by something.
When a wave crashes down on a beach or smashes against a cliff, it carries
the out the process of erosion. There are several types of coastal erosion...
Hydraulic power: this involves the sheer power of the waves as they smash
onto a cliff. Trapped air is blasted into holes and cracks in the rock, eventually
causing the rock to break apart.…read more

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Repeated erosion and enlargement of the
cracks causes a cave to form. Continued erosion deepens the cave until it
breaks through the headland, forming an arch. Erosion continues to wear away
the rock supporting the arch, until it eventually collapses. This forms a stack ­
an isolated rock that is separate from the headland. When this erodes even
more, the rock becomes so
small that it becomes a stump.…read more

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The four other processes of transportation:
Traction: large particles like boulders are pushed along the seabed by the
force of the water
Suspension: small particles like silt and clay are
carried along in the water
Saltation: pebblesized particles are bounced
along the seabed by the force of the water
Solution: soluble materials dissolve in the water
and are carried along
Coastal Deposition:
Deposition is when material being carried by the sea water is dropped on the
coast.…read more

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Shingle beaches: steep and narrow. Shingle particles are large and the weak
backwash can't move them back down the beach. The shingle particles build
up and create a steep slope.
Coastal Landforms caused by Deposition:
Spits are just like beaches that stick out into the sea and they are joined to the
coast at one end. If a spit sticks out so far that it connects with another bit of the
mainland, it forms a bar. Spits and bars are formed by longshore drift.
Spits...…read more

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Melting ice: the melting of ice on land causes water that's stored as ice to return
to the oceans. This increases the volume of water in the oceans and causes
sea levels to rise.
Heating oceans: increased global temperatures cause the oceans to get
warmer and expand. This increases the volume of water, causing sea level to
The impacts of coastal flooding...…read more


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