Cliff Retreat

Cliffs retreat as a result of Erosion, Weathering and Mass Movements

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  • Created by: Annis
  • Created on: 13-03-14 18:27

Wave Cut platforms

1. Most erosion occurs at the bottom of the Cliff (Hydraulic action, attrition, Corrosion etc)

2. The sea erodes the base of the Ciff forming a wave cut notch

3. Chemical and Biological processes weather the top of the Cliff

4. This weakens the top of the cliff, which eventually collapses

5. The rock debris are washed away

6. A smooth wave cut platform is formed

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Cliff Collapses

These are mass movement of lots of material (e.g. rocks) down the cliff.

They happen when the force of gravity acting on a slope is greater than the rock supporting it.

There are 3 types:

1. Slides

Material moves down the cliff in a straight line

2. Slumps

Material moves down the cliff with rotation

3. Rockfalls

Material falls straight down the cliff (vertically)

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Factors for cliff retreat

The rate of Cliff retreat depends on many things for example:

The geology of the cliff:

If the ciff is made of soft rock, it will be eroded more easily than hard rock, so may erode up to several metres a year, whereas hard rock may take hundereds of years


Ciffs covered in vegitation are more stable so they're eroded les quickly and retreat slower.

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Examples of these processes can be found at Beachy Head and Seaford, Sussex

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