Coastal Landscapes-Key Words


Abrasion (or corrasion)

The wearing away of cliffs by sediment flung by breaking waves.


A wave-eroded passage through a small headland. This begins as a cave formed in the headland, which is gradually widened and deepened until it cuts through.


Erosion caused when rocks and boulders transported by waves bump into each other and break up into smaller pieces.


Where a spit grows across a bay, a bay bar can eventually enclose the bay to create a lagoon. Bars can also form offshore due to the action of breaking waves.


The zone of deposited material that extends from the low water line to the limit of the storm waves. The beach or shore can be divided into the foreshore and the backshore.

Beach nourishment

The addition of new material to a beach artificially, through the dumping of large amounts of sand or shingle.

Beach reprofiling

Changing the profile or shape of the beach. It usually refers to the direct transfer of material from the lower to the upper beach or, occasionally, the ransfer of sand down the dune face from crest to toe.


A large hole in the cliff caused by waves forcing their way into cracks in the cliff face.

Chemical weathering

The decomposition (or rotting) of rock caused by a chemical change within the rock; sea water can cause chemical weathering of cliffs.


A steep rock face formed by weathering and erosion along the coastline.


Occurs when material being transported by the sea due to losing energy.

Dune regeneration

Action taken to build up dunes and increase vegetation to strengthen the dunes and prevent excessive coastal retreat. This includes the re-planting of marram grass to stabilise the dunes, as well as planting trees and providing boardwalks.


The wearing away and removal of material by a moving force, such as a breaking wave.


Steel wire mesh filed with boulders used in coastal defences.


A wooden barrier built out into the sea to stop the longshore drift of sand and shingle, and


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