costal landforms


Headlands and bays

Bands of softer rock (e.g. clay) are eroded fater than harder rock (e.g. chalk) either side of them. THe soft rock is eroded and causes the land to curve inwards forming a bay while the hard rock doesn't erode as fast so sticks out into the sea forming a headland.

These form along discordant coastlines (where rocks lie perpendicular to the sea)

UK example - Swanage

Cliffs and wave cut platforms

Waves erode the base of a cliff, and over time this will undercut the cliff forming a wave cut notch. The rocks above the wave cut notch become unstable and collapse causing the cliff to retreat. Backwash will carry away the eroded material, leaving a wave cut platform where the cliff used to be. This repeats and the cliff continues to retreat.

UK example - Flamborough, Holderness coast

Caves, arches, stacks and stumps

  • Cracks are formed in a headland (due to hydraulic action and abrasion)
  • Erosion continues on the crack until it opens up to become a cave 
  • The cave is continually eroded until the waves


No comments have yet been made