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Shore Processes

Shore Processes

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Discussion of the classification and shore processes from the point of view of a geomorphologist
Discussion of the classification and shore processes from the point of view of a geomorphologist

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: Dr.Thrivikramji.K.P. on Aug 29, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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SHORE PROCESSESDr. Thrivikramji.K.P.thrivikramji@gmail.com Introduction
The shoreline, meeting place of all the three earth spheres and embedded biosphere, ismost dynamic of all environments and as a consequence, the shores and beaches of the seas and very large lakes had attracted humans not only for recreation, but also for launching sites of trade, commerce and war. Naturally huge population¶s centers havegrown to become very large metropolises of today. According to a recent estimate asmuch as 2/3 of the world population lives in towns and cities located along the coastaltract. Obviously, in addition to the natural processes inherent to the shoreline, to a largedegree of human intrusions have also taken place for which the response of the systemis quite harming.In any process several components will partake, and in here i.e., shore processes, theyare land mass of the backshore, wave and currents in the water covered sea andocean, sediment sitting at the sea bed as well as the endless ribbon of it marking theshoreline, and in the ancient backshore and wave and tide generated currents.Understanding of the shore processes is critical to the areas of defense, navigation, oilexploration, fisheries, trade and commerce and tourism.
Coastal classification
Unlike ordinary mortals, Geoscientist¶s attraction to the coasts led to proposals onclassification of coasts from time to time (Johnson, 1919; Cotton, 1952; Shepard 1963;Valentine , Putnam et. al. 1960 and Inman and Nordstrom, 1971). Earlier classificationswere primarily based on recent relative changes in sea level and its manifestation onthe appearance of coastal land, viz., emerging coasts and submerging coasts andneutral coasts. They also identified two subclasses like deltaic and reef coasts.Shepard (1963) also added that many coasts show evidences of both emergence andsubmergence. In their recent proposal on coastal classification, Inman and Nordstrom(1971), both coastal tectonics and morphology have been reckoned with (Table 1)wherein 5 differentTable 1. Morphologic and Tectonic classification of coasts (Inman and Nordstrom, 1971)(all numbers in percent)Morphologicclass1.Collisioncoast2. Trailing coast 3.MarginalseacoastNeo Afro AmeroMountainous 97.2 8.0 -- -- 2.5Narrow shelf hilly-- 75.1 14.1 -- 5.6Narrow shelf plain-- 15.0 46.2 1.5 --Wide shelf -- -- 4.0 89.3 3.1
plainWide shelf hilly-- -- -- 2.2 77.4Deltaic coast -- 1.0 3.4 1.3 5.8Reef coast -- -- 3.0 1.9 5.6Glacial coast 2.8 -- 29.3. 3.8 --Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0Percentage 39.0 4.6 7.5 35.2 8.1categories have been included. Based on plate tectonic two types, viz., collision andtrailing coasts have been recognized. Under collision coasts two categories have beensuggested.Table 2. Types of coasts1. Mountain coasts:Shelf width <50.0 km.- Max. elevation 300.0 m ± rocky cliffs & pocket beaches ±evolve to hilly coast, and the sub-categories are:.a) Narrow shelf hilly coast: shelf width <50 km ± Max elevation of hills <300.0m ± occasional headlands, backshore cliffs or smaller hills ± occasionalbarriers, lagoons, bay mouth bars, a.k.a. plateau coast if relief iscontinuous .b) Narrow shelf plain coast: shelf width <50 km ± shore zone deposits lessextensive- occasional low sea cliffs and low head lands.c) Wide shelf plain coast: shelf width >50 km ± low lying coastal plain ±bordered by wide shore zone ± barrier beaches of some kind. E.g., Amero-trailing edge shore zoned) Wide shelf hilly coast: shelf width > 50 km. ± wide apart headlands ± wider shore zone ± low seacliffs - more barrier beaches ± grade into plaincoast.2. Deltaic coast: Ancient or modern riverine deposits ± low lying coastal bulges extending 50 km.or more along the coast ± gross features unaffected by wave erosion3. Reef coast:Shore zone with reefs of organic origin ± fringing and level out of shore line or barrier reef. .4. Glaciated coasts:Dominated by glacial erosional features like fjords and precipitous cliffs.Geologically, coastal zone of India is characterized by rocks very differing geologicalages, i.e., from Proterozoic to Recent. Though, classically coasts of India did attractonly scant attention of the geoscientists, where ever it occurred a mention of either submerging or emerging type was made. This scenario went through a revolution bythe release of LANDSAT imageries to the Indian geological scene and this new tool
offered a newer and reliable picture of the tectonic make up of the Indian landmass,including the coasts paving the way of tectonics to enter the realm of coastal geologicalstudies. .Following the scheme of classification of Inman and Nordstrom (1971) based ontectonics and morphology, most of the Indian coasts will fall under one of their severalcategories. For example the TN coasts have segments of salt marshes, coral reefs,deltas, narrow shelf plain coast, wide shelf plain coast and narrow shelf hilly coast andwide shelf hilly coast. The coastal land of TN is typically a one with narrow or wide shelf Table 3 Characteristics of shore zoneErosional coasts Depositional coasts Organic coastsSea cliffs, Stacks and river erosion during past low sealevel standsBeaches, Barriers, spits,modified glacial deposits,River deltas and coastaldunesCoral and algal reefs,Mangroves and saltmarsheshilly and plain coasts and deltaic coast. Coastal land at Mahalipuram and Kudankulamand Kanyakumari can also be good examples of a wide shelf hilly coast. In fact, theland mass of TN has witnessed relatively large shifts of shore line in the Tertiary era aswell as in Holocene. The marine terraces of Kanyakumari, sedimentary structural faciesof Melemanakkudi and Kudankulam, the sedimentary motifs of Manappad, beach rockoccurrences etc are some compelling examples of neotectonics.
Physiography of TN
Based on physiography, State of TN is divided into three segments, viz., highland(chiefly underlain by P
crystalline rocks and their altered equivalents), inland plains(large and expansive pediments commonly underlain by older crystalline rocks) andcoastal plain (chiefly a region partly dominated by sedimentary fills of Cretaceous andearly Tertiary ages and ancient beach alluviam moulded into dunes, interdune plains,and sand-sheets). Most of the coastal plain forms a cardinal part of the coastal zone.
Coastal zone (CZ)
 Due to the huge significance of the land edging the shore due to the inbuilt advantagesas well as the risks, almost all littoral nations have mandated and embarked on aCoastal Zone Management (CZM) Program. Table-1 is a subdivision of the CZ. Thesedays, after the devastating tsunami Dec.24, 2004, coastal zone has assumed hugeimportance in the minds of public and politicians alike due to the vulnerability of the landarea along with its people and materials. The chief aim of such a program is thescientific management by suitable interventions in this zone for the welfare and benefitof all players (settlement and utilization sans large scale long or short term adverseresponses).Table 4: Coastal zone ± divisions, limits & attributesDivisions Limits Attributes

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