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Examine the processes which have shaped one Irish landform of your


For a landform
1. Name it
2. An example
3. Describe it
4. How is it formed
5. Diagram

Feature: Cliffs and Wave-cut Platforms

Examples: Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare
Downpatrick Head, Co. Mayo

Cliffs are formed by coastal erosion. There are five proccess of erosion
including hydraulic action, compression, abrasion, attrition and
solution. Describe these here. Exposesd land along the coast becomes
eroded at high tide level by destructive wave action. Destructive waves
have a weak swash and a strong backwash. They are responsible for
erosion. The strength of the wave is determined by the distance the
wave travels called the fetch and the strength of the wind. Waves are
more destructive during stormy conditions. As the water lashes the
coastline (hydraulic action), breaking waves compress air in the cracks
and crevices in the rock (compression).

As the waves retreat, this air expands explosively and shatters the
rock. As the cracks and lines develop even more, a notch is formed.
Abrasion now increases in importance as the sea’s land increases in
amount and sand, pebbles and boulders crash against the coastline.
Dependant on the resistance of the rock (differential erosion), the
notch becomes eroded even more and more and eventually the notch
increases in height, width and depth. Over time, the unsupported rock
material above it gives way and collapses to form a cliff.

The continuous formation of notches and under-cutting leads to a
retreat of the cliff and the formation of a wave-cut platform at its
base. The type of cliff slope largely relates to the rock type and how it
is laid down. If the strata are vertical or horizontal, steep cliffs will
develop, while if the strata dip landward or seaward, gently sloping
cliffs will develop. Cliff formation is also influenced by non-marine
factors, for example surface run-off, wind and frost. Soil creep or
landslides can occur if there is a very steep slope.
Can add in blowhole for extra marks.

Labelled diagram should also be included