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MANAGING COASTAL

ENVIRONMENTS
SYLLABUS CONTENT
REMEMBER
In your exam you are also required to write a 25 mark essay question in part B
You can choose between writing an essay on coasts OR an essay on rivers
You will not write an essay on cold environments, only the shorter questions in part A,
which are compulsory

COASTS: UNIT 1: What processes and factors are
responsible for distinctive coastal landforms?
Weathering, erosion, transportation and deposition give rise to
distinctive types of coastal landforms
These processes are influenced by a range of factors, which
vary from place to place.


For a case study example (a stretch of coastline), illustrate
a range of features associated with coastal erosion;
a range of features associated with coastal deposition;
the processes responsible for these features, including wave
action and sub-aerial processes;
the factors affecting the development of these features including
rock type and structure, aspect and sea-level change.
The
nature
of
coasts
HUMAN ACTIVITIES
- intervention into natural
systems
- use of land for development
SEA
- coastal (maritime) ecosystems
- wave and energy direction
-size and type of wave
-local currents and longshore drift
-tidal changes
- water depth
- offshore sedimetnts
LAND
shape of the coastline
relief of the land
presence/lack of a beach
structure of the coast
resistance of the rocks
sub-aerial processes
river sediments
coastal (land) ecosystems)
WEATHER & CLIMATE
wind strength and
duration
rainfall and temperature
strorms and surges

Waves are the main source of energy along the coasts, being
created either when winds blow for great distances over the
surface of the sea as the drag effect creates a swell (swell waves)
or when local weather conditions produce storm waves. Exposed
coastlines such as those found in the southwest of England,
experience waves whose fetch began several thousand of
kilometers away.

UNDERSTANDING WAVE FORMATION
http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/understanding-wave-formation/4018.html

1) How do waves form?

2) What factors affect the amount of energy the wave will have?

3) What happens when the wave reaches shallow water?

4) what do the terms swash and backwash refer to

5) What is a constructive wave? What type of beaches do they form? Give a case study
example

6) What is a destructive wave? What type of beaches do they form? Give a case study
example
Wave fetch: The distance of open water over which a wave has
passed. Maximum fetch is the distance from one coastline to the
next landmass, it often coincides with prevailing wind direction
(South West in the UK).

Wave crest: Highest point of a wave.
Wave trough: Lowest point of a wave.
Wave height: Distance between trough and crest.
Wave length: Distance between one crest/trough and the next.

Swash: Water movement up a beach.
Backwash: Water movement down a beach.
ANIMATION
http://www.wiley.com/college/strahler/0471480533/animations/ch19_animations/
animation2.html

WAVES IN
PLANFORM
- From above
out in open water = little horizontal movement of ocean water (bulk of the motion is up and
down or vertical)

Approaches the coastline = increasing contact with the shelving sea bed = exerts a frictional
force on the base of the wave.
changes the normal circular orbit of the wave into an elliptical orbit.

closer and closer to the coast = impact of friction grows => top of the wave moving faster than
the base

critical point is reached - top of the wave (the CREST) curves over and creates a breaking
wave.

http://www.curriculumbits.com/prodimages/details/geography/geo0003.
html

Coastal erosion
Erosion = the wearing away of rock, stones and soils by rivers, waves
the wind or glaciers
Weathering = the breakdown of rock in situ (in place) due to exposure
to the atmosphere
The processes of erosion, transport and deposition at the coast are similar to the
processes in fluvial environments. There are five types of coastal erosion.

1. Hydraulic action
2. Corrasion (abrasion
3. Attrition
4. Corrosion (solution)
5. Biological action
http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/geography/coasts/coastal_processes_rev3.shtml

Mass movement - mass movement is particularly active at the
coast because undercutting of rocks by the sea makes them
unstable. There are two basic types.

Rockfalls occur when the waves undercut the cliffs and weathering loosens pieces of
rocks on the cliff face. Rockfalls are most common on cliffed coastlines with resistant
rocks such as chalk or limestone
Landslips occur when rocks become saturated with water. The slip is triggered by
undercutting by the waves or by loading by heavy rain. The saturated material flows out
from the base of the cliff to form a tongue of mud
Sub-aerial processes
Sub-aerial processes are those processes which operate at the coast but do not
involve direct contact with the sea. Material is loosened and made more
vulnerable by sub-aerial weathering and mass movement.

Salt weathering - sea spray enters cracks. Later the water evaporates to leave crystals
of salt. Further evaporation enlarges the crystals. The growing crystal exerts force on
the rock. The rate of salt weathering is most rapid in well-jointed rocks.

Frost shattering - rain-water or sea-water enters cracks. Later the water freezes to ice
and expands. This exerts extra pressure on the rocks and makes cracks become larger.
Thawing of the ice allows the water to trickle into the new cracks. The rate of frost
shattering is most rapid in well-jointed rocks. Frost shattering is slower than inland
because sea-water freezes at a lower temperature than freshwater. Furthermore, frost
is less likely at the coast than inland.

Wetting and drying - water enters sediments and causes expansion. The sediment
contracts when it dries out. Repeated wetting and drying causes stress fractures in
some rocks, such as clay and shale.

Other processes of weathering - hydration, hydrolysis, carbonation and biological
weathering may also occur at the coast.

RATE OF EROSION OF
THE COASTLINE IS
AFFECTED BY
The resistance of
the coast to erosion
(erodibility).
the force of the
waves (erosivity)
What
determines
the force of
the waves?

Breaking
point of the
wave
Shape of
coastline
Fetch of the
wave
Type of
wave
Gradient of
the sea-bed
What
determines
the resistance
of the coast
to erosion?

Mechanical
strength of
rocks
Chemical
composition
of rock
Jointing Vegetation
Human
protection
LANDFORMS ASSOCIATED WITH COASTAL EROSION CASE STUDY - ORKNEY
North East Scotland

477m above sea level
(max)

Large central island,
70 smaller islands
LANDFORMS ASSOCIATED WITH COASTAL EROSION CASE STUDY - ORKNEY
Mostly made up of
sedimentary
sandstones
(distinctive layers in
the cliffs)