The Sea

Creator and Destroyer

The action of the sea
• The sea is constantly changing the shape
of our coastline.

• This is happening because waves, like
rivers, erode, transport, and deposit material.

• Waves move material along our coastline.

Why do waves break on the Shoreline?

• Waves are made because of friction
between the wind and the surface of the sea.

• The size of the wave depends on 2 things.
1. The strength of the wind. 2. The length of the sea (fetch).


This is called the backwash. • Backwash – When the water runs out of speed it stops and it flows back down the beach into the sea.Waves – Swash & Backwash • Swash – As the wave reaches the shore it breaks. . The white foamy water that flows up the beach is called the Swash.

Constructive waves • They have a strong Swash which transports and deposits material on the beach. • As a result they construct/add material to the beach. • They have a weak Backwash which does not carry much material back to the sea. .

Constructive Waves .

. there is a lot of erosion and they destroy/destruct the coastline.Destructive waves • They have a weak Swash. • Therefore. • They have a very strong Backwash which wears away and carries away material form the beach.

Destructive Waves .

Sea Erosion • Sea erosion is caused by Destructive 1. . Hydraulic Action Air Compression Abrasion Attrition waves. 3. 2. 4. They erode the coast in 4 ways.

Hydraulic Action – this is the power of the water hitting the coastline. 2. As the waves retreat the trapped air expand quickly and can crack the rock. Air Compression – The waves trap air in crack in the rocks.Sea Erosion 1. .

Abrasion – this is erosion caused by small rocks carried in the sea water hitting against the coastline. Attrition – this is erosion caused by the small stones hitting each other breaking themselves into smaller pieces. .Sea Erosion 3. 4.

3. sea arch. These include. sea stump Blowhole . 1.Landforms of Sea Erosion • Like rivers. 2. sea stack. 4. the sea creates many features or landforms as a result of erosion. Cliffs Bays and Headlands Sea caves.

Cliffs of Moher. The material that falls into the sea form the cliff is called a wave cut platform. Clare.Cliffs • As the waves break onto the coast they cut a • • • notch into the rock.g. . When the notch gets deeper the overhanging rock collapses. Co. This process continues and the coastline retreats inland. E.


The harder rocks are eroded slowly and so they stick out into the sea E.g. • A headland is a piece of land jutting out into the • • • • sea. Bays and headlands form when there are different types of rocks occur along the coastline. Dublin Bay & Howth Head . The softer rocks are eroded quickly creating a bay.Bays and Headlands • A bay is wide deep opening into the coastline.

Bays and Headlands .

Stacks & Blowholes . Arches.Caves.

. • The waves erode a weak point (soft rock or an area with cracks/joints) in the cliffs.Sea Cave • A sea cave is a tunnel or passage at the base of a cliff. This forms a passage called a cave.

• This can happen when a cave is eroded deep into headland. .Sea Arch • A sea arch is a passage that runs completely through the headland. or if two caves on either side of the headland are eroded and join up to form a complete passage.

• When sea arches are eroded further they become wider. • This is a sea stack. .Sea Stack and sea stumps • A sea stack is a pillar of rock standing in the water near the coast. It will be further eroded by the sea to form a sea stump. • Their roof collapses leaving a piece of land isolated from the coast.

The Two Pistols. E. Sea spray spurts out of the opening during stormy weather. This rock collapses over time forming a passageway called a blowhole. The pressure created cracks and loosens rock in the roof of the cave. Co. • • • . Donegal.g. Compress air is trapped in the cave by strong waves.Blowhole • A blowhole is a passage from a cave up to the • surface of a cliff top.

Caves. Arches. Stacks & Blowholes .

The load is made up of sand.Transport by the Sea • We have already learned that rivers transport material (sand. pebbles. . clay). silt. • The sea also has a load which it transports along. This is called the rivers load. stones. and mud.

They do this in two ways.Transport by the Sea • Waves are responsible for transporting the load. Up and down the shore by the Swash and the Backwash. • 1. Along the shore by a process known as Longshore Drift. • 2. .

• The swash will transport material up onto the beach. • The backwash will transport material back down the beach towards the sea. .Swash and Backwash • We have already looked at the processes of swash and backwash.

• . then the backwash brings it back down to the sea in a straight line. • This occurs when waves approach the beach at • an angle. The swash. This process continues and the load is moved along in a zig zag pattern. The swash brings material up onto the beach.Longshore Drift • Longshore drift moves material along the beach. again moving in at an angle will move the material further across the beach.


• Like river deposition which we have already studied. or very gently sloping shoreline. .Deposition by the Sea • The sea deposits (drops off) some of its load in sheltered places where the waves have less energy. sea deposition also creates features or landforms. • This may occur in a bay.

4. 5. Beaches Sand Dunes Sand spits Tombolo Lagoons . 3.Landforms of Sea Deposition • Sea deposition creates the following features along our coastlines. 2. 1.

Beaches .

stays on the beach because the weak backwash cannot carry it back to the sea. Co. when the swash is very powerful. Some of this material. • • • . Wexford. and the lighter sand close to the water. sandy beach. especially the heavier material. with the heavier materials furthest from the water. For this reason we say that beach material is sorted. it can force heavy stones high up onto the beach where they remain to form a storm beach.g. The backwash carries only lighter sand particles back down towards the beach.Beach • A beach is made of sand and shingle (small stones) which • are deposited by the waves. During storms. The swash carries material up onto the beach. Curracloe. E.

• Wind dries sand on the beach making it lighter. Dublin.g. • The sand builds up to form hills of sand which are sand dunes. . Portmarnock. The sand is then blown inland until it is trapped by a wall or vegetation. • E. Co.Sand Dunes • Sand dunes are hills of sand which form above the high tide level.

Tombolo.Spits. Bars. Lagoon .

g.Sand Spit • A sand spit is a ridge of sand or shingle which • • • extends out into the sea. . Co. Waterford. This material builds up over time and rise above the sea water. Tramore. Longshore drift moves material along the beach. When it reaches a shallow bay the waves have less energy and they deposit some of the load on the sea bed. It is connected to the land at one end. E.

. • E. • A tombolo is formed when a sand spit occurs linking an island to the coastline rather than stretching across a bay. At Howth. Dublin. Co.g.Tombolo • A tombolo is a ridge of sand or shingle which connects an island to the coastline.

. E.Lagoon • A lagoon is a body of water cut off from the sea • • • by a sand spit. When a sand spit is formed it stretches out across a bay. Co. Lough Gill. It may eventually reach the other side of the bay closing off the water behind it. Kerry. This water forms a saltwater lake called a lagoon.g.

Spits. Bars. Lagoon . Tombolo.

People and Coastlines • The sea plays an important part in our lives. transport routes. and most of the worlds largest cities are in coastal regions. wave power) as well as leisure activities. Many people live by the coast. and food. . gas. • The sea provides us with energy (oil.

the sea can also be destructive. People have tried to control this destructive power of the sea using.People and Coastlines • However. • 1. Groynes . Sea Walls • 2. Boulders • 3.

People and Coastlines • Sea Walls – Sea walls are concrete walls with a curved top on them which helps to deflect the waves back out to sea. cliffs or in front of sand dunes. . They are built at right angles to the shore to help prevent sand being moved along the beach by Longshore Drift. • Boulders – Large rocks are placed at the base of • Groynes – Groynes are low walls built of wood. It prevents erosion by reducing the power of the waves.

Protecting the Coastline using Groynes .

Protecting the Coastline using Boulders .

Tourism and our Coastline .

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