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Coasts key terms v2

Arches and stacks resulting from marine erosion, an arch is formed when two caves on either side of a headland become connected. When the roof eventually collapses an isolated rock pillar (stack) is formed.
Barrages Dams built across a river estuary, often with movable gates that can be raised to provide protection from flooding caused by high tides or storm surges.
Bars deposit of sand and/or pebbles usually formed parallel to the coiastline, e.g. across a bay or estuary.
Beach nourishment involves sand and/or pebbles being added to a beach to increase its size, thereby affording greater protection from flooding and erosion.
Blowholes narrow funnel-like feature, often an enlarged joint, in a sea cliff. Water from waves breaking at the foot of the cliff can be 'squirted' along the crack to create a small geyser-like fountain at the cliff top.
Cliff steep, often vertical rock face where the land meets the sea, often undercut at high tide level to form a notch.
Coastal system Inter-relationships between components in a coastal environment, often sub-divided into inputs, processes and outputs.
Constructive waves low, spilling waves characterised by a powerful swash and weak backwash and responsible for building up a beach.
Destructive waves High, plunging waves characterised by a weak swash and powerful backwash and responsible for eroding a beach.
Drift-aligned beach Beach deposits (sand and pebbles) that have been transferred along a coastline by longshore drift, often accumulating to form a wide beach at a headland where lateral drift is interrupted.
Dune regeneration Encouraging sand dune stabilisation, often by planting marram grass or building fences.
Emergent coast coastline exhibiting features associated with falling sea levels, e.g. raised beach.
Eustatic change Variations in relative sea level resulting from changes in the amount of liquid water entering the oceans, eg. glacial meltwater pouring into the oceans at the end of an ice age will cause sea levels to rise.
Gabions Wire cages filled with rocks and built-up to protect cliffs or vulnerable structures from erosion or collapse.
Hard engineering Commonly, built structures such as concrete sea walls designed to resist natural processes.
Headlands and bays Often alternating features seen in plan-view at the coast, sually representing hard (headlands) and soft (bays) rock outcrops.
Isostatic change Variations in relative sea level associated with changes in the buoyancy of the land, e.g. at the end of an ice age, as the weight of the ice is removed, the land will start to rise causing relative sea levels to fall
Longshore drift Lateral transfer of sediment along a stretch of coastline in a series of 'zig-zags' representing repeated cycles of swash and backwash.
Marine erosion Erosion carried out by the sea, including hydraulic action (sheer power of the waves), corrasion (rock fragments being flung at a cliff face), abrasion (sandpaper effect as rock fragments/ pebbles are scraped over bedrock), and solution.
Marine transportation Transportation of sediment by the sea involving traction (rolling on seabed), saltation (bouncing), suspension and solution.
Marsh creation Artifical creation of salt marshes associated with managed retreat, where the sea is allowed to flood a low-lying coastal area previously protected.
Revetements Semi-permeable often wooden structures positioned ona beach to break up the waves as they approach the shore.
Rip-rap piles of large resistant boulders (also known as rock armour) placed at the foot of a cliff or alongside vulnerable structures to break up and absorb wave energy.
Salt marshes Coastal ecosystem formed on mudflats (e.g. in a river estuary) largely comprising of salt-tolerant plants.
Sand dunes deposits of sand transported and shaped by the wind inland from the high tide line.
Sea walls Solid barriers to the sea usually constructed of concrete and positioned on the coast to protect vulnerable land or human developments, such as housing.
Sediment cells Largely self-contained (closed)sediment systems involving the movement of sediment in a cyclic manner.
Soft engineering management approaches that have minimal impacts on the enironment and aim to work with natural processes.
Spits Narrow 'finger' of deposited material (sand and/or pebbles) protruding out to sea from the land. Where a spit joins an island to the mainland, the feature is called a tombolo.
Sub-aerial weathering group of weathering processes operating at the coast but not directly related to marine action e.g. frost shattering in cliffs, action of tree roots.
Submergent coast COastline exhibiting features associated with rising sea levels, e.g. flooded river estuary (ria)
Swash-aligned beach beach deposits (sand and pebbles) accumulated in a bay largely by the action of swash.
Wave-cut platforms bare and gently sloping rocky surface at the foot of a cliff, sometimes covered by pebbles.
Created by: apeploe



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