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Geography Glossary

Geography Key Words and Definitions Coasts Topic

Biological weathering (physical) Breakdown of rock by the roots of plants or the burrowing of animals and insects
Chemical weathering The breakdown of rocks by chemical reactions eg. carbonation of limestone and chalk
Freeze-thaw weathering Occurs when water seeps into cracks in rock the freezes, expands, and breaks the rock apart
Onion-skin weathering Also known as exfoliation and is the process of weathering caused by temperature changes in which the outer layers of rock split and peel away
Physical weathering The natural breakdown of rocks by stresses and strains caused by the weather
Weathering The natural breakdown or weakening of rocks at the Earth’s surface
Erosion The wearing away of the land by wind, water and ice. The wearing away of already weathered material
Fetch Distance of open sea or ocean over which waves are generated
Prevailing wind The most frequent wind in an area
Attrition A process of erosion which wears away and smoothes particles of rock as they bump into each other while being carried by rivers, waves or wind
Constructive waves A gently breaking wave with a strong swash and weak backwash, encouraging deposition
Corrasion/ abrasion When particles of rock carried by rivers, waves, glaciers and wind wear away the surface of other rocks
Corrosion/ solution Saltwater dissolves the mineral structure of rock
Destructive wave Powerful wave with weak swash and strong backwash, encouraging erosion
Hydraulic action The way in which flowing water in rivers, and waves pounding at the coast, erode the land
Stack A coastal feature formed when the roof of an arch collapses
Wave cut platform A gently sloping rock surface running from a cliff down to the sea
Permeable rock A rock which allows water to soak through, it is usually more easily eroded
Wave cut notch A groove at the foot of a cliff cut by wave erosion or undercutting
Resistant rock A hard rock which is weathered and eroded slowly as it is usually impermeable
Fault line/ joint A large crack in the rock, perhaps caused by earth movements
Stump A low block of rock in the sea, left behind after a stack has collapsed as a result of erosion
Cave On coasts, an area hollowed out by waves at the base of a cliff at a line of weakness (by abrasion & hydraulic action)
Headland A piece of land that sticks out from a coastline into the sea
Blowhole A vertical shaft connecting a sea cave with the cliff top through which water and air may be forced by large waves
Swash The movement of a wave up the beach
Backwash The movement of a wave back down the beach
Longshore drift The transportation of beach material along the coast in the direction of the dominant waves
Transportation The movement of weathered and eroded particles of rock by wind, water and ice
Bar A low island of sand which is covered by the high tide
Spit A curved beach which extends in to the sea at a river mouth, or a break in the coastline
Bay A curved inlet in the shore of a lake or sea
Lagoon A lake which is cut off from the sea by a spit, bar or coral reef
Sand bank A ridge of sand and shingle across the entrance to a bay or river mouth
Sand dune A ridge of wind-blown sand hills formed on the coast or in deserts
Salt marsh Also known as a salting, this is a coastal wetland which is found in river estuaries and in the sheltered area behind spits
Tidal range The difference in height between high and low tide
Deposition The dropping of material which has been transported by wind, water or ice
Estuary The part of a river that is affected by the rise and fall of the tide
Groyne A barrier built down a beach to reduce the loss of sand and pebbles by longshore drift
Marram grass A desert grass grown because its roots help sand to collect
Rock armour/ rip rap A form of coastal management where boulders are placed at the base of cliffs to protect them from erosion by waves
Beach nourishment A way of managing erosion on the coast by adding new material to the beach, usually by truck
Gabions Wire baskets, filled with rocks, placed where there is river or coastal erosion
Revetments Fence-like, open wooden coastal defence structures, designed to absorb wave energy and reduce erosion
Coastal management How humans try to alter the coast to defend and protect the land
Hard defences The ‘concrete’ style of defences such as a sea wall
Managed retreat An approach to coastal management; we no longer protect some low-lying coastal areas from flooding but allow less valuable land to erode
Created by: sallyfizz