Coastal Environments

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Coastal Environments
Why does the coastline look like
it does?
What factors are at work?
The factors at work on a stretch
of coastline include:
• Atmospheric (rainfall, temperature
change, global warming etc)
• Marine (wave action and tides, erosion,
sediment transfer)
• Human (sea defences, recreation,
tourism, sand/gravel extraction,
pollution, conservation)
• Terrestrial (geology, weathering,
ecosystems)
Atmospheric





wind (prevailing direction and force)
precipitation
sun
ice
impact of global warming and sea level rises
Marine factors
• wave action and tides
• wave type (destructive
or constructive)
• fetch
• supply of beach material
- the transfer of
sediment
• longshore drift
Human factors
• what sea defences
are there?
• is the area heavily
used by tourists?
• is sand/gravel
extracted?
• is the coast
protected through
designation (SSSI,
(Heritage Coast,
National Park)?
• pollution (human /
industrial)?
Terrestrial factors - geology
• is the rock type the
same all the way along
the coast?
• is it a hard rock? (Chalk
and limestone have
strongly cemented
particles that make
them more resistant.)
• is it a softer type of
rock? (eg: clays, boulder
clays.)
Terrestrial factors - weathering
Sub-aerial processes:
• rain falling directly on to cliffs
• throughflow
• surface run-off
• wind
• frost
• mass movement (eg: soil creep, slumping
and landslides)
Ecosystems and wildlife
Does the coastline consist
of:
• sand or shingle?
• lagoons? (shallow bodies
of brackish or sea water
separated from the sea
by sediment)
• salt marsh?
• rocky foreshores and
cliffs?
• sand dunes?
All can support different
species…
Dynamic Equilibrium
• the coastline is finely balanced, the result of
the interaction of many factors
• the coast is always changing – in a state of
dynamic equilibrium
• a stretch of coast should not be viewed in
isolation – changes made to the coast in a
particular place always have an impact
somewhere else.
This is Lulworth Cove, Dorset.
Why does it look like this?
How may visitors be having an impact on
this area?
Describe the defences here at
Criccieth in North Wales.
What positive and negative impacts will
they have on this tourist destination?
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