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Processes of erosion along the coastline

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Introduction

Processes of erosion along the coastline The purpose for this essay is to assess the processes that cause rapid erosion at the coast and explain why some areas are more susceptible to erosion than others. I will begin by looking at the different types of erosion and explain how they affect specific rock types. Primarily a coastline is under three kinds of erosion, these are wave, marine and sub-aerial processes. Sub-aerial processes affect the coast through chemical and physical weathering and mass wasting. Mass wasting is the movement of material down slope under the force of gravity. This type of movement only occurs under specific conditions with certain rock types. Mass wasting can take many forms for instance, from slowest movement to fastest movement, heave, creep, flows, slides and falls. The kind of weathering to affect the cliffs will depend upon the rock type, such as; a chalk cliff will be mainly affect by carbonation, slaking and hydrolysis. ...read more.

Middle

However long shore drift is slightly different in its action, it actually moves sediment in the direction in which the waves crash on the beach. This can lead to one end of a beach to be built up and the other end to have a very shallow beach. Wave processes can affect the coast by attacking the beaches and cliff bases through the sheer power of the water. Beaches are a natural protection for the cliffs, once marine processes have removed the beach there is very little protection from hydraulic pressure of the waves, this means some areas of the coast are more vulnerable to rapid erosion. Certain waves can destroy beaches and others can create them, destructive waves flatten beaches and constructive waves build beaches. In addition to wave type it is also the different types of currents in the water. For example, shore normal currents can change a beach profile, it is the current that moves the sediment on and off shore rather than the waves themselves. ...read more.

Conclusion

On this image we can see that the material has moved from A to B. Small pebbles are deposited and transported by the sea. These stones become part of the abrasion process that erodes the cliff face. Abrasion is the erosion of friction; material is scraped against the cliffs and causes it to weaken. In 1999 Beachy Head experienced a 50ft deep chalk rock fall over a 200-yard section of the cliffs. Today there is no trace of the chalk that fell due its rapid erosion from the sea. Carbonation began almost instantly; in the above photograph you can see the murky colour of the water surrounding the fallen rock where the chalk is being dissolved. You may also notice the lighthouse that now stands solitary to anything else. Since 1832 when the lighthouse was built the cliffs have retreated 488ft. In summary erosion on the coast is caused by the interactions of physical, chemical and human impacts. Some areas may be eroded faster than other due to the circumstances presented at the certain location. ...read more.

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