Coastal Scenery 01
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Coastal Scenery 01

Has your KS3 Geography teacher told you that the length of the UK coastline is about 7,700 miles? Some of the most breathtaking sunsets can be seen by the coast. The coastline of Britain is constantly changing, sometimes very rapidly as cliffs collapse into the sea, or more often slowly, as erosion takes place. Erosion is greatest on the east coast (and some places of the south coast as well) where the rocks are young and soft.

A headland is an area of more resistant rocks that sticks out further into the sea than the surroundings. But the sea can eventually erode even the toughest rocks. In some areas of Britain, the waves cut through headlands to form arches. When the roof of an arch collapses, it leaves behind a pillar of rock known as a stack. The eroded rocks are broken down by the action of the waves to form pebbles and eventually sand. These are transported along the coast by the process of longshore drift.

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  1. Why are sand spits formed where the coastline bends?
    Where the coastline suddenly changes direction, the currents of longshore drift carry on in the same direction, depositing their sediments in a line that is more or less parallel to the original direction of the coastline
  2. The greatest cliff collapses occur in what weather?
    Some spectacular cliff collapses have happened during storms
  3. What has shaped our coastlines the most?
    There are some places where deposition has shaped our coastlines - for example, spits are formed by deposition rather than erosion
  4. Which best describes the rocks along England's East coast?
    The hardest and oldest rocks in Britain are found in the north and west
  5. What process transports material along a coast?
    This is caused where the prevailing wind blows at an angle to the coastline. Waves are blown in at an angle and the swash and backwash are in different directions, so the sand, pebbles etc are gradually moved along the coast
  6. A pillar of rock surrounded by sea has what name?
    A stack may be worn down further or even collapse to form a stump
  7. Waves cutting through a headland would form what?
    Durdle Door in Dorset is a great example of an arch!
  8. Where would you expect to find a notch?
    A notch is a small overhang at the base of a cliff that has been cut by the sea
  9. A common coastal feature is a wave-cut what?
    Wave cut platforms that were formed during the Ice Ages can now be found high above some present day beaches - but can you find out why?
  10. Erosion of rock by the force of moving water is called what?
    Water is a very powerful erosional force

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