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Coastal Deposition
Chesil Beach, which connects the Isle of Portland to the Dorset coastline, is an example of a tombolo.

Coastal Deposition

The features that are found on a coastline, and the processes which form them, is one of the topics looked at in GCSE Geography. This quiz looks specifically at those features which are caused by coastal deposition.

Is there anything more enjoyable than a day at the beach? Golden sand for lying on, the sea for swimming and surfing, rocky headlands that can be walked along, bays that are sheltered from the worst of the wind and waves, and tall, towering cliffs with rocky shingle beaches below and caves carved into their faces.

All these are beautiful features of a coastline, but have you ever thought about what caused them - specifically, how stuff is deposited on the coastal margins? Next time you’re walking on the shore you’ll be able to understand why the waves make two different noises as they wash up the beach and then wash down again, and what a reef actually is. Deposition can create marshes and coastal barriers as well as sand and shingle beaches.

Coastal deposition is exactly what it sounds like - the laying down (or deposition) of material at the coastline by the sea. That material can come from rivers eroding material off the land and sometimes material lost in one country can wash up in another. Various management techniques exist to help encourage deposition at the coast, normally to help protect property and infrastructure, but further erosion elsewhere along the coast can be caused by this forced deposition. Deposition may also be a problem. The silting up of shipping channels will require the local authorities to dredge them using specially designed ships and machinery. Sand dunes, sand banks and other features may become colonised by plants that can stabilise their structures and lead eventually to the creation of new land.

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1.
Backwash is when a wave washes back down the beach. What do we call the opposite, when the wave washes up the beach?
Swash
Longshore drift
Deposition
Constructive
Swash is the period after the wave has broken and it washes up the beach. Swash normally acts at an angle to the beach rather than straight up and down. Swash and backwash are the noises you hear as the water runs up and down the beach
2.
In terms of backwash and swash, when is deposition most likely to occur?
When backwash is equal to swash deposition is more likely to occur
When backwash is stronger than swash deposition is more likely to occur
Deposition occurs in neither swash nor backwash
When swash is stronger than backwash deposition is more likely to occur
When swash is stronger than backwash material is carried up the beach but not carried back down, leading to deposition
3.
Spurn Head is a famous coastal spit across the mouth of the River Humber. The material that has built up the spit is the result of longshore drift. Why has this spit formed at this location?
The change in currents as the river enters the sea causes more energy to enter the system
The pollution coming down the river is deposited at this point. This allows the material moving down the coast to build up here
There is a natural reef at this point that material builds up on, aided by longshore drift
The energy in the waves and the river is reduced at this location causing the material to be deposited
A tip to remember is that material is deposited when energy levels drop, in this case because the coast in effect vanishes at the wide mouth of the Humber
4.
Which of the following is not a method of coastal transportation?
Erosion
Solution
Suspension
Traction
Both coastal and river transport methods are the same - Solution, Suspension, Saltation and Traction
5.
What is a tombolo?
A spit connecting an island to the mainland
A beach with a lake behind it
A type of lagoon
A type of headland that terminates at a different type of rock
One of the key examples of a tombolo is Chesil Beach, connecting the Isle of Portland to the Dorset coastline
6.
Depostion occurs when waves lose energy and deposit their load. Which of the following is not another reason that deposition is likely to occur?
Waves enter an area of shallow water
There is little or no wind
Waves enter a large open area, such as moving from a bay to the open sea
There is a large amount of material to be deposited
When waves enter a cove or bay they are more likely to slow in the shelter and drop their load rather than the other way round
7.
Some beaches are protected by an offshore landform known as a reef. Which of the following is not a way reefs may form?
Sand banks build up as material is deposited away from the beach
Cliffs erode unevenly and leave behind land after arches collapse
Coral based creatures grow at the point of optimal light growth
Beach protection measures are artifically constructed to protect the land or provide leisure opportunities
After an arch collapses a stack is left behind. The formal definition of a reef is a ridge of rock, shingle or sand at or just below the surface of the water
8.
Constructive waves are most likely to occur on which sort of beach?
A flat or shallow beach
A steep beach
A beach with sheer cliffs and a strong wave action
A beach that is heavily used for tourism
Constructive waves occur when the swash is stronger than the backwash. A steep beach will have a strong backwash as water runs faster down steeper slopes. Steep cliffs are normally exposed with little material to protect them
9.
What is longshore drift?
The process where a reef is eroded on the upstream side and deposited on the downstream side, gradually moving it along the coast
The process that forms a high-tide line on a beach of flotsam and jetsam, as material is deposited by the movement of waves in and out
The transportation of sediments (clay, silt, sand and shingle) along a coast at an angle to the shoreline, in a zig-zag pattern
When a boat or other object comes to rest on a sandy shore material builds up downstream of the hull, and is eroded from upstream
On Holderness coast most of the eroded material is carred out to sea, but some is moved south via longshore drift to form Spurn Head
10.
What sort of shape should a constructive wave have?
A steep crest with a short wavelength
A high wave in proportion to its length with a tall breaker
A low wave height and a long wavelength
A long wavelength and a steep breaker
These long low waves are created in calm weather and will deposit material on the coast
Author:  Ruth M

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