Processes of Coastal Erosion

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Processes of Coastal Erosion

1. Attrition:

  • "Rock on rock"
  • Particles carried by the waves crash against each other and are broken up into smaller particles.

2. Corrasion (also known as abrasion):

  • "Rock on cliff"
  • Particles carried by the waves crash against the cliffs, eroding the cliffs.

3. Corrosion:

  • "Rusting / dissolving"
  • Salt in the seawater slowly dissolves the cliffs.
  • The material produced is carried away by the process of solution.

4. Hydraulic Action:

  • "Pressuring"
  • The water traps air in cracks and caves in the rock.
  • This air is compressed by the incoming waves placing great pressure on the rocks, causing them to crack eventually.

5. Wave Pounding:

  • "Smashing"
  • Steep waves have great energy, which is released forward as they break against the cliffs.
  • Constant pounding can cause great damage to both natural cliffs, and man-made sea defences.
  • In storm conditions the waves may create up to 30 tonnes per square metre of pressure.

6. Sub-Aerial processes:

  • The impact of rainwater, wind and frost on the cliffs.
  • Rainwater can cause surface erosion.
  • Frost shattering can occur in colder climates.
  • Rainwater can also increase the chances of mass movement occurring.
  • Wind (Aeolian) erosion can aid in the erosion of the cliffs.

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